In India, jaggery and sugar are extensively used to add sweetness and enhance the taste of food. Though procured from the same source, sugar is processed and refined stripping it off all its nutrition; however, the nutritional value is retained by jaggery in its most natural form. Extracted from the juice of sugarcane, date palm or coconut sap, by boiling until it gets solidified, jaggery has different names across India like, ‘Gur’ in Hindi, ‘Bellam’ in Telugu, ‘Vellam’ in Tamil, ‘Sharkara’ in Kannada, and ‘Gul’ in Marathi. “It is rich in iron and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, selenium, manganese and zinc which adds high nutritional quotient to the food. According to Ayurveda, there are multiple benefits of including jaggery in one’s diet,” explains Dr Hari Venkatesh, Head, R&D, Healthcare, Sri Sri Tattva.
Being, a natural source of iron and minerals, jaggery is nutritional and recommended for individuals diagnosed with anaemia. It also adds to one’s requirements of essential vitamins and minerals when consumed daily.
It is a raw unrefined sweetener which is absorbed slowly by the body, ensuring there is no sudden surge in blood sugar levels.
The presence of magnesium helps to relax and strengthen the bronchial muscles in our body which assists in balanced breathing. It thus helps in treating breathing problems like asthma, allergies, and lung or throat infections.
Its rich iron content also helps improve blood circulation and boosts the respiratory system. Jaggery is also known to help cure migraine due to its high iron content.
Along with these benefits, it also has anti-allergic and antioxidant properties which help the body to detoxify.
Jaggery assists in clearing the body of any excess mucus aiding digestion. This sweetener when consumed maintains acid balance in the body treating bile disorders and is also effective in treating illnesses like jaundice.
Jaggery also prevents constipation by activating the digestive enzymes in the body. Loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium, it helps prevent free-radicals and help boost resistance against infections and weakness, by building stronger immunity.
“Apart from its Ayurvedic benefits, jaggery is also used in cattle feed to enhance its taste. The consumption of jaggery by cattle also improves the taste of milk produced. With its multiple health and wellness benefits, jaggery has established itself as an important Ayurvedic superfood. Numerous health and wellness companies include jaggery in their formulation for their organic and natural range of supplements and medicines to reap their potent benefits,” Dr Hari says.