Amazing Health Benefits That You Can Derive By Using Ghee Regularly
Ghee, also known as clarified butter, has been deemed a bit of a super-fat in health circles for a diversity of reasons, not the least of which are that it’s both paleo-friendly and lactose-free. But while it’s currently on-trend, this butter derived actually has a long history in the culinary and medicinal worlds of Southeast Asia, and may just be the fat to change the way you cook.
What is Ghee?
A butter derivative with no lactose? It almost seems too good to be true, and yet ghee is very genuine.
Ghee is a clarified butter that has had its milk solids toasted then skimmed away from the fat, resulting in a product that combines oil’s extremely high smoke point and butter’s rich, nutty flavor and outstanding nutritional profile.
Ghee may only now be appearing on store shelves with any reliability, but it’s been around for more than 5,000 years throughout the Indian subcontinent, where it is traditionally made from sacred cows’ milk and used in religious ceremonies. Ghee is also commonly used as a cooking fat, particularly in Punjabi cuisine – the regional cuisine served in the majority Indian restaurants – where it is preferred to oil for its rich flavor.
Health Benefits of Ghee
As a butter byproduct, ghee is a type of cooking fat. That said, as last year’s update to the federal health procedure confirmed, not all fats are created equal, and ghee, as an animal-derived fat, may be one of the finest options.
“The more we learn about the dangers of partially hydrogenated oils, the more healthful these alternative spreads appear,” says Rafael Avila, Director of Research and Development at Nature’s Plus.
While it took new medicine some time to catch up, traditional Ayurvedic medicine has long prescribed ghee for digestive issues, ulcers, and for the product’s usual vitalizing properties.
That said, it’s main to choose the source of your ghee carefully. As Christina Major of Crystal Holistic Health explains, “In naturally raised animals, the fat profile is healthy. There are over 30 different fats, and when butter is clarified into ghee, the fat profile is near ideal for us.”
If the animals aren’t raised of course or healthfully, however, as with conventional butter products, this concentrated ghee can have the opposite effect, and at the very least, it won’t boast nearly as several health benefits.
Ghee is both lactose- and casein-free; both of these essentials of butter are removed during the clarifying process. Because of this, ghee can often be enjoyed by those who cannot consume other dairy products. Do be aware that this is not the case for all lactose intolerant people, and test with your doctor before consuming if you have dairy allergies or sensitivities.
2. Contains Alkalizing Short-Chained Fats
Unlike butter, ghee is an alkalinizing food thanks to its short-chained fats known as butyrates, which are thought to support healthy bacterial growth in the intestines. This is one of the reasons why ghee has traditionally been used for bowel enemas in Indian medicine.
That said, you can obtain many of the same benefits just by overwhelming ghee, as Cate Stillman, founder of Yogahealer.com and Ayurvedic expert, explains, “Beneficial intestinal bacteria convert fiber into butyric acid and then use that for energy and intestinal wall support. Therefore, this aids in your body’s natural digestive role.”
3. Rich in Metabolism-Boosting Medium-Chain Fats
Ghee is also wealthy in medium-chain fatty acids which, like carbohydrates, are absorbed directly into the liver and metabolized as energy. According to Stillman, “Studies show that when replacing butter with ghee, metabolism increases, and cholesterol remains unaffected.”
4. High in CLA
An extra fat that is particularly present in grass-fed ghee is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that has been associated with anti-cancer and weight loss benefits.
5. Casein Free
Casein, the protein element of milk, is blamed for milk allergies (technically, an allergic reaction occurs to the protein in a food). When gut flora is compromised, casein consumption can actually make an opiate effect on the brain because it is not being properly digested. In the formation of ghee, the milk solids containing the lactose and casein float to the top, where they are removed.
Note that if you are actually allergic to milk, trace proteins in ghee may trigger a result.
6. Ghee is a stable fat for cooking
Quick high school biology review: in fatty acid molecules, the more double bonds between the carbon chain, the more unstable the molecule. This means that the bonds are extra likely to break when exposed to heat or force, and the fatty acid oxidizes and becomes toxic to our cells.
Polyunsaturated oils (think plant oils, like sunflower oil and safflower oil) have many double bonds and are least stable for cooking. Ghee, however, is a mainly saturated fat and is highly heat-stable for sautéing and baking.
Note that the smoking point of oils does not signify the stability of the oil. Vegetable oils may have a high smoke point, but they are so delicate they actually rancidify with the heat and processing used during the oil removal.
7. Ghee boasts bioavailable vitamin A
The dairy products of ruminants (cows, sheep, goats) grazing on grass provides an outstanding source of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A. These vitamins are stored primarily in the fat portion, so the concentration of vitamins in ghee is advanced than in milk. Vitamin A plays an essential role in hormone balance, liver health, fertility, and stamina.
Contrary to well-liked belief, vitamin A cannot be obtained from plant sources such as carrots. The conversion of carotenes in vegetables to the useable form of vitamin A is insignificant, and made further negligible by health circumstances such as thyroid imbalances. The vitamin A in ghee is both immediately useable by the body, and also contains the fatty acid cofactors required for inclusion.
8. Ghee contains Conjugated Linolenic Acid
Ghee and butter are the finest dietary sources of this fatty acid. As with all nutrients in ghee, concentrations of CLA are drastically higher in ghee from grassfed cows.
Numerous studies show that CLA inhibits the enlargement of breast cancer. Supplementation with CLA has also been shown to cause fat loss and improved body composition in humans (source). I believe a nutrient from a whole-food source – in this case, CLA in ghee – is more effective than a add-on due to being paired with naturally-occurring cofactors. Further, the fat content of ghee plays an essential role in weight loss due to satiation quality.
One study done with rats shows why ghee offers health-protective benefits for children. CLA fed to rats before the peripubertal period disallowed the growth of tumors, but when the rats weren’t fed CLA until maturity, they had to eat the fatty acid for the rest of their life to prevent tumor growth..
9. Ghee is a good(!) source of cholesterol
Further, the cholesterol in ghee is something to venerate, not fear. Science tells us that cholesterol does not cause athersclerosis. As a healing agent in the body, levels of cholesterol rise during periods of stress or when inflammation is present. Providing cholesterol through good excellence fats, such as grassfed ghee, allows the body to help address the inflammation.
Interestingly, low blood cholesterol levels are associated with the following:
- A higher risk of mortality
- A higher risk of depression
- A higher risk of committing violent crime and suicide
- A higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- One area of uncertainty is the labeling of LDL as “bad cholesterol” and HDL as “good cholesterol.”
We know that high levels of HDL cholesterol is useful and we know there are subtypes of LDL cholesterol.
10. Ghee is a source of butyric acid
Ghee contains a significant level of butyric acid, an anti-carcinogenic short-chain fatty acid. Butyric acid has been shown to inhibit the enlargement of mammary tumors.
Butyric acid is also a biological reaction modifier, a substance that arouses the body’s response to infection. Studies show that it boasts numerous healing and soothing properties on the intestinal tract (source, source). Some strains of beneficial gut flora produce butyric acid, and research shows the butyric acid produced may be a possible treatment for Irritable Bowel Disease.
11. Ghee has incredible flavor
Ghee is similar to butter on flavor steroids. Enough said.
How to get the benefits of ghee
- Prepare it your primary cooking fat for sautéing
- Swap it for butter for dispersal on baked goods
- Toss steamed vegetables with ghee and sea salt
- Use it in any recipe that calls for cooking oil
- Use it in put of coconut oil or palm oil for baking
- If roasting vegetables, you can melt ghee and then drizzle it on like olive oil previous to baking