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What is Jaggery?
Jaggery is a traditional, non-centrifugal cane sugar consumed in some countries in Asia and the Americas. It is a concentrated product of cane juice without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color.
Jaggery can be prepared from sugar cane, sago palm, date palm, coconut palm. In India generally jaggery is prepared from sugar cane but eastern part of India like West Bengal it is prepared from Date palm.
There is 3 process in the making of Jaggery.
- Extraction– The freshly cut sugar cane is pressed in the machines to extract all the juice and sap.
- Clarification– the extracted juice is then stored in large containers which allows the residues and sediments to settle at the bottom of the containers. The juice is then strained to eliminate non sugar impurities. This process is called as clarification.
- Concentration– the strained juice is then placed in huge flat bottom pans and boiled for hours. This process involves continues stirring. Stirring makes the impurities to come to top which is skimmed off frequently. The yellow pate is then transferred into mold and allowed to cool.
Jaggery Vs sugar-
- Jaggery is rich in vitamins and minerals-Jaggery is loaded with minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, selenium, manganese and zinc and it is highly recommended for anemic people
- Absorption of Jaggery is slow – Sugar is absorbed instantly in the body whereas Jaggery being unrefined is absorbed slowly. Therefore, Jaggery doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as rapidly as sugar.
- Less calories than sugar
- Jaggery builds your immunity– Jaggery contains many anti-oxidants which keeps many diseases away.
Benefits of Jaggery-
Helps in preventing constipation– In constipation bowel movement is hampered so consumption of small piece of jaggery after lunch activates digestive enzymes and stimulates the bowel movement which in turn helps in constipation.
Liver detoxification – jaggery is considered as the natural body cleanser and it works wonders for liver by flushing out harmful toxins out of the body.
Purification of Blood – when jaggery is consumed in right quantity and regularly it is well known blood purifier. Pure blood in the body means less diseases.
Immunity booster– high levels of anti-oxidants and minerals like Zinc and selenium helps in preventing free radical damage and boosts immunity. Good immune power has direct connection with good health.
Helps in preventing Anemia– High content of iron and folate in jaggery ensures that red blood cells count in the body is maintained. Good count of Red blood cells in body helps in preventing Anemia.
Boosts intestinal health– Jaggery also boosts intestinal strength due to its high magnesium content.
Stomach cooling – jaggery helps in maintaining normal body temperature which in turn helps in cooling the stomach. During summer it is advisable to mix jaggery with water and drink to maintain the normal body temperature.
Maintenance of Blood pressure – sodium and potassium content of jaggery helps in maintaining the acid content of body which in turn helps in maintaining blood pressure.
Prevents respiratory problems – regular consumption of jaggery can prevent many respiratory problems such as Asthma and Bronchitis
Joint pain relief – if you eat jaggery with Ginger it helps in relieving joint pain. Regular consumption of jaggery with glass of milk helps to strengthen bones.
Aid in weight loss– water retention in body is one of the reason of weight gain so the Potassium content of the jaggery helps in reduction of water holding capacity of the body. Potassium content of jaggery also helps in balancing the electrolyte and boost metabolism which in turn helps in losing weight.
Other side of the coin –
At last we must understand that jaggery is a sweetener and excess consumption of any sweetener may lead to many problems like weight gain, heart problem etc so make a wise decision about the quantity of jaggery to be eaten.
There is no doubt that there are many health benefits of consuming jaggery and it can be a replacement to the sugar. As we have seen there are some problems associated with more consumption of jaggery the point here is, we need to understand our body condition and decide. Most important thing here is to calculate the right amount and consistency. so start consuming Jaggery in proper portion and be healthy…..