Is Jaggery (Gur) healthy?
Jaggery is an unrefined sugar mainly made from sugarcane or date palm. ‘Sucrose’ is the sweetening agent of jaggery. It’s considered as one of the top winter foods, just for the fact that it generates heat in the body.
Health Benefits of Jaggery
Jaggery has some minerals and a few health benefits to its credits.
1. Filled with Iron
Jaggery, like beaten rice (poha), is recognized for being made in an iron vessel and thus provides about 1 mg iron from ¼ cup. Iron is the key nutrient for making up your hemoglobin count and supplying oxygen and nutrients to all organs of our body.
2. Fair Source of Other Minerals
Calcium and phosphorus are the other 2 minerals jaggery is a fairly good source of. These 2 work hand-in-hand to build strong bones and teeth.
3. Other Benefits
Well, a few other benefits of jaggery listed are improved skin health, prevents respiratory ailments, relieves joint pain, supports liver health, improves digestion and so on… However more research in these fields is yet to confirm these benefits.
So Is Jaggery Healthy?
When compared to sugar, which provides only empty calories, jaggery is considered to be a superior natural sweetener. Sugar is definitely one of the causes of many chronic diseases, but jaggery too needs to be consumed in moderate amounts. Despite its nutrient profile, it is yet a type of sugar. Also remember that to benefit from its nutrient profile, you need to eat a meaningful quantity of jaggery, which is not really advocated. What you would consume is just about a tbsp (18 g) or a tsp (6 g). While those with heart diseases and weight loss can have a dessert made with this quantity of jaggery occasionally as an option to refined sugar, but diabetics need to avoid this sweetener too as it can spike blood sugar levels instantly.
Consumption of too much jaggery may have adverse health effects. You may get some nutrients but along with lot of calories and no fiber. Though astounding it may sound, but it would be wiser to get these nutrients from other food sources and use jaggery sparingly.
Nutritive Information of Jaggery:
¼ cup of chopped jaggery is about 38 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy - 145 calories
Protein – 0.1 g
Carbohydrate – 36.1 g
Fat – 0 g
Fiber – 0 g
See full nutritional details of Jaggery, Jaggery glossary