Jaggery for a healthy body

Enriching

Jaggery for a healthy body

Years ago when white sugar was not a commonly used sweetener in households, good old jaggery or gur was the lone item used in all the seasons to make sweet food items like halwas, ladoos or rice.

If in summer it was used to prevent body from the heat wave, in winter it was an essential food item to maintain warmth in the body. The Ayurveda recommends use of this sweetener since it purifies blood; prevents bile disorders and is a rich source of iron, potassium and magnesium.

Even today, many people use this sweetener for making the traditional gur ki roti, gur ke chawal and halwa which uses gur.

“Jaggery is a good source of iron that helps in improving haemoglobin levels and prevents anaemia. People who don’t have easy accessibility of green vegetables everyday can take jaggery to fulfil their iron requirement,” says a well-known dietician, Dr Wadhwani who also advises replacement of white sugar with jaggery while making desserts.

Citing other benefits of this natural sweetener, Sonia Bajaj, fitness and nutritionist with American Council of Exercise says, “Jaggery has some antioxidants which help in purifying the blood and for curing cough problems. People suffering from constipation and water retention problems, can also have jaggery to overcome their health problems.”

Since jaggery is a natural sweetener made by the concentration of sugarcane juice, it is also a good source of carbohydrates. But the dietician adds a word of caution for diabetics or those who are on a strict weight loss regime.

“Jaggery should be consumed with extra precaution if you are a diabetic. It has only five percent less carbohydrate than white sugar so it is advisable not to consume it in large quantities. The same goes for those who are on weight loss programme,” says Wadhwani. However, calling it a must food for growing kids, she adds, “I suggest mothers make jaggery a part of everyday diet.

One of the easiest recipes that I suggest is to make jaggery paranthas or chillas. These can be made from fermented dough, by adding dry fruits and liquid jaggery. The mix should be of pouring consistency if you are planning to cook it like a chilla. The benefit of fermented dough is that it absorbs the iron of the jaggery, making it healthier.”  She also suggests the same for pregnant women.

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