When it comes to diabetes management, reducing sugar intake is definitely the priority for every diabetic person. Diabetes requires life-long medication along with a rightful diet for strict monitoring of blood sugar levels.
Ever wondered what factors led to such a broad prevalence of this disease. The cause lie hidden in our own lifestyle – the food we eat, the habits we inculcate, the measures we take, and so on. Our diet contains the majority of carbohydrates with much low quantities of proteins and fibers. Now, this is something that tremendously favors diabetes-related crisis to occur.
India is the largest producer as well as consumer of rice all over the world. Our staple diet, that is, rice is itself higher in terms of glycemic index then how we can be so ignoring towards our blood glucose levels.
Each and every food comes with its own nutritional properties. Some of the properties fairly favor diabetic health while others might deteriorate it. For instance, a particular food may come loaded with abundant health benefits for various ailments but still can be unfit for diabetes.
Amidst many confusion that occurs regarding the preference of perfect food choice for diabetes, one such arises with Jaggery too. Is Jaggery good for diabetes? Why or why not? Is it as bad as table sugar or somewhere more worthwhile than it?
The queries are many but the answers can be unveiled by analyzing the nutritional profile of Jaggery. This article is all about making you familiar with the exact health impacts of Jaggery, also speculating its role during diabetes.
Nutritional composition of Jaggery
To conclude the health benefits of any food, we need to emphasize its nutritional data. Apart from carbohydrates, Jaggery is also loaded with multiple minerals crucial for several body functions. Some amount of vitamins are also present, particularly vitamin B6 and folates.
Below is the synopsis of nutritional evaluation of jaggery per 10 gram;
- Calories – 38g
- Carbohydrates – 9.8g
- Proteins – 0.01g
- Water – 0.4g
- Niacin – 0.011g
- Vitamin B6 – 0.004mg
- Folates – 0.1mg
- Calcium – 8mg
- Iron – 0.3mg
- Magnesium – 16 mg
- Phosphorus –
- Potassium – 13mg
- Sodium – 3mg
- Manganese – 0.01mg
- Selenium – 0.12mcg
After the thorough analysis of nutritional information, researchers have listed some prominent efficacies of jaggery for better health.
How Is Jaggery Produced
Before pondering over the health-related influences of jaggery, we must get an insight into the process of jaggery production.
Jaggery is most commonly made from sugarcane sap. India is the largest producer of Jaggery in the world accounting for 70% of the total production across the globe. There are four basic steps involved in the manufacture of jaggery from sugarcane in large-scale factories;
1. Extraction –
Firstly, sugarcane is crushed between the rollers of the machine to obtain a substantial amount of juice.
2. Clarification –
Next, this freshly extracted juice is allowed to stand in large shallow vessels so that sediments are settled at the bottom leaving behind the clear liquid which is further filtered to get more clear and purified juice.
3. Concentration –
The clear juice is now placed in massive containers with a flat base. The juice is boiled for a couple of hours with constant stirring. This allows impurities to skim off leaving the yellow thickened mass in the containers.
4. Final –
finally, thickened mass or paste is transported to huge molds in which it is allowed to be cooled till it gets hardened forming a dark brown solid which is supplied to markets worldwide. The final product can be light brown sometimes pertaining to the quality of juice or a variety of harvested sugarcane.
Date palm jaggery
Jaggery made from date palm is also equally effective and sweet as the one made from sugarcane. For this, a freshly concentrated sap is tossed from a date palm tree in the early morning hours. This tree sap is laden with many health enriching vitamins and minerals.
How Is Jaggery better than Sugar
Even though the production of jaggery is subjected to intense boiling for a quite long time, yet it is enfolded with numerous minerals and some vitamins yielding countless benefits for health.
The residual molasses left in those large containers are poured into molds while the remaining sugar is further processed, crushed, ground into finer particles and crystallized to get a finishing spec. Certain other chemicals are added to make it more edible.
It is due to this further processing which sugar is made to go through, it loses all the healthy characteristics and does no good to the body except for providing lots of calories.
Jaggery As A Nourishing Wholesome Food
Jaggery, commonly called ‘gur’ in the Hindi language is a traditional sweetener and food supplement in Asian countries. From heartwarming gur ki roti to delightful gur halwa, every delicacy made with this nutritious Jaggery is just mouth-watering.
How can we forget famous Til Laddoo made in Indian households during the Lohri festival specifically in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. ‘Til’ here refers to sesame seeds which when mixed with dry fruits and jaggery make a tongue melting recipe one would crave for, restlessly to eat. Nevertheless, jaggery or ‘gur’ can be eaten raw as such.
Our ancestors knew the unparalleled benefits of eating jaggery during winters for long times. It aids in keeping the body warm. For the same reason, many people prefer adding jaggery in place of sugar while making tea during winters to save themselves from the strikes of chilling cold weather.
Health Benefits Of Jaggery
This wonderful naturally made sweetener offers multifarious health privileges. Despite undergoing through the boiling process for long hours, it tends to retain all the essential nutrients to a pretty appreciable extent.
Antioxidants present in it detoxifies the liver and boost up the immunity. Blood purification is another extended perk we receive. Being rich in iron, it enhances hemoglobin levels of our blood, thereby preventing anemia and other such diseases linked with iron deficiency.
It is the best natural medicine for winters to curb the problem of flu and cold. Zinc and Selenium help the body to fight infections. Surprisingly, jaggery is known to control body weight due to an apparent amount of potassium which is responsible for maintaining the electrolytic balance of the body and also reduces water retention in body cells.
