Jaggery, also known as ‘gud’ or ‘gur’ is a famous winter food that is used as a sweetener in many of the famous Indian dishes. The debate of ‘Jaggery vs Sugar’ has always been won by the former due to the number of health benefits it has. Here is a guide to the different types of Jaggery, their benefits and how to use it and identify its purity.
Sugarcane jaggery is derived from the juice of sugarcane after boiling, filtering and churning it through traditional methods. It is one of the most widely used types of jaggery. It is light to dark brown in colour and hard to bite, which is one way to tell its purity. The darker the better, light coloured jaggery is a sign of adulteration.
This type of jaggery has many health benefits like:
Helps in weight loss: Jaggery contains potassium which helps muscles to maintain electrolyte balance. Therefore, it is a perfect replacement for sugar for a healthy diet.
Prevents respiratory problems: By consuming jaggery everyday, one can eliminate chances of contracting infections like cough or respiratory tract infections including asthma and bronchitis.
Detoxifies Liver: Jaggery is a great cleanser and reduces the workload of liver by flushing harmful toxins.
Palm Jaggery is made from the sap extract of the palm trees. It is boiled, filtered and churned in the same way as sugarcane jaggery. This type of jaggery has a ‘melt in mouth’ texture and is dark brown colour. It is advised to taste it before buying. As this jaggery ages, it gets saltier. Moreover, if it tastes bitter, extra sweet or has crystals, that means it has been caramelised or artificial sweeteners have been added.
There are many health benefits of palm jaggery like:
Improves digestion: Jaggery boosts the production of digestive enzymes and facilitates bowel movement. You can have it after your meals, which will not only satiate sugar cravings but also aid digestion.
Boosts immunity: It is rich in zinc and potassium that helps the body to fight against several diseases.
Prevents anaemia: Palm jaggery is a good source of iron that helps the body to maintain haemoglobin levels. Anemic patients must try to include this in their diet.
This type of Jaggery is made from the unfermented coconut sap. It does not contain sucrose and is rich in iron and magnesium, which are essential for your body. It is an integral part of the Goan cuisine and is used in many gravy dishes. It’s the darkest of all the types and is hard in texture. One way to test its purity is to take a bowl of water and dissolve a small amount of jaggery. If it is adulterated, then the particles will separate and settle down at the bottom.
Like the other types, coconut jaggery too has its unique flavour and many health benefits:
Soothes flu-like symptoms- Jaggery is an excellent remedy for sore throat and other cough and cold problems. You can use jaggery in your home remedies as well.
Cools down the stomach- Jaggery helps the body to maintain a steady temperature, thus, helps in keeping the stomach cool.
Controls blood pressure- Jaggery contains sodium, iron and potassium which are essential to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
So, make sure you ditch your regular sugar and switch to healthier sweetener, jaggery, which will also reap a number of health benefits.
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