Due to the increased health complications, people are using jaggery instead of sugar. Jaggery acts as sweetener and can easily substitute sugar. This unrefined product is commonly found in Africa and Asia. Unlike sugar, jaggery maintains all its nutrients throughout the entire preparation method. India is one of the leading jaggery producing countries in Asia. Jaggery in India is called gur. This product is made from sugarcane. It can also be prepared using date palm.
How is Jaggery made?
A lot of people are curious on how jaggery is prepared isn’t it? This product is made from common traditional methods. You should press and distill sugar cane juice or palm. Here is a three step by step process of making jaggery:
- Extraction is the first process. This process entails pressing palms or sugar cane. This process helps attain sap or juice from any of the two ingredients.
- Clarification is the second step. Commence and place your juice extract in large containers. This makes it easy for any sediment to settle down on the containers. Afterwards, you will attain clear juice extract.
- The third and the last process is concentration. During this process, you will be required to place your juice in a pan and boil it.
Stir your juice while boiling it. This helps you identify the impurities. Continue stirring your juice until you attain a yellow paste that looks like dough. Take the dough like substance and store it in containers. Let it cool for sometimes before checking it out. Jaggery is the final product you attain. When cooled, jaggery brings out a dark brown color. There are also instances where jaggery looks light golden. The light jaggery is considered quality when compared to the dark one. Jaggery is sold when in solid form.
Is jaggery Nutritious than Sugar?
Doctors encourage people to reduce the amount of sugar they consume each day. This is because sugar is linked to serious health complications. Well; this is quite the opposite when it comes to jaggery. Jaggery contains vital nutrients needed by the body for proper function. This thanks to its molasses content. The molasses injects in more nutrients to the final product. The sweetness of jaggery fully depends on the plant that has been used. Jaggery contains the following nutrients:
- Protein-Protein is essential in our body. It helps in repairing damaged cells. It also triggers generation of new cells. Protein also helps in the production of some hormones and enzymes.
- Potassium- potassium is a very essential mineral in the body. First, it protects the body from some chronic conditions. It also helps reduce high blood pressure. Potassium also regulates fluid balance throughout the body.
- Iron- Iron helps enhance the immune system of a person. It also boosts the performance of red blood cells. Lastly, iron helps eliminate fatigue.
- Magnesium found in jaggery helps the body in numerous ways. First, it helps in proper development of bones. It also helps in maintenance of strong bones. Magnesium also improves the health of the heart.
Calories, fat, manages, sucrose and glucose can also be found in Jaggery. Sugar is generally refined. This makes it contain only empty calories without any nutrient. Based on the above information, it is evident jaggery is very nutritious when compared to sugar. You must eat a significant amount of jaggery to attain the nutrients needed by the body. This is the only way your body can absorb the required amounts of nutrients. More studies are yet to be carried out to determine if jaggery can fully substitute sugar.
How can Jaggery be used for?
A lot of people use jaggery instead of sugar, despite no huge research being conducted. Jaggery is very versatile like sugar. Anyone who wants to substitute it with sugar should break jaggery up into particles. Alternatively, you can grate it. Afterwards, it can be used to replace sugar on any drink or food.
Asia and particularly India use jaggery when preparing their traditional candies and desserts. They mostly mix jaggery with milk, peanuts and coconuts. These deserts range from chakkara pongal and jaggery cake. Jaggery has also been used in dying fabric. It delivers instant and long term results. Jaggery has also been used in preparation of ancient traditional drinks.
This product is also gaining popularity in the baking industry. It is being used to sweeten cake, cookies, coffee and tea.
What are the health benefits linked to jaggery?
It is evident jaggery is gaining popularity as time progresses. People love jaggery because of the numerous nutrients they contain when compared to sugar. It is also believed that this sweetener contains a couple of health benefits. Here are some of these benefits:
- It improves the general health and efficiency of the digestive system- A lot of people in Asia and particularly India mostly east jaggery immediately after finishing their meals. A couple of people reveal that it enhances digestion of food. It also hastens bowel movement. In the long run, this helps prevent constipation. Jaggery contains a significant amount of sucrose. This is what helps with bowel movement.
- Jaggery helps prevent Anemia- Medical studies reveal that the body tends to absorb iron from non-centrifugal sugars faster when compared to that from plants. Therefore, jaggery can help people prevent anemia. You should eat a reasonable amount of jaggery for the body to absorb enough iron. Iron also helps boost the immune system and rejuvenates anyone with fatigue.
- Jaggery is a good liver detoxifier- The body is capable of detoxifying liver on its own. Some meals can speed up the process of getting rid of toxins in the liver. Well; some people claim jaggery can speed up the detoxification process.
- It can boost the performance of your immune system- Jaggery has for a long time been used when combined with other tonics. This has helped treat different types of ailments. As earlier seen, jaggery contains antioxidants and minerals. These components can greatly boost the immune system. Vitamin C and zinc also boosts the immune system.
Jaggery is still a sugar despite the numerous health benefits it presents to the body. High sugar intake is linked to serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart condition and obesity. Therefore, consume jaggery with moderation.