Ganpati Bappa loves it and you will find various dishes made using jaggery or gur during the auspicious time of Ganesh Chaturthi, be it puranpoli or modak. And why not! It has various health benefits for our bodies, is sweet and adds a distinct taste to the dishes it is used in.
Says Naini Setalvad, a renowned nutritionist and obesity consultant, ‘Jaggery is the closest substitute to white sugar and is healthy too. It can be used exactly like sugar as you get in powder, solid and liquid form. You can sweeten chikkis and other Indian sweets using it which make excellent dessert options. It can even be used in dals, vegetables and curries which need to be slightly sweetened.’
While some people prefer adding it to the dish itself, some prefer it as an accompaniment with their food – adding a dollop of ghee to powdered gurand eating it along with or after the meal.
What is it made of
Jaggery is essentially unrefined sugar. It is obtained from raw, concentrated sugar cane juice, by boiling it and then making it into a block. Other sources that are used for making gur include date palm and the sap of coconut.
Why is it good for you
Here are a few benefits of this wonderful golden-brown ingredient by Neha Chandna, a well-known nutritionist.
It is a great digestive aid and should be consumed post meals.
If you suffer from constipation then include jaggery in your meals as it relieves constipation by stimulating bowel movements.
Gur is an excellent source of iron and also helps prevent anaemia.
Not only is it a better tasting natural sweetener, it helps treat cough, bloating, water retention and migraine. You can add it in your tea instead of sugar to soothe your throat from cough.
Jaggery is also good for the liver as it helps in detoxifying it. If you’ve had too many drinks at a go, eat a bit of jaggery later but remember, it is not a solution to drink heavily, you still need to monitor your intake.
It is often called medicinal sugar – jaggery has a high mineral content which ensures that our body gets its intake of micronutrients.
Why you shouldn’t eat too much of it
Thought there aren’t any notable side-effects of consuming gur, it is slightly high on the number of calories – it contains 4 kcal/gram. So people who are on a weight loss diet or are diabetic should monitor their consumption as it can lead to weight gain and fluctuations in the blood sugar levels. It is best to consult your dietician as to how much is needed by your body.