If you live in South Asia, chances are you have encountered a kind of butter called ghee. Ghee is a class of clarified butter that some may have heard to be fattening and unhealthy. Today, we dispel some of the myth.
Like most food substances, too much of anything is bad for the body, and ghee is no different. However, consumed in moderate amounts, ghee is actually very healthy and a great source of a variety of vitamins.
Traditionally, ghee is made by gently heating cow’s milk butter to evaporate its water content and skimming off any remaining milk solids. The end result is ghee. Due to the low heat used in manufacturing ghee, more of the vitamins and nutrients are retained.
While ghee is also considered good for the skin when applied topically, today we will look at the 8 health benefits of ghee as a food substance, and the preparation of a sumptuous meal that uses ghee as an ingredient, which we think you will love.
Health Benefits of Ghee
Good Source of Saturated Fats
In the 1970s, a high-fat intake diet was largely discouraged due to related illnesses such as coronary heart disease and cholesterol. However, recent studies show that people who consume full-fat dairy products at the right portion are less prone to develop diabetes and heart-related illnesses, compared to those consuming skimmed or low-fat alternative.
Nevertheless, those with high cholesterol levels should limit their intake of ghee to a maximum of just two tablespoons per day. In any case, moderation is key.
Aids in Weight Loss
Ghee is also higher in a polyunsaturated fat known as conjugated linoleic acid, which has been known to increase fat loss. Great for those who wish to trim off a little fat from their body.
Lowers Glycaemic Index in Other Foods
It is believed that spreading a small amount of ghee over roti canai, chapatti and naan bread can help to lower their glycaemic indexa figure representing the relative ability of a carbohydrate food to increase the level of glucose in the blood.. This helps to prevent a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, and aids in weight loss and prevents chronic illnesses related to obesity.
Rich in Vitamins and Nutrients
Due to the low heat treatment process used in producing ghee, a lot of the natural vitamins and nutrients are retained. These include Vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids.
Ghee also has one of the highest natural sources of conjugated linoleic acid, which moderately aids in fat burning and weight loss. More importantly, ghee consists of 9 phenolic antioxidants that help regulate blood sugar levels and protect against blood clots and certain types of cancers. It also lubricates the joints.
Good Source of Energy
Ghee consists of medium- and short-chain fatty acids that are directly convertible to energy and not stored by the body as fats the way long-chain fatty acids do. As such, they provide readily available energy for the body.
In some cultures, ghee is also given as an energy supplement to nursing mothers. In colder climates, consuming ghee also helps to keep your inner body warm.
Safe for the Heart
Due to the short-chain fatty acids found in ghee, it is not associated with coronary heart disease, unlike most other kinds of fats.
Still, there is a possibility that some ghee manufactured at high heat may have resulted in oxidised cholesterol, which has been linked to coronary heart disease. As such, it is important that the low-heat manufacturing process variety be used.
Great for Intestinal Health
Again, due to the higher amount of short-chain saturated fats in ghee compared to butter, studies have also shown that these fats reduce inflammation and help to promote gut health. It has been used as a digestive aid for centuries.
Like butter, ghee consists of almost 100% fat. However, unlike butter, ghee does not contain any milk protein casein
and milk sugar lactose. This makes it suitable for those who suffer from lactose intolerance and other dairy product allergies.
Ghee has also been found to be effective in preventing mild constipation. As recommended by Dr Vasant Lad in his book The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, taking 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of ghee in a cup of hot milk just before bedtime is an effective but gentle means of relieving constipation.
If it isn’t a chronic or more serious constipation condition that requires professional medical advice, ghee may just be the viable home remedy for this.
Here is a quick video by Dr Eric Berg on the health benefits of ghee:
Eric Berg, DC, is a chiropractor who specializes in Health Ketosis™ and Intermittent Fasting. His clients have included senior officials in the U.S. government and the Justice Department, ambassadors, medical doctors, high-level executives of prominent corporations, scientists, engineers, professors, and other clients from all walks of life. Dr Berg no longer practices, but does full-time education through social media, videos and conventions.
He is the author of The 7 Principles of Fat Burning (2011) and the new edition called The New Body Type Guide (2018). In addition, Eric Berg is widely published in trade magazines, including Chiropractic Today and The American Chiropractor, and in consumer publications such as First for Women, Men’s Exercise, New Beauty, Upscale and Let’s Live. Dr Berg has trained chiropractors, physicians and allied healthcare practitioners in his methods, and to date he has trained over 2,500 healthcare professionals. He is one of the top ketogenic diet experts in the world.
Buying and Storing Ghee
Ghee is often readily available off the shelves at most Asian supermarket stores. A popular brand is found in a green can in various sizes, and doesn’t cost a lot of money. However, the best kinds of ghee you can get are the organic and grass-fed variety as recommended by Dr Eric Berg in his video above, such as the following:
Compared to butter, ghee is more concentrated in fat, and given that its water and milk solids have been removed from the composition, it can be safely stored on your shelf away from direct sunlight and doesn’t require refrigeration. However, for certain kinds of ghee, it is advisable to consume unrefrigerated portions within 3 months of opening, and refrigerate if it is to be kept longer.
Preparing a Meal with Ghee
The following is a simple meal that my husband loves very much. Some people may find ghee on its own rather tasteless or difficult to consume. For those who find the taste of ghee a little hard to appreciate, adding some or all of the ingredients below may make it more palatable.
The portion below is enough to make a lunch meal for two:
- 5 eggs
- 3 potatoes
- 4 – 5 small onions
- 2 tablespoons of ghee
- ½ teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt or to suit taste
We hope you have found the article on the health benefits of ghee and the recipe to whip up a quick ghee meal above to be informational and helpful.