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Jaggery, a plethora of nutrients!

Jaggery, a plethora of nutrients!
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Jaggery, A Plethora Of Nutrients! Jaggery is a traditional product from sugarcane, which was first used in 1631 and which is made in a natural way.

Jaggery’s nutritional benefits are mainly in the minerals. It is extremely high in potassium, which lowers your blood pressure and it also reduces the risk of forming gall stones

Jaggery is a traditional product from sugarcane, which was first used in 1631 and which is made in a natural way. According to Ayurveda, jaggery is as a healthy sweetener and is useful in combating various health related problems. It can vary from golden brown to dark brown in colour.

Maharashtra is the largest in India in production as well as consumption of jaggery. Most of the dishes, curries and dal contains it. It is specially used during Makar Sankranti for making til gud by Maharashtrian, tal na laddoo and tal sankal, gol-dhana by the gujarathis and gur ke chawal is a traditional Rajasthani dish. In Gujarat laddoos are usually made from wheat flour and jaggery.

A well known Maharashtrian sweet dish is puran poli which also contains jaggery as a sweetener in it. Water and a piece of jaggery is given to the guest arrived at home after coming from work in the rural parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Instead of a spoonful of sugar in your tea, simply add a spoonful of jaggery powder. This is an excellent, nutritious replacement which even adds a yummy flavour to your tea.

Jaggery contains a plethora of nutrients! Its nutritional benefits are mainly in the minerals. It is extremely high in potassium, which lowers your blood pressure and it also reduces the risk of forming gall stones. Jaggery is rich in calcium too, which is great for the bones and children’s growth.

It is widely touted as a source of iron. Jaggery does, indeed, contain iron but not as much as it does calcium or potassium. Nonetheless, it is a better bet than white sugar for those battling anemia. Te magnesium content is also good for the mood and one’s sleep cycle.

All over India, jaggery has religious significance to Hindus. Many festivals involve the offering to deities during their worship. It is eaten raw in before doing any kind of good work, some important meeting, or after some good news. It is also consumed with the green tea. It is also referred as Burmese chocolate.

Jaggery is mixed with peanuts, condensed milk, coconut and white sugar. Jaggery is usually made of sugarcane as well as date palm tree. The coconut palm is also tapped for producing jaggery in west Bengal, South India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The kithul (caryota urens) trees which are widely used for jaggery production in Sri Lanka. It is known as gur in India and as panela in Mexico and South America. It is also known as gud mandi which is used as an ingredient in both sweets and savor dish in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Jaggery is used in almost all Indian staple foods.

(The writer is a Mumbai-based nutritionist, obesity and health consultant)


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