Here are nine reasons to add jaggery to your diet, pronto!
Gul/Gud/jaggery is sure to be present in all Indian kitchens and it has a great medicinal value. Jaggery also ranks first in India’s export list so you know how much importance it presents. Jaggery is made from the sap of coconut as well as date palm, however, the one made from sugarcane is the one that's used most widely in India. Not only is jaggery better than white processed sugar (which only adds empty calories and harmful toxins to our body), it also has innumerable health benefits, including its ability to clean our body, aiding digestion and providing good amounts of minerals like magnesium. Let’s look at the advantages of this superfood:
Blood purification: Regular and appropriate amounts of jaggery intake helps in purifying one’s blood. It helps in improving hemoglobin levels in the blood. This helps control blood pressure because of the potassium and sodium levels, which play an important role in the maintenance of acid levels in the body.
Eases digestion: Jaggery increases the energy of our digestive system especially in winters (as digestion becomes sluggish in winter) and helps in proper digestion. It's recommended to have jaggery especially in the winter because it provides heat to the body and activates the digestive enzymes which help in reducing the chances of constipation and indigestion.
Energy source: Sugar is highly processed devoid of any nutrients it only gives sweetness and it’s consumption can make you feel low on energy instantly. That's why we grab one more sugary drink or food item. However, because of its high mineral content, jaggery provides energy to the body which is used up gradually (for extended periods). A daily intake of jaggery will not make you feel tired and the muscles become strong too, because of its calcium content.
Loaded with minerals: Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium, which help prevent free-radicals (responsible for early ageing). It helps boost resistance against infections, thus building stronger immunity.
For dementia: People who suffer from dementia can get relief by eating a mixture of jaggery and pure ghee on empty stomach because of its high magnesium content.
Cleanses organs: Jaggery helps in cleansing the liver by flushing out all harmful toxins from the body. It efficiently cleans the respiratory tract, lungs, intestines, stomach and esophagus as well.
Weight loss: The potassium content found in jaggery increases the body's metabolism and helps in reducing weight. It also helps in reducing water retention and thus you can see the difference in weight.
Cold and cough: Eating a teaspoon of jaggery before going to sleep at night will give you relief from a cough.
Treating anemia: By consuming jaggery, one’s iron deficiency in the body is aided. It helps in increasing the red blood cells and thus helps in treating anemia. Tiredness and an energy deficiency is kept at a bay if you have jaggery regularly.
Useful for women: It is highly effective to ease the pain and stomach cramps caused by the menstrual cycle. Having a tablespoon of sesame and jaggery every morning helps in regulating the menses as well and improves hormonal imbalance. A small piece of jaggery daily also helps in combating the symptoms of PMS since it leads the release of endorphins. These endorphins relax your body, thereby preventing premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
There are many such benefits, but these are a few to make not of. It's always suggested to consume even healthy ingredients in moderation so have your jaggery in moderation, as it is slightly high in calories along with its nutritional benefits.
(The writer is the Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems. She is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.)