Jaggery is a sweetener which is made from sugarcane juice. It is also called as non-centrifugal sugar because it is not rotated during the processing to remove the molasses which are highly nutritious. Besides sugarcane juice, jaggery can also be made from the date palm. Since the molasses and crystals are not removed from the Cane sugar, the color of jaggery varies from golden brown to dark brown. Jaggery contains around 50% sucrose, 20% inverted syrup, 20% moisture and constituents such as proteins, bagasse, fibers and wood ash constitute the remaining percentage. Jaggery is consumed mainly in Asia, Africa and in some parts of America. It is known as Gur in India, Gula Melaka in Malaysia, Kokuto in Japan, Panela in Colombia and Piloncillo in Mexico.The big question that arises in the mind is what are benefits of jaggery whether jaggery is more nutritious than sugar?
The answer to this question is YES. Due to molasses in jaggery, it contains more nutrition than refined sugar. Besides sucrose content, it contains a high amount of iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. It also contains small amounts of Vitamin B and Minerals such as calcium, Phosphorus, copper, and zinc.
Some Skin Benefits of Jaggery
Jaggery is a rich source of many vital vitamins and minerals which provides nourishment to skin and other parts of the body. Hence, the skin will remain glowing and healthy.
Acne and pimples:
Jaggery helps in treating and preventing many skin problems such as acne, pimples, wrinkles, dark spots etc. Jaggery can be directly applied to the face as a face mask or it can be mixed with other fruits.
Some Health Benefits of Jaggery:
Jaggery is normally consumed after heavy meals especially in winter season. It activates the digestive enzymes and works like acetic acid in the stomach. Hence, digestion process is smoothened and stress on intestines and digestive tracts are reduced. Many other problems such as flatulence, intestinal worms etc. are also prevented by consumption of jaggery. Due to the fibrous content in jaggery, it removes the unwanted particles from the body giving relief from constipation. Hence, it also acts as a cleansing agent and removes toxins from the body. Besides digestive tract, it also cleans respiratory tracts, lungs, stomach and liver.
Blood purification is one of the major benefits of jaggery. It cleanses the blood leading to a healthy body. Jaggery contains around 11 mg of iron per 100 grams which is around 61% of recommended dietary intake (RDI). It is an excellent solution for people who are anemic. It is also beneficial to pregnant women due to the high content of vitamins and minerals. Jaggery has been known as an effective natural treatment for menstrual problems. It reduces the cramps and stomach ache which is common during menstruation.
Immunity of the body:
Jaggery is rich in minerals and anti-oxidants which helps in boosting the immune system. It is rich in zinc and selenium which are known for prevention of free radical damage. Free radicals are also responsible for diseases like cancer. Jaggery has a soothing effect on the tissues of the throat thereby preventing cough, cold and common flu problems.
Jaggery provides instant energy and reduces the dizziness and weakness in the body. Hence, it is best to eat raw jaggery if one is feeling weak or lethargic. One of the best thing about jaggery is that it gets immediately digested and absorbed by the body giving instant energy. It will not get dissolved in the blood initially which can further lead to a sudden increase in blood sugar levels. A sudden increase in blood sugar may give rise to diabetes in long run and damage to internal organs of the body (kidney, eyes, pancreas etc.). Jaggery is a complex carbohydrate which releases energy over an extended period. Hence, people who consume jaggery feel energetic over a larger time interval without harming their internal organs.
Jaggery has one surprising benefit i.e. it helps in reducing weight (unlike sugar). It reduces weight by boosting the metabolism of the body and reducing the water retention capacity of the body. Increase in metabolism rate leads to active and energetic body minimizing the possibility of fat storage. Minerals and vitamins (esp. potassium) present in jaggery helps the body to keep required amount of water thereby releasing the excess weight from the body. However, the benefit of weight loss largely depends on the intake of the jaggery. Two tablespoons of jaggery are sufficient for a normal person on daily basis.
There is no direct study on the benefits of jaggery on the liver. The function of the liver is to cleanse out the toxins from the body. Since jaggery also does similar work, it is assumed that jaggery reduces the workload of the liver and helps detoxification of same.
Some of the other benefits of Jaggery includes treatment of hiccups, improvement in sperm quality, prevention of asthma, control of body temperature, relieves joint pain, respiratory problems, control of blood pressure etc.
Now another big question that comes to mind is Do jaggery have negative effects? The answer to this question is YES. Excess of jaggery causes opposite of its advantages. Excess jaggery may lead to obesity, increase in blood pressure, heart disease and diacetates. Hence it is very important to eat jaggery only in limited quantity (not more than two table spoons per day).
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