Friday, August 8, 2014

Jaggery Nutrition

It is far complex than sugar, as it is made up of longer chains of sucrose.It is simplest available forms of sucrose
It is digested slower than sugar and releases energy slowlyIt is instantly absorbed in blood and releases a burst of energy
It is rather a tastemaker and colour makerIt is just a sweetner
It contains iron, cacium, potassium, phoshorusIt is source of empty calories
Jaggery helps in calcium absorptionSugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium
Jaggery  is ecofriendlySugar industry pollutes air, water and soil.
Jaggery aids in digestion, as jaggery breaks and becomes alkaline in the digestive system.    
span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">Sugar becomes acidic.
We have many forms of sugar, of which the most common type is available as refined, white and granular sugar. Unfortunately, it is linked with several lifestyle illnesses, including obesity, diabetes, dental cavities and heart problems. Thus, with the raising health concerns of using regular sugar in daily diet, nutrition experts are busy with searching alternative forms of sweetener that pose lesser health risks. And one such sweetening product is jaggery, sold as golden brown or dark brown, solid molasses. Information on jaggery nutrition facts is discussed in the upcoming paragraphs.

Jaggery Nutritional Information
Jaggery has been used as a sweetening agent in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. This somewhat natural form of sugar is known by varied names in different regions. It is derived from sugarcane, sugar palm and other plant sources, which contain high percentage of sucrose, glucose and fructose. But, as we all know, white sugar is also a product of sugarcane. So, what is so special about jaggery that is not in white sugar? The uniqueness of jaggery lies in the making process. It is prepared by boiling sugarcane pulp without undergoing processing steps. 
Jaggery, also known as gur, has a mineral content of approximately 60 times that of refined white sugar. One teaspoon of jaggery contains approximately 4-5 mg calcium, 2-3 mg phosphorus, 8 mg magnesium, 48 mg potassium, 0.5 mg iron, as well as trace amounts of zinc, copper, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. The corresponding values for white sugar are all essentially zero.  

Since jaggery contains high amounts of sugar, glucose and fructose, the calorie count of this sweetening agent is high. Serving 1 teaspoon (4 g) of jaggery yields 12.32 kcal. In other words, including 100 g of jaggery in the diet is equivalent to providing 308 kcal. Accordingly, you can adjust the serving quantity of other calorie loaded foods.

Sugar Content
Well-made jaggery contains approximately 50 percent sucrose and 20 percent of glucose and fructose (invert sugar), which altogether comes to about 3.08 g sugar. Of the remaining components, moisture contributes to about 20 percent volume. The rest constituents include proteins, mineral, vitamins, wood ash, bagasse and other insoluble particles.

Refer to the list of potassium rich foods, you will surely come across jaggery. As per researches conducted on jaggery nutrition, it is found that serving a teaspoon of this unrefined sugar is sufficient to give 45 mg of potassium. This high potassium and low sodium food is a healthy choice for people with hypertension and heart problems.

Requiring in trace amount, selenium is crucial for normal functioning of the immune system. Together with manganese, it counteracts the harmful free radicals in the body, thus functioning as powerful antioxidants. Not all nutritious foods are superior enough to serve as a selenium source. Fortunately, jaggery is one such food products that contain selenium.

Magnesium is present in it in moderate amounts. Serving one teaspoon of this non-centrifuged sugar form is beneficial for providing 8 mg of magnesium. Thus, incorporating jaggery in the daily diet is helpful in increasing stamina level, strengthening muscles and blood vessels.

A serving size of 1 teaspoon jaggery is useful for yielding 4-5 mg calcium. The calcium content is found to be higher in coconut palm jaggery. As we all are aware, calcium is crucial for strengthening bones and teeth.

Other Nutrients
The total mineral content of jaggery is 5 times higher than brown sugar and 50 times more than that of regular sugar. A food rich in iron, it is a healthy nutrition choice for anemic patients. Other nutrients found in jaggery are riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, zinc, chromium and copper. The plus points with consumption of jaggery are low-fat and low sodium content.

With reference to jaggery benefits in maintaining optimal health, it is also referred to as medicinal sugar. Including this in the regular diet is a simple way to provide energy, essential vitamins and minerals in their natural form. You can use it as a sweetener in recipes that call for refined sugar. And to get the same sweetness, jaggery amount should be higher than the required sugar.

In a nutshell, the richness of jaggery is evident from the fact that, it is used for replacing refined white sugar for diabetic patientsHowever, as with any sweetening agent, the consumption amount should be monitored stringently. It should be used in moderate amounts, and high consumption is associated with increased sugar levels in the bloodstream.
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