Jaggery, also known as Gurr, is widely famous in Pakistan and is an ingredient in many dishes. One of the most famous dishes popular in Pakistan is Gurr walay chawal, a sweet rice dish served as a dessert. Jaggery comes from sugarcane juice before it is boiled to create sugar. It is a less refined form of sugar.
Many people consider it to be a healthier alternative to sugar. It contains nutrients that can be beneficial for the body. As per Ayurveda, jaggery contains medicinal properties that may help treat diseases. You can use it in desserts, coffee, and tea.
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Substituting jaggery for sugar can have some potential benefits for your body. The health benefits of jaggery are:
1. Prevents anemia
Jaggery has a substantial amount of iron which can help tackle anemia. Anemia is a condition that reduces the production of red blood cells, which hinders the blood’s ability to supply oxygen to the body. It usually happens due to iron deficiency. The amount of jaggery you may consume may not provide a lot of iron, but it is an added benefit if you take jaggery instead of sugar.
2. Improves digestive health
It is a belief; that consuming jaggery after a meal increases digestive enzymes, which may regulate bowel movements. Some claim that jaggery consumption can prevent other digestive disorders, such as constipation. It is known to be a natural laxative, but there is not enough evidence to support this claim.
3. Aids weight loss
Jaggery can support weight loss as it is a complex sugar that takes time to digest. It can stay in your system for longer, making you feel full and reducing your appetite. It can also provide electrolytes that can boost your metabolism. It can help you manage weight and curb your sugar cravings.
4. Detoxifies the liver
Jaggery is said to remove damaging toxins from your body and have a purifying effect on your liver. It can detoxify your liver. It may be beneficial for those who have liver disease. More research is needed to back this claim.
5. Potent source of energy
Sugar can provide short-term energy to your body, which may improve your daily functioning. Jaggery may also boost your energy levels and may last longer as jaggery takes more time to get out of your system. Adding jaggery to your morning cup of coffee and tea instead of sugar can help give you an extra bolt of energy in the morning.
6. Provides relief from menstrual pain
Several people in the subcontinent believe jaggery is a natural and effective home remedy that can relieve pain during menstruation. Taking jaggery may increase the happy hormones known as endorphins in your body and ease other symptoms in periods, such as irritability and mood swings.
7. Treat respiratory infections
Jaggery can help treat flu-like infections. It can improve cough by forming a lining in your throat and provide relief. Jaggery may also have a warming effect on your body that may help fight off cold.
8. Benefits joint health
Jaggery contains calcium and phosphorus that can be advantageous for bone health. It may help relieve conditions like arthritis and joint pain. Eating jaggery with ginger may make it more effective for the bones.
9. Boosts immunity
Consuming jaggery can strengthen your immune system. It is often added to ayurvedic medicines for this purpose. It may contain zinc and Vitamin C in small amounts, which are known to increase immunity. Jaggery may not be effective in bolstering immunity as the number of vitamins is too less to improve immunity.
10. Rich in antioxidants
Jaggery is high in antioxidants that can be helpful for your health. Antioxidants can keep your skin fresh and glowing. They may also be able to lower the risk of certain diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants can also reduce the risk of dementia in people. An antioxidant-rich diet can have many benefits, but adding jaggery may not be a potent source of antioxidants. e
Jaggery Side Effects
As it is a form of sugar, jaggery can carry some possible risks. Consuming jaggery in moderate amounts may not result in severe consequences, but taking jaggery in large quantities can lead to problems. A few side effects of jaggery are:
1. Raises risk of obesity
High sugar intake in any form can result in weight gain. White sugar may carry a higher risk than jaggery, but it is not a guilt-free sweetener.
2. Increases blood sugar levels
Jaggery consists of sucrose, a main component in most sugars. Sugar is known to surge blood sugar levels, a big issue for diabetic patients. If you are watching your weight or are diabetic, you need to limit your consumption of jaggery. Overusing jaggery may increase insulin levels as much as sugar.
