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Monday, March 25, 2013

Benefits of Jaggery

Jaggery is one of the common sweeteners used in the preparation of various dishes in many parts of the world. It is a traditional type of amorphous, unrefined and non-distilled sugar. Although jaggery and sugar are obtained from the same sources, they are much different in their appearance, properties and benefits. Jaggery is prepared from the sap or juice of plants such as sugarcane and date palm. Jaggery obtained from palm trees is known as palm jaggery and, benefits are similar to the benefits of jaggery obtained from sugarcane. It is used to make candies, toffees, jaggery cakes and many other sweet preparations. It is also used in the preparation of alcoholic beverages. Jaggery is a healthy alternative to white sugar and is commonly known as 'medicinal sugar', because of its various health benefits.

Benefits of Jaggery

The process of making jaggery from the plant sources, does not involve any chemical agents and hence all the natural mineral salts are retained in jaggery. Jaggery is known to have various medicinal properties and other health benefits.

Cleansing Agent
Jaggery acts as a cleansing agent for our body and effectively cleans the respiratory tracts, food pipe, lungs, stomach and intestines. It helps the body to get rid of the unwanted particles and thus provides relief from constipation.

Digestive Aid
Jaggery proves as a great digestive aid and speeds up the process of digestion. Eating a few grams of jaggery after a heavy meal is often recommended for those having problems with normal digestion. In the body, jaggery activates the various digestive enzymes and itself gets converted to acetic acid, thus speeding up digestion.

Mineral Source
Jaggery is a rich source of many vital minerals that are required by the body for normal growth and functioning. It is considered as a storehouse of various important minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, etc.

Other Health Benefits of Jaggery

Let us have a look at some other beneficial effects of including jaggery:

Jaggery is used since ancient times to treat problems such as dry cough, common cold and asthma.

It is beneficial in treating conditions like indigestion and constipation.

Jaggery helps in promoting relaxation of muscles, nerves and blood vessels, thus enhancing their functions.

Migraines, the most painful and uncomfortable type of headaches can be relieved to a large extent by jaggery.

Jaggery is a rich source of iron and is therefore, very good for anemic people, as it increases the hemoglobin level in the blood.

Jaggery has strong antioxidant properties and protects our body cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

Jaggery has the ability to purify blood and helps in regulating the liver function.

A mixture of jaggery and dry ginger powder taken with warm water can stop hiccups.

Jaggery helps in regulating blood pressure and also helps the body to get rid of all the toxins.

Jaggery is loaded with many essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals, that play a key role in many life processes.

Jaggery has potassium content that may help in reducing bloating and water retention.

Jaggery is more complex than table sugar and hence takes a longer time to break down. Jaggery takes longer to digest and release energy. 

This leads diabetics to consider jaggery as a safe substitute for table sugar. However, this is not completely right. Jaggery does contain invert sugars (mixture of glucose and fructose). So diabetics should limit its intake.

This was all about jaggery benefits. Now, that you know how beneficial jaggery is, try substituting sugar with jaggery in your favorite recipes, and enjoy its benefits.

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