The winter season is upon us, and so are the seasonal delicacies. From til ladoo in the North to ellu bella in the South, you might notice most popular traditional Indian sweets of the season contain gur or jaggery, especially palm jaggery. Apart from India, the sweet treat is popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and North Africa. Palmyra jaggery offers several health benefits. Let's first lift the veil off the enigmatic traditional sweetener fast gaining popularity.
What is Palm Jaggery?
Palm jaggery is also called palmyra jaggery, patali gur, khejur gur, and karupatti. It is a non-centrifugal sugar made from the sap of palm trees such as coconut, date, nipa, palmyra, and sugar palm trees. This lower-calorie natural sweetener has a rich brown colour and tastes like dark chocolate.
How is it made?
Sap collection: For coconut, nipa, palmyra, and sugar palm jaggery, the sap is collected from the inflorescence at the tree's crown. An inflorescence is a cluster of flowers arranged on one stem. A wound is made at the tip of the inflorescence from where the sap is tapped. The sap for date palm jaggery is collected early morning from the tree's bark. An incision is made in the bark, and a pot is tied underneath to collect the sap.
Filtration: The collected sap is filtered through a cloth or strainer into a large vessel.
Concentration: The filtered sap is boiled in the large iron vessel and stirred constantly. With the impurities skimmed off as they rise to the top, the process continues until the sap becomes viscous and looks like a paste. The process can take anywhere between 4–5 hours.
Cooling: The thick sap is poured into moulds and left to cool. In India, these moulds are traditionally clean coconut shells. Once cooled, the jaggery attains a consistency that resembles fudge.
Palm Jaggery Benefits for Health
Loaded with nutrients
Iron and magnesium are abundant in palm jaggery. Regular eating of iron-rich foods helps alleviate anaemia by raising haemoglobin levels. On the other hand, magnesium controls the neurological system. This natural sweetener's high antioxidant concentration aids in preventing free radical damage to bodily cells. It is equally abundant in phosphorus, potassium, and calcium.
Helps overcome fatigue
When tired, your body requires more than glucose. After a tiring day or a period of sickness, Drinking a glass of jaggery water made using natural palm jaggery powder in a full glass of water can help you feel rejuvenated. The energy it provides lasts longer than regular sugar because it infuses one with minerals and vitamins. Therefore, it not only replenishes energy levels but also helps regulate electrolytes in the body.
Helps with weight loss
This raw sweetener has less bloating and water retention due to its greater potassium content. As a result, this sweetener supports your weight loss efforts successfully. Of course, a balanced meal and an active lifestyle are also recommended for the best results.
Regular use of palm jaggery has been found to improve digestive health. The sweetener promotes regular bowel movements and system cleansing by triggering digestive enzymes.
Treats Cough and Cold
Symptoms of cough and cold are inflammatory responses from the immune system. Cold and cough are the most prevalent diseases that palm jaggery can aid. It aids in clearing the respiratory tract and relieves numerous symptoms when added to a warm cup of tea or water. Palm jaggery is rich in antioxidant phenolic compounds.
Palm Jaggery Benefits for Skin and Hair
The main reason why jaggery is good for your skin is that it contains glycolic acid, which helps to address skin irregularities and imperfections. It also makes the skin more flexible, which lessens ageing symptoms like wrinkles and fine lines. Glycolic acid works as a gentle exfoliant to encourage smooth, flawless skin.
Iron is abundant in jaggery, preventing hair loss. Iron aids in synthesizing haemoglobin, which improves blood flow to the scalp's roots and encourages hair growth while minimizing hair loss. When applied as a hair mask, the iron concentration in jaggery gives you strong and silky hair.
Palm Jaggery Uses
Embrace a healthier lifestyle by swapping refined sugar for the lower calorie and more nutritious khejur gur. We have listed a few palm jaggery uses that can help you maintain good health.
Palm jaggery is one of the best alternative option against refined sugar along with some other alternate jaggery and natural jaggery powder which are easily available in many grocery stores and also available at gourmet food online stores in India.
How to store palmyra jaggery?
Store palmyra jaggery in a dry and air-tight container at room temperature. Do not place the container in sunlight.
How much Jaggery can be consumed daily?
When consuming jaggery, it is important to note that moderation is key. Limit yourself to a tablespoon or two or 12–25 grams daily to make the most of it.