Jaggery is a product of sugarcane with 50% sucrose, 20% invert sugars, and 20% moisture. Known as Gur in most of the languages in India, jaggery is one of the most popular sweeteners in India. Although sugar and jaggery are obtained from the same source of sugarcane, they vary in their properties as well as benefits.
The first stage of boiling the sugarcane juice remains the same for both the products. However, unlike sugar which undergoes a process of charcoal treatment and crystallisation, jaggery does not involve use of any chemical salts and thus retains all natural mineral salts. In case of jaggery, it is boiled till the time it turns into a thick paste and then poured into moulds to make blocks.
Sugar and Jaggery, both provide energy but they have an intrinsic difference. Sugar is in the simplest form of sucrose and is instantly absorbed by the blood to provide a burst of energy, which in the long run may prove harmful to certain internal organs.
Jaggery has a more complex structure than sugar.
- Made up of a longer chain of sucrose, it takes more time to digest and releases energy at a slower pace.
- The energy provided lasts for a longer period of time.
- Jaggery is prepared in iron vessels and thus the long period of boiling allows it to gather ferrous salt which is basically iron and considered good for health.
- The process of making jaggery allows it to retain a certain amount of mineral salt which makes it healthier.Benefits of
- Jaggery helps in speeding up the digestive process. It activates the digestive enzymes, stimulates bowel movements and thus prevents constipation.
- Jaggery boosts the immunity because of its anti-oxidant properties and the mineral salts present in them including zinc and selenium.
- The iron content in jaggery is beneficial towards increasing the haemoglobin levels in anaemic people.
- It helps in flushing out harmful toxins and thus is the best agent to cleanse the liver.
- Jaggery also gives relief from cough, cold and asthma.
- Jaggery acts like a blood purifier and helps in relaxing muscles, and blood vessels, allowing them to function better.
The age-old traditions followed in the culinary art in India did not include sugar. Gur or jaggery was the only sweetening agent. And it has been proven time and again that the age old traditions of India are based on science, and all of them beneficial to both the health and the environment. As we turn towards organic food for a healthier living, it is also time to switch from sugar to jaggery.