There has been a constant debate between jaggery and sugar for ages as to which one is beneficial to health. This article talks about the difference between jaggery and sugar and why jaggery is better than the latter. Read below to learn more.
Be it desserts or traditional sweets, sweeteners are essential in most sweet treats. Beyond sweet treats, savoury dishes also require some sweetener to complement the taste. The most common type of sweetener that is widely used in Indian households is sugar.
However, people mustn’t forget that although sugar is most commonly used, there are multiple sweeteners ranging from jaggery, maple syrup, honey, and others. But the debate between sugar and jaggery remains a constant one. If talking to a health-conscious person, he or she will always recommend switching sugar to jaggery. There have been major differences between sugar and jaggery, although both are sourced from sugarcane.
Jaggery Vs. Sugar
Sugarcane may not have first originated in India; however, sugar was first made in the country. The word ‘sakara’ made its first appearance in texts around 500 BCE. 'Khand', 'khandsari', or ‘sakara’ are various forms of sugar made in India and the English translation of these words features "sugar," which has appeared in India since ancient times. Sugar was made hundreds of years ago in India and is far from what is regarded as sugar in current times.
The process of making sugar involves heating sugarcane to high temperatures and processing it so much that it crystalises. Sugar is a white, translucent crystal made by processing and refining the impurities of sugarcane. The process of refining destroys the nutrients that were originally present in sugarcane. Jaggery, on the other hand, has a distinct, earthy, and slightly smoky taste and is the least processed form of sugarcane. It is obtained by boiling clarified sugarcane juice until a solid residue is left after evaporation.
According to the National Institutes of Health, sugar consists of sucrose, while jaggery consists of minerals and vitamins along with calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, folic acid, and others.
5 Reasons Why Jaggery Is Better Than Sugar
According to a popular article by WebMD, jaggery has a low glycemic index, which offers slow absorption and a steady release of energy. This not only aids in preventing sugar cravings but also supports stable blood sugar levels.
As per the National Institutes of Health, jaggery stimulates digestive enzymes, helps prevent constipation, and promotes a healthy digestive system. Eating a piece of jaggery after a meal can work wonders for digestion.
Jaggery functions as an antioxidant because of the presence of selenium, which has the ability to detoxify free radicals from our body, as per the National Institutes of Health. It shields the body from harmful free radicals and reduces oxidative stress.
The presence of calcium, phosphorous, and zinc in jaggery boosts immunity and promotes good health, according to the National Institutes of Health. It protects the body from the common cold, flu, and other viral infections.
Jaggery prevents respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis due to its natural cleansing properties, which help remove mucus and provide respiratory comfort.