jaggery - 31 facts and myths no one talks about

JAGGERY – 31 myths and facts nobody talks about

Have you noticed your grandmothers eating jaggery at the end of every meal, and relishing it like dark chocolate? I never understood the obsession over jaggery, until recently. I came across a study stating how jaggery could redefine your healthy lifestyle journey.

Jaggery is a natural sweetener, with a heavenly taste, and tons of health benefits. This unrefined sugar product is made all over Asia and Africa. 

Here are a few myths and facts about jaggery, that nobody talks about –

Table of Contents:

What is jaggery made of?

Jaggery can either be made from sugarcane juice or palm sap. It is made by evaporating the water and transferring the dough into containers, where it cools into jaggery.

Making jaggery in a big pan
Making of jaggery in a flat-bottomed pan

The juice is first extracted either from the palm tree or the sugar cane. It is then allowed to stand in large containers for hours, so the sediments can settle down at the bottom.

The clear liquid is then strained and boiled in a  flat-bottomed pan, until all the water dries up, leaving a doughy texture. This doughy texture cools down into jaggery.

What are the benefits of jaggery?

  • Jaggery boosts the secretion of digestive enzymes, which speeds up the process of digestion. This helps prevent any digestive disorders.
  • Jaggery helps boost the count of hemoglobin in your blood and purifies it, keeping your body healthy.
  • Jaggery is rich in iron and maintains the level of red cells in your blood, thus helping prevent anemia.
  •  Jaggery gives relief from stomach cramps and ache, while you are menstruating.
  • Jaggery is rich in vitamins and minerals, that replenish your skin and prevent skin problems like acne and blemishes. 
  • Jaggery is rich in potassium, which balances the electrolytes in your body, thus boosting your metabolism. 
  • Jaggery is rich in antioxidant agents, that delay aging, and keeps your heart and liver healthy. 
  • Jaggery gives instant energy to your body.
  • Eating jaggery along with dried ginger powder helps get rid of hiccups, almost instantly. 

Is brown sugar jaggery?

Brown sugar is a refined form of sugar, that is made by adding a thick brown syrup to white sugar. Whereas, a jaggery is an unrefined form of sugar that is made out of sugarcane juice.

A teaspoon of brown sugar and a piece of jaggery side by side

Brown sugar has a deep, caramel-like flavour and works well with chocolate and rich-fruit cakes. 

On the other hand, jaggery has a fruity and earthy flavor with slight notes of smoke. This makes it perfect as a sweetener in tea or coffee. 

Which vitamin is in jaggery?

Jaggery contains 2% of Vitamin B6 along with 1% of Vitamin B3.

Jaggery cubes are also rich in minerals and contain 21% of phosphorus, 4% of magnesium, 3% of iron, and 1% of calcium. 

How much fat is in jaggery?

Jaggery contains just 0.1% of fat, making it healthier than other forms of sugar.

Does jaggery boost immunity?

Jaggery contains more than 25% of iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, as well as selenium. These minerals act as a booster for your immunity and ensure that your immune system stays healthy.

Jaggery is also rich in antioxidants, that fight off the free radicals, and build resistance against infections and viruses. 

A boost in immunity also helps prevent a wide variety of blood disorders and diseases. 

Does jaggery increase hemoglobin?

Half a cup of jaggery contains 11mg of iron, which is 61% of your recommended dietary intake. Iron helps increase the hemoglobin count in your blood. 

Eating jaggery with citrus foods, which are rich in Vitamin C, helps boost the absorption of this mineral in your blood. 

Jaggery also helps maintain the level of your red blood cells, thus preventing anaemia. 

Is jaggery better than honey?

Honey is healthier than jaggery since it has a lower calorie density. 15% of honey is water, along with 40% fructose. The fructose makes it sweeter than jaggery and is thus consumed a lot less, making it a better choice.

A piece of raw jaggery and raw honey side by side
Left – Raw jaggery ; Right – Raw unfiltered honey

Raw unfiltered honey is also more natural and unadulterated in form and is full of antioxidants and nutrients. It also has a lower glycemic index, and is absorbed slowly by the blood, and hence causes a lower blood sugar spike.

Substituting sugar with honey is best for sweetening your beverages. Whereas, substituting sugar with jaggery is best for sweetening your desserts.

Can I put jaggery in tea?

Adding jaggery to your tea is good for your liver and intestines. It helps speed up your digestion process and boosts your overall immunity. Jaggery acts as a cleansing agent and helps your body get rid of all the toxins.

Here is how you can make yourself a delicious jaggery tea.

Ingredients you need –

  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered/grated jaggery
  • 1 tablespoon of tea leaves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds

What you have to do –

  • Add the water to a pan and set it aside to boil.
  • Once boiled, add tea leaves, cardamoms, and fennel seeds. Let the water steep for 3 minutes on medium flame.
  • Add the milk to the pan and let it boil for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the jaggery powder to a cup, and strain your tea in the cup.
  • Stir the tea until the jaggery melts. Drink while it’s still warm.

How often you should do this –

Drinking jaggery tea twice a day would help boost your immunity and digestive system.

