As we embark in the New Year and eagerly wait for the Panchang to announce the date for holy #Makar Sankranti or else known as ‘harvest festival’– celebrated as thanks giving to God for the year’s successful harvest , an ultimate WINTER FEASTING FESTIVE MONTH for all Indians. Whether Magh mela, Bhogali Bihu, Lohri, Pongal, Pedda Panduga, Maghara valaku or Vasi-Uttarayan – each one is always celebrated with the sweetness of #jaggery symbolizing love, unity and eaten after surrendering of ego into the warmth of bonfire. Friends a few days back, we just enjoyed the same warmth and you will agree that #sweets made on Makar Sankranti from fresh sugarcane jaggery are absolutely awesome. Aren’t many of us still enjoying our traditional mouthwatering #SugarcaneJaggery rich Sesame Laddoos, Peanut/Til- Chikkis, Pithey, Til-Pitha, Ariselu and many more? It’s in fact obvious and who doesn’t love to indulge in these during winters?
We are all born with a natural taste bud for sweetness and for some inexplicable reason, the sweet tooth acquires a stronger craving for this delicacy during the cold weather only. No matter, giving into the temptation can lead to guilt trips later on for all weight watchers. Think…what if this winter’s sweet cravings are restored with an incredible #health switch over? I am sure it will be a winter bonanza for health freaks too!
Today, I would like to share about this liquid gold of Bengal -well known as #Nolen Gur or Date palm jaggery. It’s a seasonal (winter) produce and occupies a place of pride in Bengal’s sweet–making history. I am sure most of you have tasted its high aroma incorporated in Rice-kheer (Payesh), Sandesh or Sweetmeats.
WHAT IS KHEJUR GUR (Date Palm Jaggery) / NOLEN GUR ?
Typically, #Khejurgur is made from Date Sap (Khejur Ras) of Phoenix sylvestris, the silver date or wild date palm. It takes years to master the skill for checking the consistency in making Date palm Jaggery. Based on its consistency and market availability are popularly classified into two varieties – (Bengali names) Jhola #NolenGur (liquid form, the Superior nutritious variety) & #PataliGur (the hardened form).
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
Speaking of Nolen gur’s #health benefits, they are enormous towards the management of many #degenerative diseases. Yes, you heard me right! Nutritionally, it is rich in composite carbohydrates, vitamins like βcarotene (vitamin A), thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, folic acid (folacin) & minerals (phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, fluorine and selenium).Though not a rich source of protein but considered as an important nutritional source because of essential amino acid content.
Let me tell you more reasons as why should you include Nolen Gur in your diet......
1. Natural iron rich sweetener - can be used as a healthier alternative to refined sugar.
2. Aids good digestion which makes it a good option as a post-meal sweet.·
3. Ideal high-energy food - provides strength, fitness & additional
4. Energy boosting nourishing diet for growing children as well as pregnant and lactating mothers.
5. Antioxidative Effects - due to glutathione, polyamines and high #phenolic content helps to activate both enzymatic as well as non-enzymatic antioxidant systems. These antioxidants and sterol activity promote #hypocholesterolemic effects thus protecting the body from #cardiovascular diseases & various #degenerativedisorders including #ulcers; also presence of apigenin, caffeic acid and quercetin offers #Hepatoprotective & #Nephroprotective activity by minimizing oxidative stress.
7. Free Radical scavenger action protects body cells from oxidative damage thereby can delay the aging process & render natural healthy glowing #softskin. Its #Anti-mutagenic and #Anticancer activities have also been proven in research trials.
8. Packed micronutrient promotes Anti-inflammatory& #Immune boosting properties to defend body from various winter season infections & flu.
9. High Phenolic content is able to suppress the hypersensitivity of immune response and hence promotes #antiallergic immunomodulatory activity
10. Its high potassium content and digestive enzymes promotes production of endorphins in turn helping to promote healthy #gut, soothe muscles pain, reduce #menstrual cramps and even cut abdominal #bloating
11. The high amounts of Iron and Folate content strengthens hair follicles from within, also promotes good #hairgrowth and reduces hair fall.
12. Acts as an effective remedy for common #respiratory ailments, such as a dry cough, cold, bronchitis by dissolving the mucus.
13. Improves #bonehealth due to its high mineral content.
14. Recent studies also report its antioxidant, anxiolytic, and anti-inflammatory actions providing different #neuroprotective functions in CNS disorders such as anti-Alzheimer’s, anticonvulsant, cerebral anti-ischemic and antipsychotic.
So, by now you must be convinced with enough reasons that Date palm Jaggery can be tagged as a #Superfood Health Supplement.
Please keep in mind moderation is the Diet rule, a Dietary allowance of 10-15g/day is best to get utmost health benefits.
Hurry friends, it has low shelf life unless carefully stored. So, why not bring out the Chef in you and give an innovative twist to your traditional recipes for chutneys, smoothies, shakes & other winter based sweetmeats or confectionery items with this healthy alternative.
Do write to us about your taste buds’ opinion on aroma of Khejur Gur!
Picture Credit: Cozyfoodcorner's desk