Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jaggery Benefits

The health benefits of jaggery are many

The jaggery benefits tempt to use jaggery, also known as gur, bella, bellam, vellam, or sarkkara, to prepare sweet dishes.  It may not have the same taste as sugar, yet the jaggery health benefits might make you use this sweetener instead of sugar.  In any case, to prepare sweet cuisines like obbattu / bobbatlu and kajjaya / adhirasam / ariselu you should use jaggery.  The south Indian vegetarian dishes like puliyogare and sambar too have this sweetener as an ingredient.  Get to know the jaggery benefits and make it a key element to cook select dishes.

Brief Overview of Jaggery Health Benefits

  • Jaggery is rich in iron.  The amount of iron in every 100 grams of jaggery is about 11 milligrams.  How much iron does sugar contain?  It does not have any at all.
  • It is easy to digest jaggery.  The same is not true with sugar.  A research study has shown that sugar makes use of potassium and calcium from the body, and needs more heat, for digestion.
  • Jaggery can be a remedy for ailments like cough, constipation and indigestion.
  • One of the outstanding health benefits of jaggery is that it may reduce the risk of diabetes. 
  • Jaggery has reducing sugars like fructose and glucose.
  • Magnesium and potassium in jaggery are among its elements that help maintain good health.  While the first helps keep the nervous system in good shape, the second fights acids.
  • In the range of jaggery benefits, one that stands apart is its work as a blood purifier.
  • Jaggery, if consumed by workers who work in dusty or smoky environments, may work as a protective agent.

Where to buy Jaggery?

It is usually available in stores that sell items like grains and lentils.  In such stores, it is sold unpacked and you can buy in quantities you need, from a quarter-kilogram to kilograms.  In other bazaars, jaggery is generally sold in packs.

The two of the common shapes of jaggery are cubic and round.  Organic jaggery typically has a solid, syrup or powder form.  Jaggery color ranges from light to dark brown.

The taste of this sweetener varies from one type to another.

How is Jaggery Made?

One of the ways of making jaggery is by boiling sugarcane juice.

Foreign Particles in Jaggery

Because of some manufacturing methods of jaggery, it may contain foreign objects.  These include stones, sand and small twigs.  It is, therefore, necessary to remove any unwanted items in the jaggery before using it as an ingredient to prepare a dish.

How to Remove Foreign Particles from Jaggery?

First, boil jaggery you want to use in water till this sweetener dissolves.  The quantity of the water you have to use depends on the quantity of the jaggery and the amount of syrup you need to make a cuisine.

Next, strain the jaggery syrup slowly.  The big foreign objects, if any, will be left behind in the strainer.  Any sand particles or small stones will settle at the base of the utensil you use for boiling.

Sweet Dishes from Jaggery

Because of the jaggery health benefits, many, today, use this sweetener for sweet preparations. Some of the items you can make using jaggery are pongal, obbattu or bobattlu, kajjaya or athirasam, groundnut chikkis, wheat halwa and kozhukattai or kolukattai.

Here are the links to some of the recipes that uses jaggery:

Obbattu / bobattlu / puran poli

Kayi Holige

Ragi Halbhai

Kasa Kasa Payasam

Sweet Pongal



I have used the following sources as references for the Brief Overview of Jaggery Healthy Benefits section of this post:

Jaggery – A Traditional Indian Sweetner, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge,
Sugarcane in Therapeutics, Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology,
Enhanced translocation of particles from lungs by jaggery, Environmental Health Perspectives,

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