Jaggery more popularly known as “gur” is a sweet lover’s delight and is a favorite food item for many Indians. In other words, “makki ki roti” with “gur” or “gur ki roti” loaded with ghee has become the staple food in many Indian households where children and elders sit together and enjoy the sweetness of jaggery. I personally have been eating jaggery ever since childhood but my mother mostly gave it to me during winters. I was young at that time and I did not understand its significance back then but now that I have grown up and gathered knowledge, I have found out the reason. Well, desi jaggery apart from having that yummy sweet chocolaty flavor is a powerhouse of nutrition and provides us with many surprising benefits especially in winters. So in case you are unaware of the fact and want to learn more about the benefits of eating jaggery especially in winter, then keep reading my article.
Jaggery is made of cane juice, date or palm sap without separating the crystals and molasses. It generally contains around 20% inverted sugars, 50% sucrose and 20% moisture and the remaining made from various insoluble matter like proteins, wood ash etc. The color of jaggery varies from dark brown to golden brown and is often found in mixture with peanuts, coconut, white sugar and condensed milk in several local markets.
Jaggery is a natural sweetener and has the power to cure various ailments. I will be discussing about all the important benefits of eating jaggery but before that, let’s find out why eating jaggery is good especially in winter season.
Why is eating jaggery (gur) good in winters?
After the summer heat, winters give us respite from the humid weather but the sudden weather change often affects the health of many. People with less immune power especially little children are most likely to be victim of cold and cough, severe throat pain, and other respiratory troubles. But you can prevent these health issues from occurring by eating fresh jaggery.
According to experts like the famous Dietitian Sunita Chowdhary from “BLK Super Speciality Hospital”, consuming jaggery in winters is highly recommended. This is because jaggery is a refined sugar that we get after boiling the juice of sugarcane until the time it solidifies. We get it also from date palms and it contains the same calories as found in sugar. So naturally, when we eat jaggery in winters, the calories in it produce heat and keep our body warm. In other words, jaggery has hot potency leading to heat production in body during its metabolism.
Moreover, during the cold chilly winters, the blood vessels in our body gets constricted but jaggery helps to dilate them that in turn leads to better blood flow and circulation enabling your body to warm up. It is rich in various minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium and other antioxidants that keeps our immune system strong and prevents us from becoming easy victim of cold cough, throat pain, respiratory trouble etc in winters.
The benefits of eating jaggery are undeniable and its potentiality has led to its inclusion in the recommended list of best winter foods in an article produced by “Apollo Munich”. . So why wait, enjoy eating jaggery this winter.
Now that you have known its significance in winters, you thought the list of its benefits end here. Well, NO…Jaggery has many other surprising benefits that will make you fall in love with it even more. So let’s start.
Health benefits of eating jaggery (gur)
Jaggery contains many nutrients and ingredients that are beneficial for our wellbeing. It is definitely a healthy and tastier alternative to white refined sugar. Here are the top 18 benefits of eating jaggery and why you should eat it in winter.
Treats cold and cough
The main reason why jaggery is recommended to be eaten during the winter months is due to its ability to treat cold and cough that is very common in winter. In fact, not the simple cold and cough, it can ease the discomfort of chronic cold as well. It smoothes and soothes the irritation in your throat, and eases the accompanying throat pain. Moreover, it keeps the lungs warm and dilates your respiratory tract and that’s why they recommend eating jaggery in winter season.
Relieves bone and joint pain
If you are aging and have started facing joint and bone pains, then please do not hesitate to eat jaggery because eating jaggery helps relieve bone and joint pain. The antioxidants present in it helps to strengthen bones and prevents conditions like arthritis. You may eat jaggery with ginger or mix jaggery with milk and drink it frequently to get the relief from the bone and joint pains.
Good for digestion
Digestion has become a common problem in today’s lifestyle where every alternate person is suffering from digestive disorders. However, you can reduce your digestive issues largely by proper consumption of jaggery. It contains various nutrients that enable the production of the digestive enzymes. This converts to acetic acid and reduces the load of the digestive tract. This activity stimulates and boosts the process of digestion. In addition, jaggery also contains fiber that helps in regulating proper bowel movement and lowers the occurrence of flatulence, constipation, intestinal worms etc. Jaggery also has the ability to flush out harmful toxins from the body and detoxify it leading to further boosting of the digestive system.
Promotes weight loss
This is quite controversial as the loaded calories in it increases body weight when eaten in large amounts. But if you are able to eat it in moderate quantities and not overdo it, then you can definitely shed some extra pounds. This is because the potassium content in it enables healthy metabolism in body by balancing the electrolytes and building the muscles. It also helps your body to reduce the method of water retention that is essential for weight loss.
Good for heart
Proper functioning of our heart is important to enable healthy living. But everyday our heart undergoes several threats. One of the main causes behind heart failure and occurrence of stroke is soaring levels of blood pressure. Although it is a big problem but jaggery can help you in regulating the levels of blood pressure. The presence of potassium and sodium in jaggery controls the rising of blood pressure and does not let it fall too low either. These minerals further maintain proper acid levels in your system. So if you want to keep your heart healthy, eating a moderate quantity of jaggery may be beneficial for you.
Good for lungs
Dust and smoke largely affects our lungs and can cause lung lesions and other lung disorders. These lesions if not cured from the beginning may turn cancerous and threaten your life. However, studies suggest that jaggery has a positive impact on the lesions and hence can work as a protecting agent for people, especially for those, who are working in the smoky and dusty environments.
