Ghee or clarified butter is made from the milk of a buffalo or a cow. It is prepared by simmering the butter in a pan on a low flame. While skimming, all the impurities are removed which are floating on the surface. The milk fats are settled at the bottom of the pan; the remaining liquid is then strained and poured into a jar. The consistency, aroma and taste of the ghee depend on the quality of the butter used in the making and the duration of boiling. Ghee has a better shelf life as compared to butter and is considered more ideal than butter for sautéing spices.
Is Ghee healthy?
For the past 3-4 decades, ghee has been given defective stature due to its high saturated fat content. Excessive intake of ghee can cause diarrhea and indigestion. It is also recommended to avoid ghee during the early months of pregnancy and when one is suffering from common cold. Ghee may also be responsible for heart problems and weight gain (due to the presence of saturated fats).
However, recent studies have cleared the air about ghee. It is better than butter and vegetable oil for health. Many people have made the switch of cooking their food in ghee. The reason is not limited to having a longer shelf life; there are a number of benefits of having ghee for the body and mind.
Some of the key benefits of GHEE:
1. Digestion: Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells of the intestines. Beneficial intestinal bacteria convert fiber into butyric acid and then use that for energy and intestinal wall support. Butyric acid is “a monounsaturated fatty acid which reduces inflammatory conditions and seepage of undigested food particles, and aids in repair of the mucosal wall.” A healthy body therefore makes its own form of ‘ghee’ but one can aid that greatly by consuming it.
2. Lactose sensitivity: For people who are sensitive to dairy products or are lactose intolerant, ghee came as a boon. As ghee is made by simmering the butter, the process helps in removing all the milk solids and impurities. Thus making ghee useful for people with lactose sensitivity.
3. High Smoke Point: The temperature at which the oil/butter begins to burn and smoke is called the High Smoke Point. Most cooking oils with high smoke point are not good for health as they are chemically moderated to achieve that point. Ghee on the other hand, naturally has a high smoking point and is beneficial for health also.
4. Promotes Weight Loss: Health conscious avoid including ghee in their diet. We have grown up with the notion that ghee promotes weight gain. However, the reality is completely opposite. Ghee is not only beneficial for health and skin; it also helps in the weight loss program. Ghee contains conjugated linolenic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acids, which when consumed daily aids in weight loss and improve lean body mass. According to some nutritionist, one should include two teaspoons of ghee in their diet to help in weight management.
5. Moisturizer for Tissues of the Body: Due to its oily and moisturizing nature, ghee is able to moisturize and lubricate the body internally as well as externally. To avoid dry skin or chapped lips, one can apply ghee on the dried part in the night and wake up to a wonderful skin. Similarly, daily intake of ghee keeps the cells of the body tissues moist and lubricated. This reduces dry skin, dry constipation, inflammation and stiff joints while increasing luster, flexibility and promoting healthy elimination.