Made of raw and concentrated sugarcane juice, jaggery is healthier than refined sugar. Primarily used for preparing sweets, it contains sugars, iron, and mineral salts. But how good or bad is it to consume jaggery during pregnancy?
Read this MomJunction post to know about the benefits and safe consumption limits of jaggery during pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Eat Jaggery During Pregnancy?
You can eat jaggery (gur) in pregnancy but in limited quantity. Jaggery is rich in iron and contributes to your daily iron requirement (1). The natural source of sugar boosts the overall health of the expectant mother.
It is also known to purify blood and breast milk, thereby offering nourishment to the baby during pregnancy and even after birth. Therefore, you may replace refined sugar with jaggery in your diet.
Nutritional Value Of Jaggery
Jaggery is referred to as “superfood sweetener,” that is mostly made of sugar cane, and also date palm. Good quality jaggery contains more than 70% sucrose, less than 10% glucose, and fructose, and less than 5% minerals. The nutrition may vary, depending on the source used to make it (cane or palm).
According to a study published in the Journal of Food Processing and Technology, half a cup (100g) of jaggery contains calcium (40 to 100mg), potassium (1056mg), magnesium (70 to 90mg), sodium (19 to 30mg), iron (10 to 13mg), phosphorus (20 to 90mg), zinc (0.2 to 0.4mg), manganese (0.2 to 0.5mg), copper (0.1 to 0.9mg), and chloride (5.3mg). It also contains trace amounts of vitamins (2).
Do You Need Jaggery During Pregnancy?
Jaggery not only adds sweetness to your food but is also believed to offer benefits because of its nutritional profile. The sweetener is believed to be beneficial in the following ways. However, there is not enough scientific evidence to back these claims:
- Iron helps in reducing the chances of anemia that is common during pregnancy.
- Potassium helps in stabilizing electrolytic balance in the body and treating edema.
- Vitamins and minerals help nourish bones and joints.
- Unrefined sugars are believed to trigger the secretion of digestive enzymes and aid in digestion. It could help in smooth bowel movements.
- Minerals and antioxidants in jaggery are said to support the immune system and treat illnesses such as cold and flu.
Possible Side Effects Of Jaggery During Pregnancy
Although jaggery could be beneficial, consuming it in large amounts is not a good idea since it is the same as sugar just unrefined. Also, adulterated or impure jaggery may lead to some problems.
- Eating jaggery excessively will increase the calorie count and might lead to weight gain.
- Sugars could raise blood sugar levels, and this will be problematic if you already have gestational diabetes.
- Impure jaggery may have microbes.
In order to make sure that you are not having excessive amounts of sugar, replace the regular sugar with jaggery.
Ways To Include Jaggery In Your Pregnancy Diet
Jaggery is a versatile ingredient that can be used in several ways.
- Add to milk or tea.
- Include it in desserts and puddings
- Mix it with peanuts or grated coconut to make sweets
- Add to toffees, muffins, and cakes
Jaggery could be useful during pregnancy when consumed in limited amounts. Replace refined sugar with jaggery and this way, you can reap any potential benefits from it.
Do you like jaggery? What is your take on eating jaggery during pregnancy? Write to us in the comment section below.
2. Nath A et al.; Review on Recent Advances in Value Addition of Jaggery based Products; Journal of Food Processing & Technology (2015)
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