Jaggery, or gud as popularly known in India, is a natural sugar that is unrefined, nutritious, and full of essential vitamins and minerals.
Made from sugarcane, jaggery is a natural sweetener that won't hurt your health. It comes in three different forms: powdered, liquid, and solidified jaggery, and there are innumerable health benefits associated with it.
According to Ayurveda, the medicinal benefits of jaggery date back hundreds of years, and it is widely known for its Vata, pitta, and Kapha balancing capabilities.
Prakruti, or a person's innate constitution, is determined at the time of birth, due to which we inherit certain permanent and individualistic physical and emotional traits.
Your innate constitution decides who you are.
Many different constitutions exist, but for the sake of practicality, Ayurveda defines them into three major categories - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which roughly translates to "Air," "Fire," and "Earth," respectively. Understanding our constitution helps us take a positive step towards our health and understand the foods we should consume.
We can see that each dosha has different characteristics, and they exist in the body in certain proportions. If a dosha exists beyond its natural proportion, this imbalance acts as a breeding ground for disease in the body.
In Ayurveda, every form of treatment has efficacy. These treatments mainly are but are not limited to herbs, meals, drinks, surroundings, colors, fragrances, and lifestyle changes. These treatments, when combined, alleviate all sorts of dosha imbalances and make healthy living a dream come true.
Ayurvedic principles suggest that the food we consume is the most effective medicine we can give our body, so we mustn't ignore what we put in our system. Let's take a look at some of the most well-regarded benefits of jaggery and how we can use this superfood to solve our day-to-day health troubles.
Here are the top ten benefits of jaggery -
Jaggery is a powerful substance that easily converts acetic acid present in the food and should be consumed in small quantities daily to aid digestion. One of the top benefits of jaggery is that it acts as a digestive stimulant in the body and naturally stimulates digestion. According to Ayurveda, the accumulation of mala or toxins in the body is the root of all diseases, and constipation is a big sign that we must take note of. Many naturopaths also recommend consuming a little bit of jaggery with fennel seeds to reduce abdominal heaviness after meals.
Treats loss of Appetite
Ayurveda associates the loss of appetite with Agnimandya or weak digestive fire. Loss of appetite is common when dealing with an illness but is also caused by aggravated levels of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the body. When there is a loss of appetite, there is incomplete digestion of food in the body, which leads to weakness and fatigue. Jaggery helps enhance the Agni or digestive fire and improves the digestive enzymes and their activity in the body. Jaggery acts as a great digestive stimulant and should be consumed daily to treat loss of appetite.
When there is a lack of hemoglobin in the blood, the body experiences a condition called Anemia. In Anemia, the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood gets compromised. In Ayurveda, an imbalance in Pitta dosha causes Anemia and can lead to problems like prolonged weakness and fatigue. Jaggery greatly helps to reduce the symptoms of Anemia and can pacify an aggravated Pitta dosha. It aids the overall health of a person and cleanses the body of all toxins.
The benefits of jaggery are not just limited to aiding digestion and treating loss of appetite. Jaggery also stimulates the digestive enzymes in the body and works on regularizing bowel movements to help prevent and relieve constipation. Constipation causes difficulty in completely emptying bowels and could also lead to toxins in the body. A little piece of jaggery every day post-lunch can help improve digestion and prevent constipation.
Eases Menstrual Pain
It is common for women to experience discomfort around their abdomen and thighs during the onset of their menstrual cycle. As the cycle begins, the muscles of the womb contract and relax to prepare for the shedding of the period. Easing menstrual cramps is one of the many benefits of jaggery, as it is rich in many essential nutrients like iron and folate that prevent loss of hemoglobin.
Other nutrients like potassium and sodium treat menstrual cramps and prevent weakness. In addition to cramps, jaggery also helps combat PMS symptoms as it leads to the release of endorphins, thereby relaxing the whole body.
Aids in Weight Loss
Jaggery can surprisingly aid in weight loss despite being sweet in its constitution. Jaggery is rich in potassium that helps to balance electrolytes in the body. Balancing electrolytes leads to the building of muscles and also builds metabolism that is essential for weight loss. Jaggery also helps the body in managing water retention that helps get rid of those unwanted kilos.
Jaggery works on the inflammation present in the throat and has soothing effects on the throat's soft tissues. According to Ayurveda, jaggery produces warmth in the lungs and clears up the respiratory tract. It helps treat cough, asthma, and all kinds of breathing troubles, making it a great alternative to sugar for treating all kinds of health concerns. The benefits of jaggery also include the treatment of chronic cough.
Energises the Body
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and is known to get absorbed into the bloodstream quickly. This gives the body instant energy that crashes down even faster. On the other hand, jaggery is a complex carbohydrate that gets absorbed in the body gradually and energizes the body for a longer time. It also prevents weakness and fatigue in the body and does not raise blood sugar levels instantly. Apart from all its health benefits, jaggery is high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.
Detoxifies the Body
Our modern lifestyles and fast-paced lives are filled with toxins plaguing our bodies at an astonishing rate. With the menace of air pollution taking over our cities and towns, the cases of breathing disorders are growing every year. In such a scenario, consuming superfoods like jaggery is a must. Jaggery contains powerful anti-allergic properties and must be incorporated into our daily diet.
Its anti-carcinogenic quality is a highly effective remedy for all breathing-related disorders as it relaxes our respiratory muscles and clears the body of all kinds of toxins. The benefits of jaggery are endless, and consuming this superfood daily is a great way to detoxify the body naturally.
Provides Daily Dose of Minerals
Jaggery is an underrated superfood that holistically completes our body's mineral requirements. It is rich in fortifying minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, and zinc that naturally balance our body's acidity levels, reduce hypertension and production of free radicals in the body and protect our cells from getting damaged in the long run. Unlike sugar, jaggery is unrefined, and this helps to retain all of these micronutrients intact and helps nourish the body from within.
Authored By : Tanya Thukral
About Author : Tanya is an Ayurvedic doctor who has a deep interest in spreading the message of healing and restoration through the age-old systems of Ayurveda and Yoga.