Sugar is one of the common sweetener used majorly across the world, but it is not so sweet for your health. Other alternative is jaggery. Although both sugar and jaggery are obtained from same source that is sugarcane, but actually they are much different in their composition, properties and health benefits. So lets first discuss the differences between sugar and jaggery.
How they differ in color?
Sugar and jaggery are completely different in color.
Sugar typically has a white color. On the other hand,
Jaggery shows some true range of colors, ranging from golden yellow to golden brown, then brown, dark brown just like dark chocolate . Its color depends on extent to which it is heated.
How they differ in texture?
Sugar and jaggery vary greatly in texture as well. Sugar is solid, hard and crystalline. On the other hand, Jaggery is semi-solid, a bit softer than sugar and it is amorphous.
How they are processed?
Both sugar and jaggery are manufactured from sugar cane and first stage is same for both.In the first stage, sugar cane juice is boiled to get a condensed liquid. After that there is different process for sugar and jaggery.
Sugar: After boiling, the syrup is treated with charcoal (mostly bone charcoal) to absorb unwanted particles to give a clear and transparent solution. This solution is then condensed and crystallized to form sugar.
Jaggery: For jaggery, there is neither any charcoal treatment nor any crystallization. The original syrup is boiled continuously till the point it becomes a thick paste. Then this thick paste is poured into mold to give the shape of the block.
How they differ in Composition?
Both Jaggery and Sugar are primarily made up of sucrose, but there are very basic differences.
Sugar contain Only sucrose. Jaggery contains predominantly sucrose (C12H22O12) plus traces of mineral salts, iron and some fiber.
How they differ in health benefits?
Both sugar and jaggery are meant to provide energy to the body since their main element is sucrose. But how they release energy makes all the difference. Sugar being one of the simplest available forms of sucrose, when consumed, is instantly absorbed in the blood and releases a burst of energy. This may be harmful for some internal organs such as the eyes, kidneys and brain, particularly for patients with diabetes. Sugar solution is considered cold in nature.
So it is not recommended to consume sugar when someone has cold. Also it is said that one spoon of sugar inactivates the immune system for upto 4 hours. So thick twice before you consume sugar. Jaggery on the other hand has a far more complex structure than sugar, since it is made up of longer chains of sucrose. Hence, it has the ability to be digested slower than sugar and hence releases energy slowly and not instantaneously. So the good thing is that it provides energy for a longer time and the slow process of energy release is not harmful for the body. But yes, this does not certify it to be fit for the consumption by diabetics, because it is still sugar.
Jaggery also gathers a considerable amount of ferrous salts (iron) during its preparation. This iron is also good for those who are anemic or lack iron. Jaggery also contains traces of mineral salts that are very beneficial for the body. These salts come from the sugar cane juice where it is absorbed from the soil. Jaggery is very good as a cleansing or detoxification agent.
It cleanses the lungs, stomach, intestines and respiratory tracts. Those who stay in highly polluted environment and face dust in their day to day life are recommended to take a daily dose of jaggery especially after food. This can keep them safe from asthma, cough, cold, and congestion in chest. Consuming jaggery after food will aids the digestion
Now you are fully aware how good is jaggery and why you need to switch to an alternative option for sugar. Jaggery is the closest substitute to white sugar and that too with lots of health benefits. It can be used exactly like sugar as it is available in powder, solid and liquid form.
Here is the summary of health benefits of jaggery that will make you to think, Why you should replace sugar with Jaggery today?
1) Jaggery is good in digestion, thus prevent constipation.
It activates the digestive enzymes and thus helps in proper digestion of food.That is why it is recommended to eat a dose of jaggery after meal.
2) Jaggery is good for anemic people
As stated above, jaggery is a good source of iron and mineral that play an important role in the production of hemoglobin. Thus incorporating jarrery into your daily food will fulfill your daily need of iron and hence preveting the chances of being anemic.
3) Being a Cleansing agent
Jagery detoxifies the body. Eating a small piece of jaggery detoxify the liver by flushing out toxins from the body. Eat a small piece of jaggery daily to detoxify your body. Read – 7 health benefits of Honey
4) Good in Cough and Cold
Jaggery is considered warm in nature. So it is considered good in common cold, cough and flu. All you have to do it to mix some jaggery in warm water and drink it or simply add to your ginger tea at the place of sugar and you will aobserb good changes in your health. Read More – How to prepare ginger tea?
5) Enhances immunity
Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium, that helps prevent free-radical damage and also boost defence against infections.
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What about Jaggery consumption?
Although jaggery is not as widely famous and used as sugar, it is still very popular in North India and consumed widely.It is used in curries, soups, puffed rice, pea nuts, cashew nuts, almonds, wheat, gram flour snacks that are prepared with jaggery. These sweets and snacks are widely used during winter, as they provide nutrition and warmth to fight cold and chilly weather. These are really mouth watering. These can be prepared at home and available in the market as packed food too. Jaggery is still added as sweetener in tea and milk in some villages in India.
Now lets check out, how easy is it to replace sugar with jaggery?
Lets check out jaggery’s availability. Sugar, you said it and you have it, Its available in abundance. In every super market, every small corner side shop, every hotel. Even if you look out in your home, I am sure you can easily get atleast 1-2 kg of it anytime. And when you go to buy out in a supermarket. You will atleast get 7-8 brands of sugar. On the other hand, jaggery, first thing it is not available in every store. And if you find it somewhere, there is only one brand available or mostly unpacked one.
Lets find out why so difference is there in the availability?
There are big players involved in sugar manufacturing. They produce it under big brand name and in bulk. Hence sugar is easily available. On the other hand, jaggery depends upon local players. Its production is done on a small scale and that to mostly in villages.So poor jaggery needs some marketing to become a household thing. So that is why I thought why not to write an article to make my readers aware of the benefits of Jaggery….
Over to you
If you have not tasted jaggery yet. What are you waiting for. I bet you will find it more sweet than sugar and that too with many health benefits. Looking forward to hear your feedback in the comments below.