Both Jaggery and white sugar come from sugar cane. So if someone tells you that ‘Jaggery’ or ‘Gur’ is a better choice than refined white sugar or to replace the white sugar in your baked goods with Jaggery, then you might get mixed up. Don't fret, in this writing we have highlighted the nutritional benefits of using Jaggery over sugar, so that you can pick the right one for you.
Sugar Vs Jaggery; The Sweet Difference
Sugar as we know looks like white, translucent crystals while Jaggery comes in shades ranging from golden brown to dark brown in colour. They both are produced from sugarcane juice, but the processing methods largely differ. In the production of sugar, Sugar syrup is treated with charcoal to give it a clear and transparent look. Once the solution is condensed and crystallized, sugar is left with only plain sucrose; owing to this it is touted to be a source of empty calories with zero nutritional value. However, there is no such process involved in the treatment for Jaggery except that the sugarcane syrup (Palm Jaggery is also there, made from the toddy palm tree) is boiled for several hours to produce a thick paste which is then placed in a mould to get a firm shape. Therefore Jaggery’s nutritional value is not lost in its making. It retains the traces of mineral salts, iron, and fiber. Thus by substituting sugar in recipes with Jaggery, you get some extra nutrients as well. Besides its robust nutritional value, jaggery also has some exceptional health benefits and let’s explores them.
- Slow Rate of Absorption: Refined Sugar is absorbed instantly in the body whereas jaggery being unrefined is absorbed slowly. Therefore, Jaggery doesn’t spike blood sugar levels and is a better option for diabetic patients.
- Keep Anaemia at Bay: Jaggery can also help you with your iron intake as it's very rich in iron. So, regular consumption of Jaggery also facilitates the absorption of iron and it also increases the hemoglobin count. Iron content in Jaggery makes it a great food for pregnant women, people with anaemia and low hemoglobin.
- Good for Digestion: Eating Jaggery after meals can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes. Thus, by including jaggery in your daily diet can improve digestion, and reduce acidity, bloating and gas. It is also good for treating and preventing constipation.
- Panacea for Breathing Disorders: According to Ayurveda, Jaggery works as an exceptional remedy for treating breathing disorders. Its anti-allergic properties detoxifies the body and any mucus out of the respiratory system and that explains why our ancestors used to suggest Gur Herbal tea as a natural home remedy for treating asthma, cough, cold and chest . People living in areas with high air pollution can benefit from Jaggery as it helps in detoxifying lungs. Those suffering from asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia can also benefit by including jaggery in diet.
- Prevents Water Retention: Thanks to its potassium content, Jaggery helps in maintaining the electrolyte balance and helps prevent water retention in the body. This can be something that the weight watchers look for.
- Relieves Menstrual Cramps: Women going through painful PMS can have 1 tsp of jaggery and 1 tsp of sesame seeds for some relief.
- Natural & Chemical Free: Compared to the chemically treated and bleached Sugar, Jaggery is a completely natural food. And anything natural is good for you body and wellness.