Hello, Health

Seven reasons why you must give up on refined sugar and switch to jaggery today

Excess of refined sugar can cause a lot of health problems.

 |  Hello, Health  |  5-minute read |   10-08-2019
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Almost everybody opted for sugar over jaggery in the last few decades — thanks to the convenience factor. A decision that has come to haunt us big time, as the health messes, thanks to excess refined sugar, are now piling up. It’s not too late to make the reverse switch again. I give you 7 bonafide reasons why we should switch back to jaggery (solid residue you get from boiling down clarified sugarcane juice) today:

1. Jaggery is high on nutrition

jaggery690_080919053957.jpg With a plethora of vitamins and a wide range of minerals, each piece of jaggery runs high on nutrition. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Sugar is simply empty calories — jaggery, on the other hand, is rich in a number of essential nutrients, making it a power-packed source of nutrition. It contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, sodium, zinc, copper, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, C, D2, and E. Jaggery contains extracts and phenolic compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress, and immune boosting benefits. It is also abundant in a number of antioxidants like selenium and magnesium; when had combined with neem leaves it helps reduce oxidative stress in the body.

2. It is a fatigue and headache buster

Jaggery is a good source of magnesium which acts a muscle relaxant, makes the nervous system more robust and helps bust fatigue. To get rid of a migraine, have 5 millilitres of ghee with 10-12 grams of jaggery early morning empty stomach, and then at night 30 minutes before going to bed.

3. Helps keep seasonal flu at bay

flu690_080919054020.jpg Down with a virus? Fret, not! Jaggery is all you need to get rid of that itchy throat. (Photo: India Today)

Jaggery is an oft validated traditional remedy for respiratory disorders and throat problems. It smoothes and soothes the irritation in the throat, eases the accompanying throat pain, keeps the lungs warm and dilates the respiratory tract. Plus, the minerals found in jaggery — phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, potassium and multiple antioxidants, help boost the immune system and fight against cold, cough, throat pain, respiratory trouble etc. In fact, this concoction: 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder + 1 tablespoon of butter + 5 grams of jiggery, if had early in the morning, can help keep the ravages of pollution at bay.

4. It is an antidote to pollution

Worried about what pollution is doing to your insides? Eat a small piece of jaggery every day. It helps protect against the damage pollution causes to our lungs because it helps cleanse the respiratory tracts; and also, the lungs, food pipe, stomach, and intestines.

5. Helps cut down the fat

jag690_080919054040.jpg From fat to fab: Jaggery will help you get in shape and reach those #FitnessGoals ASAP! (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Jaggery helps in reducing water retention in the body because the potassium content helps cut down on the bloating. It also gives you steady energy in the form of complex carbohydrates (unlike refined sugar which is released faster) and kicks up your metabolism. But, be careful though, as bringing in 40 calories with every 10 grams, jaggery is no diet food! So, moderation is needed — because if you binge on it, you will rack in the calories and pile up the pounds.

6. Jaggery helps ease digestion

Fibre in jaggery is a big help against constipation. Plus, eating jaggery after a heavy meal or eating meat can help speed up the digestion and make the digestive process smooth. By stimulating the digestive enzymes and functioning as an acetic acid in the stomach, jaggery helps prevent many digestive problems

7. It even helps alleviate stress and anxiety

stress690_080919054058.jpg Jaggery can do wonders when it comes to relieving stress and anxiety. (Photo: India Today)

Jaggery stimulates the release of endorphins or ‘feel-good’ hormones in the body. Simply brew up a cup of warm tea with jaggery and drink it. Alternatively, a cup of warm water with jaggery can also help ease anxiety.

Can diabetics have it?

Ultimately, jaggery is high in sugar. It has a glycemic index comparable to sugar and honey and a sizeable composition is sucrose. If you’re diabetic, you need to watch your sugar intake to avoid sudden spikes in blood glucose levels. And jaggery, like any sugary substance, can cause your blood sugar levels to rise when you eat it. 

Ageing is important

Freshly made jaggery according to Ayurveda, is a kapha-inducing food and can cause indigestion or even constipation. Jaggery older than 3 years is generally considered best for ayurvedic remedies. But, be careful that it is not too old (more than 4 years) as that could be just as bad — or worse and put you at risk of contracting worms, respiratory issues, or cough. Also, be wary of adulterated (with chemicals or refined sugar) jaggery.

Also Read: Down with the seasonal flu? A smart way of beating the virus is to eat according to the season

Writer

Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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