Is jaggery healthier than sugar? Here's what you should know

Nitya - Article image  - 1
Jaggery possesses a lower glycemic index compared with sugar. Photo: iStock/mescoioglu/Vinayak Jagtap

A traditional form of cane sugar processed into a dark brown form, jaggery is widely consumed in Asia and South America. It is used as a sweetener in various desserts, beverages, dishes and more. Its distinct, earthy and slightly smoky taste and health benefits make it a popular form of sugar used in our households. Here's why health experts say jaggery is a storehouse of nutrients. Also, note that like any sweetener, it is supposed to be consumed in moderation:

• Low glycemic index
Jaggery possesses a lower glycemic index compared with sugar. Its consumption will lead to a gradual increase in blood sugar levels. This makes it a healthier choice for diabetics and those aiming to control their blood sugar levels.
• Source of iron
Iron deficiency, particularly prevalent in women, can be addressed by incorporating jaggery into the diet. Jaggery serves as a natural source of iron, aiding in the prevention of anaemia and contributing to the improvement of haemoglobin levels through its regular consumption.

• Aids digestion
Jaggery is beneficial for individuals with digestive issues, as it helps prevent constipation by enhancing bowel movements. The fibre content in jaggery supports a healthy digestive system.
• Respiratory health
Jaggery proves effective in alleviating respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Combining jaggery with ginger or sesame seeds can provide relief and enhance lung health.

• Liver detoxification
Jaggery contributes to liver health by detoxifying the organ and eliminating toxins from the body. Its cleansing properties promote overall liver health.
• Antioxidants content
The antioxidants present in jaggery combat oxidative stress, reducing the risk of serious diseases by scavenging free radicals. This also contributes to improved cell health.

• Immunity boost
Regular consumption of jaggery, rich in vitamins and minerals, can boost immunity and help prevent diseases and infections.
• Menstrual health
Jaggery helps to reduce menstrual fatigue and exhaustion, providing relief from menstrual discomfort. Its ability to maintain hormonal balance contributes to improved menstrual health.

Jaggery is used as a sweetener in many traditional dishes in Kerala. Photo: iStock/Avadhesh Maurya

• Energizing
As a natural source of carbohydrates, jaggery serves as a quick energy booster for individuals engaging in physical activities, enhancing energy levels.
• Nutrients
Jaggery retains the molasses and crystals from sugarcane juice, thus not losing iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins. These nutrients promote healing, improve circulation, and contribute to overall bone health.

Why is it better than sugar?
Jaggery has iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins, which are often lost during the refining process of sugar. It also has a lower glycemic index compared to refined sugar, which means they have a smaller impact on blood sugar levels, providing a more sustained release of energy. Its production also does not involve the use of chemicals and additives that are sometimes used in the refining of sugar. Regardless, it's better to consume it in moderation being a sweetener. 
(Courtesy: Arogyam)

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.