Can we add jaggery in coffee?

Adding powdered or grated jaggery to your coffee, not only makes it healthier but also gives you an instant boost of energy. It is unrefined, making it a suitable option for diabetic people.

Jaggery added to a cup of black coffee

Here is how you can make yourself a delicious jaggery coffee –

Ingredients you need –

  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup of coffee decoction
  • 1 small piece of dry ginger 
  • 2 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered/grated jaggery

What you have to do –

  • Add the water to a pan and set it aside to boil.
  • Now pound the dry ginger and black pepper and add it to the pan.
  • Add the jaggery to the pan and let it boil for 5 minutes until the jaggery melts completely.
  • Now add the coffee decoction and let it simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Strain the coffee in a cup. Drink while it’s still hot.

How often you should do this –

Drinking jaggery coffee first thing in the morning would give you an instant boost of energy.

Does jaggery increase weight?

Jaggery has just 0.1% fat, making it an ideal choice for weight loss. It stimulates your metabolism and helps you burn fat much faster. Jaggery also helps flush out all the toxins from your body, aiding in weight loss.

Jaggery is rich in zinc and potassium, which balances the electrolytes in your body, helping to get rid of water retention.

However, you should eat jaggery in a moderated form. Eating too much of it can have the opposite effect on your body, leading to weight gain. 

Is eating jaggery good for hair?

Jaggery contains 61% of your recommended dietary intake of iron and boosts its absorption as well. Iron boosts the health of your hair, making them strong and lustrous. 

Eating jaggery helps maintain your hemoglobin levels, which in turn promotes blood circulation to your scalp. This promotes hair growth and helps reduce hair fall.

Can I eat jaggery during periods?

Jaggery is warm in nature and helps regulate irregular periods. It releases endorphins in your body, that help you relax, improves your mood, and gives relief from pre-menstrual syndrome.

Jaggery helps balance your hormone levels, along with giving you relief from stomach aches and cramps. 

Is jaggery good for oily skin?

Jaggery works great for oily and acne-prone skin. It helps treat skin problems like pimples and keeps your skin blemish-free. The vitamins and minerals in jaggery hydrate your skin and provide proper nourishment.

A face mask made of jaggery, lemon, and honey

Jaggery also contains glycolic acid, which mildly exfoliates your skin and heals your acne. The antioxidant agents in jaggery, fight off the free radicals in your skin and delays the process of aging. 

Can babies eat jaggery?

Babies over the age of 12 months, can eat food mixed with jaggery. It is rich in phosphorus and calcium, which would help strengthen your baby’s bones. 

Eating a small quantity of jaggery every day would boost your baby’s digestive system, detoxify their liver, and help get rid of constipation.

With vitamins like B3 and B6, jaggery helps boost your baby’s immunity. It cools your baby’s body down and gives relief from flu, cough, or cold.

What is the best time to eat jaggery?

Eating jaggery or drinking jaggery tea first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach would help stimulate your digestive system. It would also help detoxify and clean your body from all the harmful toxins.

Jaggery when eaten on an empty stomach would help fight acid reflux, as well as heartburn. 

Jaggery assists in the secretion of gastric juices, thus stimulating your metabolism. This helps in weight management. 

Is it healthy to eat jaggery?

Jaggery is an unrefined form of sugar, which contains antioxidants and micronutrients, making it a healthier choice. It is digested slowly by your liver and thus absorbs in your blood slowly. This causes a lower blood sugar spike. 

The potassium content in jaggery maintains the balance of electrolytes in your body and reduces water retention. This helps you manage your weight more effectively. 

Can we drink milk with jaggery?

Adding jaggery to warm milk would boost your digestive system. It also helps reduce the risk of various digestive disorders like constipation, indigestion, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome. 

Can we add jaggery to turmeric milk?

Adding jaggery to turmeric milk would not only give a rich, sweet flavor to your milk but would also pack it up with antioxidants and nutrients. Jaggery and turmeric milk together helps boost your immunity.

Powdered jaggery added to a cup of turmeric milk

Jaggery when mixed with turmeric milf, helps detoxify your body from all the free radicals, and maintain the health of your liver and intestines. 

Can diabetic eat jaggery?

Diabetic patients can eat jaggery in a limited amount. Even though it is a healthier alternative to sugar, a diabetic patient should not eat more than 2 teaspoons of jaggery daily.

Even though jaggery gets absorbed at a low rate when compared to refined sugar, it still does increase your blood sugar levels. 

However, jaggery also has other health benefits and is a rich source of iron and phosphorus. So taking it in a moderate form is the best way to keep healthy, in case you suffer from diabetes. 

Is jaggery good for BP patients?

Jaggery is rich in potassium as well as sodium, which regulates your blood pressure level. They help maintain the acid levels in your body and reduce oxidative stress.

Jaggery is a diuretic, and help your kidneys release more sodium into your urine

The sodium then takes away all the excess water from your blood, decreasing the amount of fluid flowing through your veins. This reduces your blood pressure. 

Does jaggery cause acidity?

