Til And Gur: The Winter Staple

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Looking for something to munch on this Sankranti? Learn why the humble til and gur is an excellent winter snack!

Jaggery and Sesame seeds - Health benefitsWinter and snacking, they go hand in hand. It’s inevitable! But isn’t there a way you can snack on yummy things and still be healthy? It’s not difficult at all! Think of the tried and tested favorite til gajak, roasted peanuts, and rewaris. Tasty, comforting and not to mention healthy! So push aside those oily samosas, fattening pies, creamy soups and cheesy snacks and say hello to the good old til and gur.

There’s a reason Indian grocery stores stock up on gajak, rewari, til laddus, and til candies as soon as winter arrives! Sesame seeds or til as we call it, are an important part of winter cuisine. Black and white, both of these varieties have been known to generate heat in the body after digestion.

Jaggery or gur is another favorite winter staple. It helps in combating the cold and is known to have heating properties. It acts a perfect companion to til, complementing til’s crunchiness with its rich sweetness.

Health benefits of til (sesame seeds) and gur (jaggery)

Apart from a distinct and pleasant taste and their ability to provide heat in the body, til and gur are high on nutritional values as well.

Half a cup of sesame seeds contains approximately three times more calcium than equivalent quantity of whole milk. Surprised? That isn’t all! Til is also considered to be one of the richest sources of iron in Indian vegetarian cooking. Apart from iron, sesame seeds also contain dietary copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin, E, protein, and fiber.

Sesame seeds also contain sesamin and sesamolin, substances that are thought to lower and prevent high blood pressure. It also helps in protecting the liver against oxidative damage.

Gur or jaggery is a good source of iron. It contains 10 times more iron as compared to spinach. It is considered to be healthier than refined sugar as it contains several vitamins and minerals like iron, phosphorous, magnesium and potassium. It is also a natural cure for cough, migraine, cold, asthma, fatigue and indigestion.

Cultural associations of til (sesame seeds) and gur (jaggery)

Til and gur also have strong religious and cultural associations in the Indian society. Two festivals, Lohri and Maker Sankranti, celebrated during winter season hold great association with til and gur. Both of these festivals are celebrated to thank God for the good harvest of crops for that season. Eating til (sesame seeds) and gur (jaggery) is considered auspicious during these festivals.

 Photograph via sxc.hu

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  1. Sonya Balasubramanyam says:

    An accompanying recipe for til gajak would have been fabulous!