Many expecting women develop a sweet tooth during pregnancy. And what better than jaggery to satiate your sweet cravings! Jaggery during pregnancy is a common craving and has health benefits too. Just eating the right food during pregnancy may help to deal with many pregnancy issues. Having certain foods during pregnancy help to improve immunity and even help to reduce pain and inflammations that are often seen in pregnant women.
While some mothers like to nibble a small piece after lunch and dinner, others like to have whole dishes made with jaggery.
Many expecting women even carry many doubts, such as “is palm jaggery during pregnancy more beneficial than normal jaggery”. This article walks you through everything you need to know about eating jaggery during pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Eat Jaggery During Pregnancy?
Jaggery is an excellent source of glucose. Also, being less processed, jaggery unlike white sugar and brown sugar carries a lot of nutrients as well. Coming to the safety of jaggery during pregnancy, jaggery is safe to eat during pregnancy, but only if consumed in limited quantities.
Regardless of the form of sugar and how naturally it is produced, overindulgence of glucose during pregnancy is definitely not a good idea. It is always better to avoid it during your first trimester.
On the other hand, including jaggery in limited quantity in your daily menu for the rest of your pregnancy helps to reap its nutritional benefits.
Pregnancy is the time you should not take chances. Therefore if your budget allows, we highly recommend opting for organic jaggery. They are not only more nutritious but also carry zero risks of chemical contamination.
Related Reading: Eating Banana Chips During Pregnancy- 8 Things You Should Know
Nutritional Value Of Jaggery
Jaggery is made from sugar cane or date palm. It is rich in iron and mineral salts. Jaggery is loaded with potassium as well. More than 70 % of sugar in jaggery is sucrose.
Sucrose digests slower than sugar and therefore, releases energy slowly rather than spontaneously. Therefore eating jaggery in limitation during pregnancy helps to sustain energy for a longer time without impinging on blood sugar level.
According to a trusted source, 100 grams of jaggery besides trace amounts of vitamins contain:
- 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
- Chloride: 5.3mg
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Jaggery (Gur) During Pregnancy?
Jaggery is loaded with many essential nutrients that favor the healthy progression of pregnancy. Jaggery helps to enhance metabolism and is a great source of energy. In Ayurveda, jaggery is widely used to treat a range of health issues like anxiety, migraines, digestion, and fatigue.
You can see all these health issues are associated with pregnancy as well. Here are the top 10 benefits of eating jaggery during pregnancy:
1. Eating jaggery during pregnancy helps to prevent anemia
Anemia is a common issue experienced by most expecting mothers. Iron deficiency is the cause of anemia during pregnancy. Jaggery is blessed with high iron content. Therefore, regular consumption of jaggery during pregnancy or using it as a substitute for sugar may help to enhance the RBC count and prevent anemia.
2. Helps to regulate blood pressure
Hypertension is another common yet serious pregnancy issue. Therefore regulating blood pressure is very important during pregnancy. Following a low sodium diet is one of the ways to control blood pressure. Jaggery has a significantly low sodium content. Therefore, eating jaggery during pregnancy helps to regulate blood pressure.
3. Helps to reduce inflammation and joint pains
As the pregnancy progress, most women experience inflammation and pain in joints, especially during the latter part of pregnancy. Jaggery the anti-inflammatory properties of jaggery help to deal with inflammation. Also, Jaggery is loaded with minerals that help to relieve joint pain and other bone-related issues like a stiffness in joints.
Related Reading: 9 Common Pregnancy Aches and Pains With Remedies
4. Jaggery during pregnancy helps to enhance bone density
It is important to take care of bone health during pregnancy because otherwise, pregnancy could adversely affect bone density. This increases the chances of mothers contracting osteoporosis in the future. Jaggery is loaded with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that helps to increase bone density.
5. Helps to reduce water retention
Water retention is one of the common pregnancy issues. It causes swelling in the feet, hands, legs, and face. Eating jaggery during pregnancy helps to reduce this issue. Jaggery is a rich source of potassium. Potassium plays an important role in preventing water retention.
6. Relieves breathing issues
According to research, eating jaggery can help keep your air passageways clean. This study was conducted on people who regularly come in contact with dust and dirt. Jaggery, thus, has a lung cleansing property that helps to relieve breathing problems.
Eating Jaggery during pregnancy might help to deal with breathing issues due to asthma. Regular consumption of jaggery in limited quantity during pregnancy might also help to relieve cough and cold by clearing out the respiratory tract.
Related Reading: Top 10 Protein-Rich Foods For Pregnancy
7. Jaggery purifies blood
The antibacterial property of jaggery helps to purify the blood. It helps to flush the toxins from the blood. This helps to reduce the risk of infections which is very important during pregnancy when the immune system is compromised.
Jaggery also helps to remove clotted blood from the body. Clean blood, besides improving the mother’s health will also positively influence the health of the fetus. Remember you can real this benefit through regular consumption of jaggery in limited quantities.
8. Jaggery is an excellent immunity booster
Jaggery is an excellent source of antioxidants. Therefore eating jaggery during pregnancy helps to boosts immunity and thereby helps to keep common infections at bay.
Related Reading: 11 Simple Ways To Boost Immunity During Pregnancy
9. Facilitates digestion
According to Ayurveda jaggery has “ushna” property, which means it belongs to the food group that generates heat. These kinds of food are excellent to enhance digestion. Pregnancy is the time women face many digestive issues, such as constipation, bloating and acidity.