3. Causes intestinal problems
Jaggery is usually safe to use, but it can sometimes result in issues with the digestive system. Too much jaggery can lead to constipation and other gastrointestinal problems. Moreover, try buying jaggery from a proper seller instead of making it at home, as poorly prepared homemade jaggery can lead to food poisoning.
Other healthy alternatives to sugar
White sugar is highly processed and contains high calories but none of the nutrition. Jaggery may be a slightly healthier substitution for white sugar. As jaggery also has an ample amount of sugar, and it may have similar side effects. Many other more natural sweeteners can be more helpful.
It can be hard to eliminate sugar from your diet. Healthier alternatives can be more helpful in curbing your sugar intake and satisfying your sugar craving. Honey is a fantastic substitute for sugar as it can provide health benefits.
Other sweeteners, such as stevia and monk fruit, may be more effective, especially if you want to lose weight. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener free of calories, which may prevent weight gain. Monk fruit sweeteners are also a great choice if you are looking for a natural sweetener without many side effects.
Sugar in any form may have side effects, so it is best to limit your intake to a minimum, especially if you are overweight or are suffering from diabetes. Consult a Nutritionist in Lahore to get a diet plan most suitable for you, according to your diet.
Jaggery Nutritional Information
Jaggery may provide more nutrition than white sugar due to molasses. The sugar-making process eliminates molasses, a by-product of sugar full of nutrients. As jaggery is less refined, it contains molasses that can provide you with some micronutrients that may be beneficial for your health.
One ounce of jaggery contains 102 calories. The nutritional value of one tablespoon of jaggery is as follows:
- Sugar – 24.1g
- Dietary fiber – 0g
- Fat – 0g
- Protein – 0g
- Sodium – 7.7mg
- Calcium – 6.2% of the daily recommended value
- Iron – 9.1% of the daily recommended value
While jaggery can provide some minerals and vitamins, it also contains sugars, which you should take in moderation. It cannot replace other vitamin-rich foods to raise your vitamin intake, but it is a slightly better option than white sugar.
Jaggery Meaning in Urdu
The meaning of Jaggery in Urdu is Gurr. It is written as گڑ in Urdu script. Jaggery is a type of traditional, unrefined sugar which is commonly used as a natural sweetener in Southeast Asia and Africa. It has a dark, coarse texture and is sweet in taste.
Jaggery (Gurr) is a well-known ingredient in the subcontinent and is often used as a healthier substitute for sugar. It has medicinal properties, according to Ayurveda, and Indians use it to heal illnesses, but there is not enough research behind it. Jaggery comes from sugarcane juice, which then converts into sugar. It is high in molasses, which is advantageous for your health.
Jaggery has more nutrition than white sugar but has side effects. Jaggery contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can benefit your health. It can improve digestive health, help lose weight, provide energy, relieve menstrual pain, boost immunity, and benefit bone health.
Though, all these claims may not have scientific proof to support them. It is vital to remember that jaggery still contains sugar, so it may not be the best alternative for weight watchers and diabetics.
While consuming jaggery may be beneficial as a substitute for sugar, it also has some risks associated with it when taken in large amounts. It is high in calories and sucrose, which means that taking it too much can cause weight gain and increase insulin levels, so you should practice caution while using jaggery and not use it in excess.
You can also opt for healthier alternatives than jaggery, especially when you want to lose weight. Other natural sweeteners, such as stevia and monk fruit sweeteners, are a better choice as a sugar substitute in your diet if you want to cut back on sugar. If you like the flavor or want to improve your lifestyle, jaggery can be a healthy alternative to sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is jaggery good for weight loss?
Yes. Jaggery is rich in potassium which improves metabolism and reduces the body’s water retention thereby promoting weight loss.
Is jaggery good for diabetes?
No. Although jaggery is healthier than white sugar it should be used cautiously by diabetics as it has a high glycemic index and may spike blood sugar levels.
Is it beneficial to eat jaggery every day?
Yes. You can consume jaggery every day in moderation.
How much jaggery should you eat in a day?
You can eat 5 to 10 grams of jaggery in a day.