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Jaggery or gur has been known for its benefits in Indian households for ages. I have seen it being used in homes and highly recommended in specially winter months for the whole family. Be it kids, or young people or elderly people in the family all can derive immense benefit from it. I personally call it a super food at my home.
Jagerry is basically an unrefined sugar made from heating and boiling raw sugarcane juice till it is solidified and a dark maroon mass is converted into blocks called gur and is easily available in market. It is recommended highly in winters as it is the sugarcane harvest season in India and fresh jaggery is available. I am going to list the health benefits it has:
1) Good for digestive system- Jaggery is considered good for digestive system as it aids release of digestive enzymes in the body. It helps treat constipation and is recommended to take after a meal as helps digest food well. It keeps the stomach cool and reduces acidity.
2) Detoxification- Jaggery is known to have detoxification properties and cleans the liver by flushing out nasty toxins.
3) Prevents Early Aeging- Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like Zinc and selenium which prevents free radicals responsible for early aeging.
4) Immunity Booster - It has immunity boosting properties which specially in winters help kids and adults fight respiratory problems like asthama, bronchitis etc. It also is known to keep the body warm and helps treat and prevent cough and cold. It is suggested to be added in tea, kada and also mixed with warm water and consumed.
5) Combats PMS - It helps reduce pre menstrual syndrome. If taken prior to the periods date and even a small bite in periods, it helps release endorphins which help reduce mood swings, cramps and abdominal pain.
6) Increases Hemoglobin - People suffering from anaemia are suggested to take jaggery and products made from it like chikki etc or sweets made by it to increase haemoglobin.
7) Weight Reduction - Elder people vouch for weight reduction properties of Jaggery. It has lot of potassium which helps maintain electrolyte balance, builds muscles and boosts metabolism which reduces water retention in body and helps in weight loss. I had lost around 12 Kgs of post pregnancy weight by consuming a mixture made out of Jaggery, carrom seeds, cummin seeds, a little ghee, aestophaedia and fennel seeds. If someone wants I can share the recepie.
8) Controls BP - Jaggery is known to be rich in minerals like potassium and sodium which helps control the blood pressure in the body.
9) Relieves Joint Pains - Jaggery is also known to relieve joint pains and help people affected by arthritis and if taken with some ginger even helps better to give relief from aches.
10) Natural Sweetener - Jaggery is an unrefined natural sugar and is considered as better than white refined sugar as it provides energy for an extended period of time. A piece of jaggery after meal usually helps in reducing cravings for a high calorie dessert and satisfies a sweet tooth. Replacing sugar with jaggery in many dishes like a halwa or dalia etc increase thier health factor.
Jaggery according to me is a super food for winter and everyone in the family from kids to elderly people should consume it in some way or the other but its amount has to be moderated. It releases 4Kcal/gram and people who are diabetic and on diet must consume it with doctors advise and in moderation.
These benefits and uses are recommended personally by me and please take into account any allergies before consumption. One can take medical advice also.
References: food.ndtv.com, www.stylecraze.com