In winters you often feel very lethargic and desire sleeping all day long but taking the hectic lifestyle into account that is not just possible. Jaggery is the proper carbohydrate that is easily absorbed in the blood thereby leading to a burst of energy flow. So you can eat a little jaggery at that time as it has the ability to boost your energy levels and make you charged up. However, please do not consume in excess as then it can have adverse effects and even lead to the problem of diabetes.
Purifies your blood
This point is interlinked with the ability of jaggery to boost your digestive system. As I have already said, jaggery flushes out all the harmful toxins in the blood and purifies it. Your blood flow remains smooth and clean which prevents various blood related problems from occurring. The chances of getting affected by various kinds of infections also reduce to a good extent. Proper blood circulation and the elimination of the harmful substances is also good for your liver and kidneys.
Anemia is quite common among women and the occurrence of it leads to severe weakening of your body. Jaggery is an excellent source of iron that improves the levels of hemoglobin in human body. Also, it contains folate that together with the iron regulates proper levels of red blood cells in body. This reduces the problem of anemia and also helps the patients to regain the lost energy.
Eases menstrual cramps in women
Jaggery is immensely beneficial for women with easing the side effects of menstruation being one of them. The loaded nutrients found in jaggery helps to reduce the stomach cramps and also inhibit the feeling of nausea or dizziness that accompanies menstruation. Besides, jaggery provides the weak body with the much-needed energy that it loose during menstruation.
Comforts you of the urinary troubles
Many people face difficulty while urinating. But you can ease the procedure of urination and other urinary issues with jaggery. This is because jaggery possesses the property of sugarcane and is a natural diuretic. This leads to smooth elimination of urine from body. Moreover, jaggery has the ability to reduce any kind of inflammation in the bladder. Therefore, you can drink hot milk with jaggery and keep your urinary problems at bay.
Reduces sexual problems in men
Those men who suffer from sexual problems can make it a habit to eat jaggery with amla powder. This improves the quality and the count of the sperms. There is enhancement of the physical power and sexual capability. It thus helps you get rid of infertility issues. Moreover, the urinary problems in men can also be cured by eating jaggery regularly.
Asthma or breathing trouble is a common thing with aged adults. Even the younger generation today fall victim of this breathing health issue. The problem of asthma often intensifies with increasing fall in temperature and so sometimes, the situation worsens in winter months. However, as a solution, you can eat jaggery as it has the ability to ease most respiratory troubles including asthma. The anti-allergic property of the jaggery is also very beneficial for the asthma patients.
You can solve the problem of PMS or premenstrual syndrome with jaggery. This is the period between ovulation and a period, which experience several hormonal fluctuations, and often leads to mood swings, depression, bloating, fatigue etc. However, jaggery facilitates the production of endorphins, the happy hormones that helps in alleviating your mood. Not just that, it makes you feel good and also relaxes your body.
Hiccups can be irritating and cause a lot of discomfort if continues for a long time. Nevertheless, you may now treat your hiccups with jaggery. All you need to do is to mix jaggery with ginger powder and then drink it with warm water. This will give you quick relief from continuous hiccups.
Keeps your stomach cool
Sometimes, your stomach gets excessively heated up which may lead to other health issues. But as we already know, jaggery can regulate the body temperature and thus is efficient in keeping your stomach cool as well. You may eat a bit of jaggery whenever you feel the need to keep your stomach cool.
Beneficial for your skin
The dust and pollution damages your skin largely and so taking care of it is important. So besides all the beauty masks, you also need to eat healthy to beautify yourselves from within and jaggery will help you in that. The rich vitamins and minerals present in it give enough nourishment to your skin and keep it healthy and glowing even during harsh winter season. Consuming jaggery can also keep your acne and pimple problems at check and fights the aging signs of dark spots, wrinkles etc. Therefore, you can eat jaggery in moderate amounts for blemish free skin.
Strengthens your immunity
The loaded nutrients and antioxidants present in jaggery help to improve immunity. It increases the body’s ability to fight various germs and prevent the occurrence of various diseases. It also stimulates recovery process of wounds. The zinc and selenium gives us protection against the free radical damage due to oxidative stress. Eating moderate quantity of jaggery will be highly beneficial in improving stamina and immunity.
Over to you
Jaggery is a wonderful ingredient that not just pleases your taste buds but also gives you overall protection and prevents the occurrence of various health issues. It is good for your heart, your digestive system, for healthy metabolism, blood, lungs, menstrual cramps, sexual potency, stronger immune system etc.
You can consume jaggery at any time but the ideal season to eat it is winter. The winter climate favors the individual to draw the maximum benefits of eating jaggery as it is during this time you need to keep your body warm and that is exactly what jaggery does. It cures most common and never-ending winter problems of cold and cough, infections, sore throats, various respiratory problems etc.
However, although it is healthy to eat and has surprising health and beauty benefits, you must never forget the precautions. It is, after all a kind of sugar, which if you eat in excess amount may lead to diabetes and obesity. So, consume in moderation and enjoy the various surprising benefits of eating jaggery.
Are you a jaggery lover? Have you checked out the top 18 surprising benefits of eating jaggery? Share me the feedbacks in the comment sections and feel free to tell us the way you like to incorporate jaggery in your diet. Also, like and share if you find the information of this article valuable.
Until then, enjoy the sweetness of jaggery.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.