Health Benefits of Jaggery
Jaggery is made of the products of both sugarcane and the date palm tree. The sugar made from the sap of the date palm is both more prized and less commonly available outside of the regions where it is made. Traditionally, the syrup is made by boiling raw sugarcane juice or palm sap in a large shallow round-bottom vessel. Produced from sugarcanes, jaggery is a healthy alternative to white refined sugar. Given below are some reasons why jaggery should be included in one’s diet. Jaggery has sucrose and glucose but along with that, it also has good amount of minerals and vitamins needed for the healthy functioning of the body. Today palm jaggery is also sometimes mixed with coconut shreds, jujube puree or sesame, depending on the area. This type of jaggery is also used in Burmese cooking, usually to add color and enrich the food.
Advantages of Jaggery over Sugar
Jaggery is a natural and viable alternative for Sugar. Sugar is manufactured by chemical processes where as jaggery is obtained from sugarcane juice. It is the safest and the purest form of sugar and the process of obtaining jaggery does not involve any chemicals. The manufacturing process of jaggery is very hygienic and requires no human intervention.
It is full of proteins, mineral salts not present in refined sugar and vitamins and is extremely nutritious and delicious. In fact, it has all the nutritional values present in a sugarcane. It is used in many Indian dishes in place of sugar. Popularly known as the “medicinal sugar”, jaggery has various health benefits to help in overall wellness of a person. Jaggery is a pure, wholesome, unrefined whole sugar which contains the natural goodness of minerals and vitamins. Jaggery is also known to be a good source of magnesium which in turn helps in relieving fatigue along with relaxation of muscles, nerves and blood vessels. It thus helps in relieving the symptoms of asthma, migraine, tension and soreness in muscles. Besides being a food, jaggery may also be used to season the inside of tandoor ovens.
Jaggery for Diabetic Patients
While diabetic people are often advised replacing sugar with jaggery, you need to be careful as the latter may cause sudden spike of blood sugar levels.The sago palm and coconut palm are also now tapped for producing jaggery in West Bengal, South India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, syrup extracts from Caryota urens trees are widely used for jaggery production. This is considered the best quality jaggery available in local market and is given a higher value than jaggery coming from other sources. All types of the sugar come in blocks or pastes of solidified concentrated sugar syrup heated to 200 °C.
Being used in agricultural and livestock industries for the preparations of MOL (microorganism local) such as Fermented plant juice, Fermented Fruit juice , Extraction of amino acid from fish and other MOL used in agriculture especially in organic farming and System of Rice Intensification. All over India, jaggery has religious significance to Hindus. Many of the festivals involve the offering of jaggery to deities during worship.
Jaggery is considered auspicious in many parts of India, and is eaten raw before the commencement of good work or any important new venture, or after good news is shared by family and friends. In Myanmar, jaggery is harvested from toddy palm syrup. In central Myanmar and around Bagan , toddy syrup is collected solely for the purpose of making jaggery. The translucent white syrup is boiled until it becomes golden brown, and then made into bite-sized pieces. It is considered a sweet and is eaten by children and adults alike, usually in the afternoon along with a pot of green tea. It has been referred to locally as Burmese chocolate.
Eating Jaggery Health Benefits
- It purifies the blood
- It extremely beneficial for anemic people as it is rich in iron
- It helps maintain blood pressure levels due to low amounts of sodium
- It reduces water retention in the body so controls weight of the body
- It is rich in anti-oxidants so helps in fighting the free radicals in the body
- It strengthens the nervous system
- It helps control indigestion and constipation problems
- It extremely beneficial for throat and lung infections
- It helps in preventing breathing problems and asthma