Jaggery, also known as ‘gur’ is a sweet dish that has been popularly consumed as a sweetener since ancient times in India and many parts of Africa and South- East Asia and has often been identified as molasses. Jaggery is a healthier sweetening component compared to any other sort of dessert containing added sweeteners or artificial sweeteners.
What is Jaggery?
Jaggery is popularly consumed as an unrefined form of sweetened substance and during the processing of the food, it is not spun. So, it mostly retains the nutrition-rich molasses into it. Almost about 70% of the total jaggery production in the world is carried out mainly in India like: – West Bengal and some parts of Africa. Though jaggery is often found to be produced in factories, in most cases it is produced in various traditional ways. Some people are entitled to climb palm trees and extract the distilled palm or cane juice. This juice is further fermented to form molasses or jaggery.
The process is carried out in the following three ways:
- Extraction: People climb palm trees and extract the palm syrup or juice with great expertise. Jaggery is also extracted from cane syrup that is not only delicious, but it is also good for your health.
- Clarification: The extracted syrup is now kept in large standing vessels or containers so that any waste or sediment particles if present in the juice, can settle at the base of the container, leaving behind the pure and clear juicy syrup on the top. It is then strained to pour out the clear liquid.
- Concentration: The poured-out juice is now heated in a large pan until it becomes dense and concentrated.
During the process of synthesis of jaggery, the waste materials are removed either by stirring or by distillation which finally produces a neat yellowish-brown dough-like paste in the end. The shade of the dough often varies from light golden to dark brown. The color and texture of the dough essentially determine the taste and quality of the jaggery. The lighter the shade, the better is the taste and quality of the jaggery.
Jaggery mostly comes with more than 70% of sucrose and also provides less than 10% isolated glucose and fructose, with 5% as minerals. Jaggery, especially in India is found in various forms and textures- many sells in the form of solid dough, or some places, it is found in the form of liquid molasses. (2)
NUTRITION FACTS IN JAGGERY:
A quarter cup of jaggery provides the following nutrients:
- Calories: 100
- Sucrose: 65–85 grams.
- Fructose and glucose: 10–15 grams.
- Iron: 11 mg, or 61% of the RDI.
- Protein: Less than 1 gram (0.4 grams)
- Fat: Less than 1 gram (0.1 grams)
- Carbohydrates: 26 grams
- Fiber: Less than 1 gram
- Sugar: 24 grams
Some other ingredients present in jaggery:
- Magnesium: 70-90 mg, or about 20% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake)
- Potassium: 1050 mg, or 30% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake)
- Manganese: 0.2–0.5 mg, or 10–20% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake)
Health Benefits of Jaggery:
1. Fights with anemia
In India, almost most people suffer from diseases like excessive blood loss, lack of hemoglobin, anemia, and iron deficiency. Studies say that iron is one of the most essential minerals required in the human body for the synthesis of a pigment called hemoglobin in red blood cells that is responsible for deriving the red color of your blood. Lack of hemoglobin or optimum iron proportions in your body may often lead to diseases like anemia. So, it is essential to get enough iron through the regular foods you have in your diet, so that you may prevent the occurrences of anemia.
Jaggery is known to possess rich amounts of iron along with other essential minerals. A quarter of a bowl of good quality jaggery contains enough to meet your daily iron needs iron to meet up the necessary average daily consumption levels of iron in your diet. So jaggery is potential; enough to fight anemia and replenish the iron deficiencies in your body.
2. Fights several diseases
Jaggery consists of a good number of essential nutrients, important minerals, and some amounts of dietary antioxidants like phenolic acids that are often absent in various other food components that we have in our everyday diet. These healthy nutrients are also not found in various ordinary table sugars or some artificial sweeteners. These health components are potential enough to fight disease-causing free radicals and thus help to lower down oxidative stress in the body. Moreover, these antioxidants are significantly known to lower the risks of developing cancer in several parts of the body, dementia, and macular degeneration. This may also help to reduce stress and fatigue.
3. Regulates proper digestion
Jaggery is mainly consumed as a dessert or with any sort of sweet dish in many parts of India. It consists of health extracts that are notably known to regulate the proper digestion of food and thus improve the absorption process of your body. It also helps in the proper movement of food particles and the bowel through the gastrointestinal tract that also manages your regularity and prevents constipation (3).
4. Detoxifies your liver
The liver is one of the most important organs of your body and it needs to be purified regularly. Jaggery contains health extracts that are significantly known to keep your liver free from toxins. Though your body can detoxify your liver on its own, the health constituents in jaggery will help to accelerate the function (4).
5. Builds your immunity
Jaggery contains a good number of nutritional values that are good enough to cure a lot of diseases. So, in India, people often use jaggery as a delicious way of treating ailments for a faster and safer recovery. The rich amounts of essential minerals and dietary antioxidants that are found in jaggery are known to build a proper immune system and help people recover from illnesses like the common cold and the flu. It also helps to fight several diseases and provides you with a disease-free, healthy body.
Potential Health Risks of Having Too Much Jaggery
Jaggery is known to have a good number of health benefits and it is quite rich in some essential nutrients that are not usually obtained from the foods that we have regularly in our diets. But there are some potential health risks that may result due to overconsumption of jaggery, and a certain group of people should surely avoid having jaggery. Otherwise, if you want to have jaggery, do not forget to get the advice of a registered medical caregiver.
The following are the health risks that may be caused due to the consumption of high amounts of jaggery: –
Spikes Up Your Blood Sugar Level
Jaggery, just like other table sugars or artificial sweeteners is known to be a rich source of sucrose. This sucrose, when digested inside your body is further broken down into its simpler forms called glucose. Higher concentrations of glucose in your bloodstream can spike up your blood sugar levels. This condition should be avoided, mostly for people who suffer from a disease like type 2 diabetes. These people should always consult their physician before adding jaggery to their diet.
Leads To Weight Gain and Obesity
Though jaggery contains more nutrition compared to other forms of sugar or artificial sweeteners, it contains high amounts of sucrose. Thus, high consumption of jaggery can lead to overconsumption of calories and cause a calorie surplus in your body. This will lead to unnecessary weight gain and cause obesity.
May Affect Your Intestinal Tract
Jaggery is less processed compared to any ordinary table sugar or artificial sweeteners. This may be safe enough for most people to eat but some may suffer from food poisoning if consumed in excessive amounts. To reduce this risk, the best course of action is to avoid homemade jaggery and only consume jaggery made by commercial manufacturers.
A Healthy Alternative of Jaggery
If you want to add an alternative form of ordinary table sugar or any other artificial sweetener to your diet, then adding jaggery to your diet is not an option. Jaggery contains a lot of healthy nutrients, and it is certainly beneficial to your health, you are not looking to lower your overall sugar intake, then jaggery is a good alternative. But if you are looking to reduce your overall sugar consumption, then natural, low-calorie sweeteners like stevia may be a better option.
“HealthLink.news does not have any intention to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide its users and/ or the general public with information to better understand their health. All content (including text, graphics, images, information, etc.) provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. HealthLink.news makes no representation and assumes no responsibility/ liability for the accuracy of the information, advice, diagnosis, treatment provided herein or on its website. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ IT HERE OR ACCESSED THROUGH THE HealthLink.news WEBSITE.”