It is a good source of energy for people who had recently recovered from a disease or encountered an accident. Properties like prevention of fatigue, weakness, and pain as well as increased metabolic efficiency are also exhibited.
Women must consume it during periods as it significantly reduces pain and menstrual cramps. In the case of irregular bowel movement, the condition termed as constipation, jaggery consumption is recommended. It leads to the activation of certain necessary digestive enzymes and being diuretic, it assists the regulation of water levels in the body.
It further aids digestion and relieves oxidative stress. Ayurvedic has unleashed and applied the intricate potential of Jaggery in the treatment of lung infections, sores, and bad throat, asthma, and migraines. It is also a good choice for people having high blood pressure as both key minerals – sodium and potassium, which influence blood pressure to enormous range are found in jaggery.
Some Disadvantages Of Eating Jaggery
Everything had two sides – a positive one and a negative one. Similarly, jaggery also brings undesired results when consumed excessively or under inappropriate health conditions. Eating a lot of jaggery is linked to weight gain and obesity.
This is contrary to the former fact that jaggery can result in weight loss. If taken in a considerable amount, it helps to keep the body weight under check. But as we know, going beyond the limits is always disastrous. The outcomes can be another way also.
Obviously, jaggery is mainly carbohydrate and contains plentiful calories which may lead to weight gain. In summers, eating jaggery can result in unusual nasal bleeding. This is probably due to the extreme heat generated in the body.
People with rheumatoid arthritis should strictly avoid taking jaggery in any form. It increases swelling even more under such conditions. Jaggery is completely the worst food to eat in case of ulcerative colitis. This disease affects bowel movement and causes infection of the digestive tract.
The large intestine is badly affected, particularly, colon and rectum. Jaggery consumption during this time can invoke the risk of developing colon cancer. The reasons for this are not so apparent.
Is Jaggery A Good Choice For Diabetes
There is a common misconception among diabetic people that jaggery can be safely replaced with table sugar. However, this is completely a wrong assertion. In spite of the fact that jaggery is more nutritious than sugar, it still fails to become a healthy choice for diabetes. The reason being that jaggery is also a food with a high glycemic index, having the same amount of carbohydrates as that of table sugar.
The jaggery contains about 65-75% sucrose and affects the physiological functions of the body in the same way as table sugar does. Continuous involvement of jaggery in a diet for a prolonged time can increase the risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Even jaggery is rapidly absorbed and released into the bloodstream causing blood sugar spikes.
Therefore, jaggery is strongly prohibited to induce in your diabetic diet. You can definitely use jaggery as a sugar substitute if you are not suffering from diabetes or you are not at the risk of developing diabetes. But in case of ongoing diabetes, it is no less than a toxin. All other health benefits will fade way in front of those elevated blood sugar levels.
Some Safe Alternatives For Table Sugar
Don’t worry if you are diabetic and often have a craving for tasting sweet dishes. There are some reliable sweeteners that you can securely add to your meals.
Raw Organic Honey
Organic honey is indeed a very good sugar substitute for diabetes as it is nurtured with goodness of iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, vitamins along with fewer calories. All this makes it desirable for the consumption by diabetic people.
You can satiate your craving by turning in to coconut sugar instead of table sugar. This has a low glycemic index and contains powerful antioxidants as a bonus benefit.
It is a common household spice found in almost every kitchen of India. It time to unlock its true latency and fight diabetes in a healthy way. Cinnamon can apparently bring down blood sugar levels and ensure long term control over the same.
Natural sweetening agents
Natural sweeteners like Stevia are really a blessing for diabetic people. Extracted from the plant, Stevia rebaudiana, this sweetening agent is 30 times sweeter than sugar but with no carbohydrates and zero calories. Besides, it regulates blood pressure and exemplifies anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Artificial sweetening agents
Although, natural sweeteners are mostly given the first preference some safe widely renowned artificial sweeteners are also available at stores worldwide. Among the most popular ones is sucralose, which is 600 times sweeter than sugar but extremely low in calories.
This is marketed under the name of Splenda. Another widely known product is Sugar Twin which is nothing but saccharin. This too contains zero calories and is 500 times sweeter than common sugar.
One of the most effective and nourishing solution to eradicate the deprivation of sugar in your life is by eating more of diabetes-friendly fruits. Nothing can be more refreshing and energizing than fresh fruits. Apples and strawberries are perfect choices for diabetes. You can also eat up to two servings of mangoes a day. Eating mangoes in higher quantities can prove risky.
As we have seen, jaggery is a boon for the treatment of a wide array of diseases but this doesn’t mean that it cannot be a bain. It is entirely wrong to assume that jaggery can be a good substitute for sugar during diabetes.
There is no positive influence of jaggery over blood sugar levels. Their effects will be resembling those of table sugar. Rather, you must opt for natural sweeteners or if affordable, then artificial sweeteners can also work well. Moreover, jaggery does have some side effects too like any other substance.
It is better than before switching on to anything new, you must either consult a doctor or must take the help of authentic books and guides. In the case of confusion, never leap without having a second thought as most of the perceptions of yours can probably be just a myth.
If you are incapable of consulting a doctor at a moment or do not have any good book with you, always prefer keeping top-rated Android apps that contain appropriate diet charts for diabetes with proper and reliable information.
These are handy to keep and convenient to use. These applications designed specifically for you people can save you from unnecessary hassles by giving you accurate knowledge of particular food at the right time. When you will have the correct knowledge of the facts which will be exact and not just the busted myths, you will definitely able to get a good hold over the disease.
Not to forget, knowledge is power. The power is with you, utilize it at its best and you will be doing pretty fine at building up a successful diabetes management strategy.