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 the daily diet, nutrition experts are searching for alternative forms of sweeteners that pose lesser health risks. Of these, one such sweetening product is jaggery, sold as golden brown or dark brown, solid molasses.
Information on jaggery nutrition facts is discussed in the following section of this Buzzle article.
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 the processing steps.
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.
Well-made jaggery contains approximately 50 percent sucrose and 20 percent 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 of the constituents include proteins, mineral, vitamins, wood ash, bagasse, and other insoluble particles.
As per researches conducted on jaggery nutrition, it is found that serving a teaspoon of this unrefined sugar is sufficient to provide 45 mg of potassium. This high potassium and low sodium food is a healthy choice for people with hypertension and heart problems.
Required 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 product that contains selenium.
Magnesium is present in jaggery 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 levels, and 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. Calcium, as we know, is crucial for strengthening bones and teeth.
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. In order to achieve the same sweetness, the 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 patients. However, as with any sweetening agent, the consumption amount should be monitored stringently. It should be used in moderate amounts because high consumption is associated with increased sugar levels in the bloodstream.