What Are The Health Benefits Of Jaggery?

Golden brown jaggery, the less refined alternative to white sugar, is a powerful remedy just waiting to be used by you. Whether it is respiratory problems, digestive issues, weight loss, or anemia, jaggery has a role to play. If you haven’t already tapped into its benefits, here’s some food for thought.

Made from sugarcane, jaggery or unrefined cane sugar features heavily in cuisines and folk remedies from Asia, Latin America, Africa, and even the Caribbean. Ayurveda, in particular, uses jaggery quite often as a base in various syrups and formulations, as much for its nutritional benefits as for the earthy sweetness it brings.

Packed With Goodness

Jaggery is rich in a number of essential nutrients, making it a power-packed source of nutrition for malnourished or undernourished children and adults. The sweet brown sugar product 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 stimulation effects on your body.1

Use Jaggery As A Blood Purifier

Gur, as jaggery is called in India, is renowned as a blood purifier and a means to improve immunity in general. It is said to have the ability to cleanse the respiratory tract, esophagus, and lungs, as well as the stomach and intestines. Its fiber content helps ease constipation by aiding digestion.2 It is also said to help clear blood clots and is especially recommended for women after pregnancy. Foods incorporating jaggery are given to the new mother in the 40 days after childbirth to help flush out any clotted blood from the system.3

Relax Your Muscles And Strengthen Your Nerves

Jaggery contains magnesium which acts as a relaxant, easing weariness and fatigue in your muscles. It also helps make your nervous system more robust and helps with the upkeep of blood vessels.

In general, jaggery

intake can alleviate the tensions of daily life. It can even help with premenstrual syndrome symptoms by stimulating 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.4

If you have a migraine problem, jaggery can offer relief. Traditional recipes recommend jaggery mixed with ghee or clarified butter.5 One such remedy recommends 5 ml of ghee with 10 gm of jaggery, to be eaten early in the morning on an empty stomach and again at night before sleeping.

Leverage The Antioxidant Benefits

Jaggery is abundant in a number of antioxidants like selenium and magnesium, as well as vitamins with antioxidant benefits. This means consuming jaggery arms your body against free radical damage responsible for a host of problems from skin damage to certain

cancers. One study found that when combined with neem extracts, jaggery had the ability to reduce oxidative stress by inhibiting oxidizing chain reactions in the body.6

Steady That Blood Pressure

The sweet golden sugar also has the ability to regulate your blood pressure by acting against acetone and acids in the blood. The sodium and potassium content of jaggery ensures your body keeps the right balance of acids in its cells.7

Protect Against Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a precursor to cardiovascular disease. This buildup of plaque can limit oxygen flow in the body and bring on strokes or heart attacks. Jaggery has been found to cut down atherosclerosis, offering you protection against these bigger health risks.8

Prevent Anemia

Jaggery is typically prepared using iron vessels. As a result, the finished product too has a high quantity of iron absorbed from the containers. The intake of iron from jaggery can offset the deficiency that brings on anemia.9

Support Weight Loss

You can also reduce water retention by having jaggery instead of other sweeteners, because the potassium content helps cut down on the amount of water your body holds on to. It also gives you steady energy in the form of complex carbohydrates (unlike refined sugar which is released faster) and kicks up your metabolism a notch.10

Protect Your Lungs

Due to its anti-allergenic properties, jaggery can be useful for those with allergic asthma. It is even given to workers who spend long hours in workplaces with coal or smoke dust or other air pollutants. One

study on animal test subjects confirmed that jaggery is able to reduce smoke-induced lesions and enhance coal particle translocation to the tracheobronchial lymph nodes from the lungs. This protective effect of jaggery on the lungs is invaluable for those living or working in such pollutant-heavy conditions.11

Its medicinal application also includes use in treatments of lung infections, sore throats, and asthma. The Ayurveda Institute UK suggests these three alternative remedies for respiratory illnesses. If the phlegm produced is high, one remedy uses a combination of year-old jaggery and the ayurvedic herb haritaki or Terminalia chebula in equal quantities. This mix needs to be eaten first thing in the morning and also at bedtime. Alternatively, for a person who has aggravated kapha, ginger powder can be used along with an equal amount of jaggery. A third remedy is for those with allergy-induced bronchial asthma. First, fry 4–5 teaspoons of turmeric in a teaspoon of butter. Add jaggery to this

and use between 3 and 5 times a day in case an attack is acute.12