Jaggery helps reduce acidity, by boosting your intestinal health. It contains 20% of your recommended dietary intake of magnesium, which helps to stimulate your digestive system. It maintains acid levels in your body, thus reducing heartburn.

The antioxidant agents in jaggery fight off the free radicals in your stomach and intestine. It purifies your blood and expels all the harmful toxins, thus boosting your digestion.

The high level of magnesium mineral in jaggery works to neutralize your stomach acid, and give relief from the symptoms of acidity. 

Is jaggery good for gas? (Bloating)

Jaggery helps stimulate your digestive enzymes, and speed up the process of digestion. This helps your small intestine to absorb more food, and release less gas into your system, thus reducing the symptoms of bloating. 

A person holding a small piece of organic jaggery

Eating jaggery just after your meals would benefit you the most if you suffer from acid reflux, heartburn, or bloating. It is one of the easiest home remedies to get rid of bloating

Is jaggery good for the liver?

Jaggery helps regulate the function of your liver. It acts as a natural detoxifying agent and helps your body get rid of all the harmful toxins and impurities. It thus reduces the workload of your liver.

An increased level of free radicals in your body can damage cellular macromolecules and are responsible for a variety of liver diseases. 

Jaggery is rich in antioxidant agents, that reduce and neutralizes the effect of these free radicals on your liver.

Can we eat jaggery on an empty stomach?

Eating jaggery along with warm water on an empty stomach would help boost your digestive system, and stimulate your metabolism. This aids in weight loss.

You should eat jaggery first thing in the morning, as it clears up your stomach, and keep digestive disorders at bay. 

Jaggery also assists in the secretion of gastric juices, which helps get rid of early morning acid reflux and bloating.

Can we eat jaggery daily?

Jaggery is a type of sugar that can be eaten daily but in a moderate form. You should not eat more than 3 teaspoons of organic jaggery in a day.

A teaspoon of melted jaggery

Jaggery is a natural sweetener that can either be taken on an empty stomach, in the morning if you are looking to manage your weight.

Some people prefer taking jaggery after meals as it prevents constipation, acid reflux, heartburn, along with boosting your digestive system. 

What happens if you eat too much jaggery?

Eating too much jaggery can lead to a spike in your blood sugar level, making you feel dizzy and out of breath. Too much jaggery can also lead to an imbalance in your digestion and either cause constipation or loose motions.

Jaggery is warm in nature, and eating too much of it can slow down your digestion process. 

Is jaggery harmful to teeth?

Jaggery when compared to other forms of sugar, is comparatively better for your teeth and oral health. It is a form of complex sugar and takes a little longer to release acids in your mouth when compared to refined sugars. This reduces the chance of cavities.

On the other hand, refined sugars are sticky and have a long oral clearance time, which can lead to cavities.

Can jaggery cause acne?

Jaggery is rich in antioxidants and selenium, which fights off the free radicals and oxidative stress in your body. This helps protect your skin from damages, acne, and, blemishes.

Jaggery helps hydrate your skin and provides proper nourishment to your body and skin. It delays the signs of aging like dark spots, wrinkles, and skin tags.

Is jaggery bad for PCOS?

Jaggery is a natural, unrefined sweetener that is one of the best alternatives for sugar if you suffer from PCOS. It has a low GI index, and get absorbed in your blood slowly, thus lowering your blood sugar spike.

Small balls made by melting raw, pure jaggery

Jaggery stimulates the release of endorphins, also known as the happy hormone, which helps to stabilize your mood swings. It relaxes your body and promotes regular menstruation.

What are the side effects of jaggery?

  • Jaggery can interfere with anti-inflammatory agents and should be avoided if you are prone to inflammation or swelling.
  • Eating too much jaggery can lead to weight gain. Just 4 teaspoons of jaggery contain 80 calories. 
  • You should avoid eating jaggery if you suffer from Inflammatory bowel disease. It might worsen your condition by allowing intestinal microbes into your gut.
  • Eating poor quality jaggery can increase the chances of intestinal worms or parasites.
  • Eating too much jaggery, or freshly prepared jaggery might lead to indigestion and diarrhea.
  • A few people might have an allergic reaction to jaggery and suffer from a stuffy nose, nausea, rashes, and fever. If you notice these symptoms you should avoid eating jaggery.
  • Eating too much jaggery at once can lead to a sudden spike in blood glucose levels. 
  • Jaggery is warm in nature, so eating too much jaggery especially during summers can lead to a nose bleed.

Conclusion

Our market is pouring with new brands of jaggery every day. However, there are very few people in the industry who are living up to the promise of pure, raw, and unadulterated jaggery.

Jaggery is an unrefined form of sweetener, making it one of the best alternatives to white or brown sugar. It is also packed with antioxidants, vitamin, and minerals that not only sweeten your dish but also provides tons of health benefits. 

However, you should make sure that the jaggery you buy should be of high quality and is not mixed with any artificial sweeteners or chemicals.

So, the next time you enter your local store make sure you ditch white or brown sugar and pick up raw, unadulterated jaggery instead.

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