There is something magical and enchanting about winters. This time gives us lots of reasons for celebrations and rejoicing. It’s a great time to indulge in many festivities and Makar Sankranti is one among them. Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India on 14th of January by different names.
- Uttarayan in Gujarat
- Pongal in Tamilnadu
- Bihu in Assam
- Lohri in Punjab etc…
Consuming sweets made up of sesame seeds(til) and jaggery(gud) are considered auspicious rituals in Makar Sankranti. Having sweets made up of sesame seeds and jaggery not only hold strong cultural significance, it has a good deal of health benefits as well.
It is good to consume sesame and jaggery on Makar Sankranti, as it falls in winters, a time when the body is vulnerable to catch infections and needs heat. The combination of sesame and jaggery not only boosts immunity and protects the body against the seasonal infections but also provides heat and energy.
Health benefits of the combination of sesame seeds and jaggery on Makar Sankranti
Sesame seeds are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals but the absorption of its nutrients are difficult. Jaggery activates digestive enzymes and makes the absorption of the nutrients easier.
- Keeps the body warm – The combination of sesame and jaggery provides a thermogenic effect on the body that helps to keep the body warm during winters.
- Good for hair and skin – Sesame and jaggery are good for hair and skin health.Sesame has antioxidants and it is rich in protein,calcium, magnesium and Omega fatty acids that improves hair and skin quality. Jaggery works as a natural cleanser, removing toxins from the body. It gives you a healthy and glowing skin. It is rich in iron as well so it prevents hair loss.
- Beneficial in digestive health – Both the sesame seeds and jaggery are good for digestion. Both are helpful in treating constipation, as sesame seeds are rich in fiber and unsaturated fatty acids. The oil in these seeds aids to lubricate the intestines and fiber helps to smooth the bowel movement. Eating a small amount of jaggery after meals is considered good for digestion, as it boosts the secretion of the digestive enzymes that aids in digestion.
- Improves bone health – Sesame seeds are rich in calcium and magnesium, both of these nutrients are good for bone health. These seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, useful in joint pain and bone issues. Roasting and mixing them with jaggery makes the nutrients more bio available and easy to absorb in the body.
- Enhance immunity –. Sesame seeds and jaggery enhance the immunity and strengthen the resistance against infections. They both are rich in antioxidants and minerals like zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium and B vitamins. It is beneficial to consume them in winters to keep viral infections at bay.
- Soothe blood pressure and hypertension – Jaggery is rich in potassium and sodium that helps to maintain acidic level in the body. Potassium works as a diuretic that throws out extra sodium from the body and keeps a check on blood pressure spike. Sesame seeds are high in magnesium, vitamin E and antioxidants that help to avert plaque formation in arteries and help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Moderation is the key
Always keep one thing in consideration that over indulgence of anything regardless of being highly nutritious, is unfavorable to your health.
No doubt jaggery is a healthier option to substitute sugar, but as long as you don’t overdo it. Jaggery is rich in nutrition but it must’ve been consumed in a limited quantity, as it is quite high in sugar content. Its excess consumption leads to weight gain and spike in the blood sugar levels for diabetics.
Over consumption of sesame seeds may cause a drop in blood pressure levels. It is high in fiber, but its excess makes it hard to digest, slow down the digestion process and create bowel irritation.
According to the experts, pregnant women in their first three to four months of pregnancy should avoid consuming them.
Sesame seeds and jaggery ladoo recipe –
- Sesame seeds – 1 cup
- Jaggery (roughly chopped or powered). – ¾ cup
- Ghee. – 1 tbsp
- Dry roast sesame seeds on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes
- Heat ghee in a pan, add jaggery keep the flame low, stir continuously and mix well
- Add sesame seeds and mix properly, cook it for 1 to 2 minutes
- Switch off the flame, and allow this mixture to cool slightly
- Wet your palms with little bit of water and take small portion of the mixture and shape it into a round ladoo
- Cool them completely and store in an airtight container.
In past times, it was the time when the shift of the sun resulted in longer days. So, it is a celebration of the change of seasons. These ladoos are a must have in the winters when our body needs more energy to prevent on changing season.