In India, Ghee (clarified butter) has always been a sacred and celebrated symbol of auspiciousness, nourishment and healing. It is not only used for daily cooking, but it is also used in rituals of worship! Ghee comes under a category of fats known as the good/healthy fats. Ghee has numerous health benefits, which surprisingly also includes Weight Loss! Read on to know more about this gold mine of nutrition.
Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India recognizes ghee as an essential part of a balanced diet, and considers it to be the best fat one can eat. Some Ayurvedic practices of body cleansing like Panchakarma (a fivefold detoxification treatment involving massage, herbal therapy, and other procedures) can’t be completed without ghee.
Benefits of Ghee (Clarified Butter):
1. Weight Loss:
Ghee is not only rich in omega-3 fats (DHA) but also in omega-6 fats (CLA). Omega-6 fats have shown to help in increase of lean body mass, while reducing fatty mass. In addition, nutritionists also find that ghee helps in mobilizing fat cells to be burnt for energy. All that helps in weight loss and weight management. Ghee also helps in removing stubborn fats from the body.
2. Pulls toxins out of our body:
The ghee has a lipophilic effect on other fatty acids and fatty toxins in the body (lipophilic means these bodily fats are attracted to other fats like ghee). This pulls stored fat soluble toxins out of the body and back into the intestine for their removal from the body.
3. Healthy digestive tract:
Research has shown that patients with unhealthy digestive tract do not produce butyric acid, and have low levels of fatty acids or related oils in the gut. Ghee consists of Butyrate, an essential short chain fatty acid. It converts fibers into butyric acid, which is essential to intestinal bacteria. Ghee stimulates the secretion of gastric acid, thus aiding in the digestive process. Better digestion equals better health and weight loss.
4. Rich in vitamins:
Ghee is rich in healthy fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. These vitamins are important for promoting bone and brain health, and also for boosting the immune system.
5. Ghee reduces inflammation:
Butyrate in ghee plays a major role in reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and throughout the body. Ghee benefits the body by creating a more alkaline system that overall reduces inflammation. It’s believed that inflammation is at the root of most diseases we face today including Alzheimer’s Disease, some types of cancer, high cholesterol levels, arthritis and asthma.
6. Higher smoking point:
Ghee has a smoke point of 450 degrees. Since it cooks at higher temperature than almost any other oil, it wont break into free radicals like other oils. Free radicals can potentially be harmful to one’s health, and when an oil smokes, it can be hazardous to a person’s respiratory system if constantly breathed in.
7. Promotes flexibility:
Ghee helps to lubricate the connective tissues in the body and promotes flexibility. That’s why many Yoga lovers consume ghee.
9. Natural moisturizer for inside and out:
Our skin, membranes have fats or phospholipids in them. By consuming essential fats found in ghee, you could ensure good skin health not just from the outside (you can apply ghee externally as moisturizer), but from the inside too.
10. Shelf life:
Ghee is incredibly shelf-stable. Ghee will last for months without refrigeration, though it’s recommended that you store it away from direct light and heat and only use clean, dry utensils to remove it from its jar. Also, keep it tightly covered when not in use.
The best part about Ghee (clarified butter) is that you can make it yourself at home!
How to make Ghee (Clarified butter)?
Traditional way to make it at home:
In India, traditional process of making ghee starts with the culturing of cow’s full fat milk (or cream from boiled milk) with yogurt. The mixture is allowed to rest for 4-5 hours until it is completely fermented. Then the mixture is churned to separate the butter and buttermilk in it (this process is mostly done in the early morning hours when the temperature is cooler in India, which makes it easy for the butter to separate from buttermilk). This separated butter is then melted over medium-low heat until its simmering. As the water in the butter slowly evaporates, the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan. After all the water has evaporated (the butter will stop making a sputtering sound), it’s removed from the heat, and poured through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to remove the milk solids. This filtered/clarified butter is pure Ghee.
How much ghee to consume:
Remember, excess of anything is bad! According to Ayurveda one teaspoon of ghee early morning with warm water will do wonders to you digestive as well as overall health. Nutritionist suggests restricting the use of ghee to 2 teaspoons a day. To get the best results from eating ghee, you should also see to it that you are controlling the other fatty/fried food consumption. Ghee should be a part of your balanced diet.
Ghee is best when you prepare it at home. If you don’t have time to prepare it at home or to buy it from a local Indian grocery store, you can order it online from Amazon.com. Here are some good quality options I found: