Jaggery is one the oldest-known sweeteners in history and over the last few years, we have seen a major revival of it in Indian diets. Jaggery has been cultivated in India for thousands of years and some of the earliest ayurvedic texts dating back to over 5000 years praise this superfood for its benefitsthink blood purification, better digestion and health and bone health.Jaggery was originally discovered by the Portuguese in the 1600s in Kerala, India and at one point in time, was the only sweetener known in the continent. A staple in kitchens, it tastes similar to less refined sugars and has a caramel-y, butterscotchy taste thanks to its molasses content.How Is It Made?Jaggery is made using sugarcane juice. In states like Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the juice is poured into huge metal containers that are then placed on open fires that are fuelled by dried sugarcane bagasse. To this, lime is added to remove any and all traces of impurities. The juice is reduced to one-third of its original quantity and then checked for a single thread drip. Once it reaches that consistency, it is set aside to cool and is then shaped into large jaggery balls.Nutritional Value of JaggeryJaggery is rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. A quarter serving of it reportedly contains 100 calories, less than one gram of fat, 26 grams of carbohydrates, less than a gram of fibre and 24 grams of sugar.Jaggery or Sugar, whats healthier?Jaggery when consumed, takes longer to get digested and doesnt release energy as quickly as refined sugar does. When taken in moderation, it doesnt cause your blood sugar to spike. Moreover, it is less refined (processed) than sugar, making it a slightly healthier alternative.10 Benefits of JaggeryMay help in treating common cold and coughJaggery may help in clearing the excess mucus from the system. A study by the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, India showed that the superfood can protect the body from dust and smoky conditions.Reduces risk of certain diseasesJaggery is rich in antioxidants that prevent the risk of nervous disorders. It is linked to a lower risk of certain forms of cancer, reduced signs of ageing, and a lower risk of dementia.Regulates blood pressureDue to the presence of iron, jaggery helps regulate blood pressure in the body.Strengthens the immune systemJaggery improves the haemoglobin levels of the body, thereby increasing the capacity of the blood of carrying oxygen. Overall, this helps boost the immune system.May help in preventing anaemiaStudies have shown that the magnesium present in jaggery helps boost the functioning of the nervous system. The high iron content may also help prevent anaemia.Treats urinary problemsJaggery is a natural diuretic and stimulates urination. It is also believed to reduce bladder swelling and other urinary disorders.Treats hiccupsAccording to ayurvedic texts, jaggery mixed with some dry ginger powder, rock salt, vidang salt and black salt serves as the perfect recipe to treat hiccups.Healthy hairJaggery is a great source of iron and when consumed with other vitamin C-rich foods, it helps the body absorb iron.Warming for the bodyJaggery when consumed during the winter months can provide warmth and instant energy.ConclusionJaggery is an excellent source of micronutrients and can be added to dishes to add a touch of sweetness. Despite its benefits, if you consume it in excess, it can lead to increased chances of obesity, blood sugar level and stomach discomfort.FAQsHow much jaggery can I consume in a day?Around 10 grams of jaggery can be consumed daily.How do I find out if the jaggery I am consuming is pure? If the jaggery is bitter, it means that it has undergone caramelisation during the boiling process. The original colour of jaggery is dark brown. If the colour is yellow, it may have undergone chemical treatments. Dissolve a small part of it in water. If it contains chalk powder, that will settle down at the bottom of the container.Before making any major changes to your diet, we advice reaching out to a medical professional.