Health Benefits of Clarified Butter (Ghee)
Updated: Jan 3
One most treasured recipes in Indian culinary and Ayurvedic medicine is ghee (clarified butter), renowned for its incredible healing properties. Here we explore the benefits of using homemade ghee in our diet, especially in Winter.
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a type of clarified butter, traditionally made from the milk of a buffalo or cow. It is more concentrated in fat than butter, as its water and milk solids have been removed by heating butter and allowing the liquid and milk portion to separate from the fat. The milk caramelizes and becomes a solid, and the remaining oil is ghee.
Beyond culinary use, ghee is used in skin and hair care as well as spiritual rituals too. Homemade ghee stays good for longer because of the presence of phospholipids, which are missing in commercially made ghee. Ghee does not require refrigeration and can be kept at room temperature for several weeks. In fact, like coconut oil, it may become solid when kept at cold temperatures.
According to Ayurveda, ingesting ghee helps you keep warm through the winter, hence appropriate to use during the colder seasons.
The difference between Ghee and Butter
Ghee has a higher smoke point when compared to butter, so it doesn’t burn as quickly. This is perfect for sautéing or frying foods. Butter can smoke and burn at 350°F (177°C), but ghee can withstand heat up to 485°F (252°C).
Ghee also produces less toxin acrylamide when heated compared to other oils. Acrylamide is a chemical compound that develops when starchy foods are prepared at high temperatures. This chemical has been known to increase the cancer risk in lab animals, but it’s unclear whether it also increases the cancer risk in humans.
Benefits of Ghee:
When used in place of butter, ghee has several benefits when eaten in a balanced way.
Ghee is a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. While fat should be consumed in moderation, studies show that eating fatty foods such as ghee can help the body absorb some essential vitamins and minerals.
Ghee consists of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Ghee also plays a key role in balancing hormones and maintaining healthy cholesterol.
Ghee also has a high heat (smoke) point, which prevents it from producing free radicals that damage cell function.
Ghee is rich in fat, it contains high concentrations of monounsaturated Omega-3 (DHA) essential fatty acids which support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Studies show that using ghee as a part of a balanced diet can help reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels. Walnuts, fish oil and flaxseeds are some good sources of omega 3 fatty acid.
Ghee is lactose-free, making it better than butter if you have allergies or sensitivities to dairy products.
Butyric acid in ghee along with vitamins A, D, E and K helps in boosting immunity, promotes gut health, helps in keeping your hair healthy, strengthens your bones and improves eye health. Ghee is strengthening and removes toxins from our system.
Cooking healthy foods and vegetables with ghee may help you absorb more nutrients.
Ghee is an Excellent Source of Energy
Ghee contains medium and short-chain fatty acids, of which, lauric acid is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal substance. Ghee is also rich in butyrate acid which is essential for digestive health and is considered anti-inflammatory.
Saturated fat is also associated with blood sugar stability.
Ghee is a major source of energy for colon cells and improves gut health, maintains intestinal barrier integrity, mucus production, and protection against inflammation to the reduction of the risk of colorectal cancer.
One of the most common weight loss tips is to avoid fats. In a bid to lose weight, you may have even considered eliminating all fats sources from your diet. But doing so may do you more harm than good. Fats, carbs and proteins are three macronutrients that are essential for sustaining a healthy life. Removing any food group from your diet is never a sustainable way to lose weight.
Since ghee is rich in omega 3 fats (DHA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), it may support weight loss and combat obesity. Research indicates that the CLA found in ghee may help reduce excessive weight gain by reducing the mass of body fat in some people.
Experts have also found that ghee helps in mobilizing fat cells to be burnt for energy, a process called oleation (purification and cleansing as part of panchakarma treatment in ayurveda). This process helps pull fat-soluble toxins out of the cells and triggers fat metabolism, a process where the body kick-starts to burn its own fat for fuel.
Ghee is packed with essential amino acids that can shrink the size of fat cells. Adding ghee can be beneficial if your body accumulates fat quickly. Also, omega 3 fatty acid in ghee can help you lose inches and ultimately help you shed those extra kilos.
Improve colon health with ghee
Boosts Vitamin A uptake
Ghee can help ramp up your intake of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that’s important for maintaining eye health, skin health, immune function, and more.
Supports cardiovascular health
Ghee is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help decrease inflammation and protect against heart disease.
Ghee has been a staple part of various beauty care rituals since time immemorial. Its vital fatty acids act as a nourishing agent that can do wonders to infuse life into dull skin, powerful in hydrating and softening skin.
How to make homemade ghee
Ghee is really easy to make at home using just one simple ingredient: unsalted butter.
Tune in to my video for no-fuss instructions.
How to use Ghee
allowing ghee to harden at room temperature and spread it over crackers or toast
add ghee to cooking pans when scrambling eggs to prevent sticking
use ghee instead of butter for mashed potatoes and baked potatoes
drizzle ghee over vegetables before roasting for a caramelized texture
Used in moderation, homemade ghee offers nutritional and well-being benefits. Make healthier lifestyle choices, avoid bad fats in fries, burgers and processed meals, and choose better alternatives in the form of ghee and avocados.
Wishing you vibrant health,
Working with Gee Gahir, a Pioneer of holistic wellbeing services within the NHS, and Co-founder of Wellbeing Wizards, a podcast platform that provides insights into transforming wellbeing, Gee is an accredited EMCC intuitive lifestyle coach providing preventative naturopathic mind-body-space solutions to facilitate vibrant health and balanced lifestyles.
Connect with Gee to arrange a personalised coaching experience.