My earliest memory of winter in Delhi, and perhaps my favourite, dates back to when I was maybe four years old. My mom had asked me to call my brother to the dinner table where laid a plate of Makki ki Roti, gur and a generous dollop of ghee. I remember thinking I would take just one small bite. Needless to say, I never made it to my brother's room... And a few minutes later, he found me polishing off his dinner, and not at all sorry for doing so. Who could blame me? The flavour of gur is just so heavenly. Another of my favourites is my nani's timeless Gur ki Roti loaded with ghee and saunf. To this day, the rustic earthy scent rewinds the clock and takes me back to my playful childhood days. Jaggery i.e. "Gur" in Hindi is also known as 'Bellam' in Telugu, 'Vellam' in Tamil, 'Sharkara' in Malayalam, 'Bella' in Kannada, and 'Gul' in Marathi. It is basically unrefined sugar which is obtained from raw, concentrated sugarcane juice. Although gur can be made from other sources, namely from date palm (nolen gur) and the sap of coconut, the one made from sugarcane juice is the most commonly used. It is prepared by boiling sugar cane juice till it solidifies and then put into blocks.
Jaggery benefits: It is prepared by boiling sugar cane juice till it solidifies and then put into blocksAs I type (and my mouth drools), I can't help but wonder why my grandparents used to eat jaggery post lunch and dinner every winter. Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Sukhda Hospital, says "It is best consumed during the winter months because winter is the season of fresh jaggery. Since it is rich in many vital vitamins and minerals, jaggery boosts immunity, keeps the body warm, helps treat cold and cough and controls the temperature of the body. This natural sweetener has been a great go-to ingredient in India since time immemorial."
Here are 15 jaggery benefits everyone should know -
1. Prevents constipation: Jaggery activates the digestive enzymes in the body, stimulates bowel movements and thus helps prevent and relieve constipation. Constipation is a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened faeces.It also acts as a diuretic that can help stimulate bowel movement. A small piece of jaggery after lunch could kick-start digestion, which is key to good overall health. 2. Detoxes the liver: Jaggery is a natural body cleanser, further reducing the workload of the liver. Jaggery helps cleanse the liver by flushing out harmful toxins from the body, which further helps detoxify the liver. So if you want to effectively detox your body, bite into a piece of jaggery.
3. Treats flu-like symptoms: Fight symptoms of a cold and cough with the help of gur. All you need to do is mix it with warm water and drink up, or even add it in your tea instead of sugar to reap the benefits. Jaggery produces heat in the body, which is why generally people consume it in winters. The warming effect in jaggery makes it an amazing sweet that can treat cold and flu. 4. Blood purifier: One of the most well-known benefits of jaggery is its ability to purify the blood. When consumed on a regular basis and in limited quantities, it cleanses the blood, leaving your body healthy. Clean blood will mean a healthier body and will ensure that it is free from any disease. 5. Boosts immunity: Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium, which in turn help prevent free-radical damage and also boost resistance against infections. Jaggery also helps increase the total count of haemoglobin in the blood.
Jaggery benefits: Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium6. Cleanses the body: Jaggery is one of the best natural cleansing agents for the body, hence it is advised to eat jaggery to remove unwanted particles from the body. It efficiently cleans the respiratory tract, lungs, intestines, stomach and food pipe. Eating jaggery is highly recommended for people working in heavily polluted areas such as factories or coal mines.7. Eases menstrual pain: Jaggery, due to its richness in many essential nutrients, is an effective natural treatment for menstrual problems, especially providing relief from cramps. In case you experience sudden mood swings just before your period, you should eat a small piece of jaggery daily to combat symptoms of PMS since it leads the release of endorphins. These endorphins relax your body, thereby preventing premenstrual syndrome (PMS).