Most of the digestion-related problems will be curbed by ingesting jaggery. The natural sugar in jaggery enhances the secretion of digestive enzymes and this triggers proper digestion. Therefore regular consumption of jaggery during pregnancy helps to minimize the chances of constipation, flatulence, and indigestion
10. Provides benefits of magnesium
Jaggery is a good source of magnesium. Magnesium plays an important role in pregnancy. It is an important factor for protein formation, muscle movements, and the health of the nervous system. Moreover, this element helps to combat mood swings.
Side Effects Of Eating Jaggery During Pregnancy
Despite having various medicinal and health benefits, you can’t deny the fact that Jaggery is sugar. Therefore, it is important not to overdo it. Excessive consumption of jaggery during pregnancy can trigger many side effects. Side effects, however, depend on many factors like how much jaggery is consumed, current health condition, etc.
Side effects of jaggery during pregnancy are:
1. Jaggery during pregnancy may make you gain weight.
In just 100 gm of jaggery, there are 385 calories. It is also a rich source of carbs and sugar. This means that jaggery is by no means a good food to have if you are dieting, or trying to watch your weight.
While having jaggery during pregnancy will not pose an issue in small amounts, it can give rise to problems in the long run, if eaten excessively. It can lead to rapid weight gain, during a time when you are already prone to gaining too much weight.
So if you are having problems with your weight, or trying not to gain extra weight, it is best to stay away from jaggery, or at least limit your intake to small amounts.
2. Can raise the blood sugar levels
Many pregnant women already experience issues regarding their blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, it is very possible that having jaggery during pregnancy can worsen the problem. You can always expect weight gain with jaggery.
With how sweet jaggery is, it will come as no surprise to you that it is full of sugar. In fact, out of every 10 gm of jaggery, 9.7 gm is sugar. Having jaggery, especially in large amounts, can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. It can even eventually lead to conditions like gestational diabetes.
This is why it is important to practice moderation.
3. Raises risk of parasitic infections
This is less a risk of eating jaggery, and more of a risk associated with how the jaggery is prepared. If the jaggery has any impurities or has been prepared in an incorrect way, there is an increased chance of you getting parasitic infections.
Since jaggery is often prepared under unhygienic conditions, it needs to be refined again in order to get rid of impurities. Make sure you buy refined jaggery to avoid getting a parasitic infection.
4. May cause constipation
Even though jaggery is highly beneficial to improve digestion, if exceeds limits, jaggery during pregnancy can bring about indigestion and constipation. Besides, eating newly and freshly prepared jaggery further increases the risk of constipation.
5. Jaggery can trigger allergic reactions
Excessive consumption of jaggery can sometimes trigger allergic reactions. Experiencing a runny nose, cold, cough, or vomiting, after eating too much jaggery, could be an indication of allergy.
When To Start Incorporating Jaggery To The Pregnancy Diet?
Jaggery is the most natural form of sugar. It causes no risks of artificial sweeteners. Jaggery is a healthy substitute for white sugar. However, it is recommended not to eat it regularly during the first trimester.
This is because jaggery is a heat-generating food and it is better to avoid it during the first trimester. You can incorporate jaggery in your pregnancy diet from the end of the first trimester.
How To Incorporate Jaggery In Pregnancy Diet?
You can have a bite of jaggery after each meal. You can also have desserts that are made with jaggery. There are no particular ways to include jaggery in your diet. As it is sweet, more often you can have it as a snack and dessert. Here are two ways you can include jaggery wisely in your daily menu
- Milk and jaggery: Jaggery can be added to milk. You can grate Jaggery and replace sugar with this grated jaggery. This drink carries both the nutritional benefits of milk and jaggery and is an excellent health drink. Drinking jaggery milk before bed helps to get a good night’s sleep
- Chikki: Peanut and jaggery during pregnancy is a good snacking option. Peanuts are loaded with protein and folate that are highly beneficial during pregnancy. However, opt for this only if there is no history of peanut allergy
Who Should Not Eat Jaggery During Pregnancy?
Obese mothers and diabetic mothers should stay away from consuming jaggery during pregnancy. Likewise, if you think jaggery is triggering some allergic reaction, you better don’t have it during pregnancy
Theoretically, both palm jaggery and normal jaggery are plant-based. However, they taste different. While palm jaggery is made from the sap of palms, normal jaggery is made from sugarcane. Sugarcane jaggery is sweeter than palm jaggery.
When it comes to nutrient aspects, Palm jaggery is considered a nutrient-rich variety as it holds more vitamins and minerals. The inherent medicinal properties of palm jaggery are found more effective in relieving common pregnancy difficulties.
Many a time, eating jaggery during pregnancy is found to link with low birth weight in babies. But eating jaggery in limited quantity will not adversely affect the birth weight of the baby. However, if coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle and not eating a healthy portion of other nutritious food, eating jaggery may contribute to low birth weight.
Yes. If consumed excessively, eating jaggery during pregnancy can contribute to a rise in sugar levels.
There are no scientific proof that states eating jaggery during pregnancy causes miscarriage. However, it is not safe to eat jaggery during the first trimester as it has a heat-generating property.
Sesame seeds are not advised to be consumed during the early stage of pregnancy. So is jaggery. However, there is no harm in munching sesame- jaggery ladoo in a restricted amount, that too once in a while in later pregnancy.