Jaggery i.e. “Gur” in Hindi, ‘Bellam’ in Telugu, ‘Vellam’ in Tamil, ‘Sharkara’ in Malayalam, ‘Bella’ in Kannada, and ‘Gul’ in Marathi is unrefined sugar which is mainly obtained from raw, concentrated sugarcane juice. The few other sources of jaggery are date palm (nolen gur) and the sap of coconut. The one made from sugarcane juice is the most popular, easily available, and commonly used. It is prepared by boiling sugar cane juice, to the point that it solidifies. Then this molten form is put into blocks and thus jaggery is obtained.
The best time to consume jaggery is during the winter season since it is the best time when most of the fresh jaggery is made. Jaggery boosts immunity owing to the many vital vitamins and minerals found in it. During winters it also helps to keep the body warm, treat cold, cough, sore throats, and sinuses, It also helps to keep a check on the temperature of the body.
Indians with their in-depth knowledge about home remedies and various food recipes, use this natural sweetener since time immemorial.
Some of the uses of Jaggery are –
Helps to cure constipation
- Jaggery helps to plug in the digestive enzymes, augment smooth bowel movements, and thus helps prevent and cure constipation (a condition, associated with hardened feces, making it difficult to empty bowels).
- Thus jaggery acts as a diuretic, which can help stimulate bowel movement.
- It is always advisable that jaggery as a small piece taken post-lunch could help maintain a healthy digestive system.
Helps in detoxifying liver
- Jaggery acts as a natural body cleanser and reduces the work to be done by the liver.
- It also helps flush out harmful toxins collected from the body, thus cleaning the liver.
Helps treat flu-like symptoms
- Jaggery can be very beneficial in fighting symptoms of flu and cough. A small piece of Jaggery mixed in warm water or tea relieves one of the flu and cough.
Helps to purify blood
- Jaggery contains within itself the potential to purify blood.
- Consumption on a regular basis and in limited quantities, helps clean blood, making the body purer and healthier.
Helps boost immunity
- Jaggery is filled up with antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium, which help the body to develop immunity against infectious diseases.
- Jaggery is also a good alternative for increasing the body’s haemoglobin count naturally.
Help cleanse the body
- Jaggery is an efficient natural cleansing agent for the body
- It removes unwanted particles from the body.
- It helps clean the respiratory tract, lungs, intestines, stomach and food pipe. Hence, it is recommended for people working in heavily polluted areas such as factories or coal mines to eat jaggery on a regular basis.
Helps ease menstrual pain
- Jaggery can be used as an effective natural cure for many menstrual problems owing to its richness in nutrients
- It is especially useful in providing relief from cramps.
- Jaggery leads to release of endorphins which can help ease out many PMS symptoms, like mood swings also, by relaxing your body.
Helps prevent anaemia
- Jaggery is a rich source of iron and thus helps in preventing anaemia.
- It helps maintain the normal red blood cell levels in the blood.
- Jaggery is also known for providing instant energy to the body.
Helps boost intestinal health
- Jaggery is a rich source of magnesium, which is responsible for the maintenance of good intestinal health.
- 10 grams of Jaggery provides 16 mg of magnesium, which is 4 percent of the daily requirement of magnesium for normal functioning of body.
Helps keep the stomach cool
- Jaggery helps in maintaining normal body temperature. This in turn helps in keeping the stomach cool.
Helps control blood pressure
- Jaggery is a rich source of potassium and sodium, which are the pivotal players in the maintenance of acid levels in the body.
- It helps the body to maintain a normal pressure of blood.
Helps prevent respiratory problems
- Regular consumption of Jaggery can help prevent many respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, etc.
- Combining jaggery with sesame seeds can prove to be highly beneficial for the respiratory system.
It is suggested to consume jaggery in moderate quantities and on a daily basis, as it provides slightly higher amount of calories, almost up to 4 kcal/gram. With all these benefits to reap from, one should be cautious of not consuming jaggery more than the level needed by the body for its proper functioning.
Jaggery with its many benefits is an important element found in Indian Households and thus when told by elders to consume should not be neglected.