Can you imagine khichdi without ghee-- one of the 4 yaars (friends of khichdi)? Hot puffed up rotis with a generous layer of ghee are just the best! I still remember the wonderful aroma of ghee from my childhood, when my mom & grandma made it so lovingly at home. Ghee lit lamps (ghee waale diye) are used in many special occasions in many households all across India.
So is ghee good for you?
First let's find out what is ghee?
Ghee is made from clarified butter. The traditional way to make ghee is to first gently heat cow milk or buffalo milk butter until the water content evaporates. The milk solids are skimmed and then strained. The golden liquid fat that remains is ghee. Pure ghee is made only from cow milk. Ghee is used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines but now is slowly getting popular even in the West. Some people may get confused between clarified butter and ghee. Well, the major difference is that clarified butter is similar to ghee but it's generally made using high heat where as ghee is simmered on less heat or under 100°. Ghee takes longer to make than clarified butter; but due to being made on low heat it retains more nutrition and vitamins.
Vitamin C? Ghee has it! Vitamin E? It’s also present in ghee! And so are antioxidants and omega 3s and other nutrients which would be destructed at higher temperatures. Ask any Ayurvedic practitioner and they will recommend ghee! Ghee has been a major part of Ayurveda (a 6000 year old form of medicine that originated in India.) Ghee is used in many Ayurvedic medications. Since ancient times Indians have believed ghee to be sacred and used it in rituals and for worship. It was believed that when you dispense medicine with ghee you get spiritually healed as well!
Ghee not only tastes good in food but when you eat it regularly, you get many vitamins and minerals and a lot of benefits .
Some people may say that ghee is pure fat; is it healthy for me? Well it's true that it is fat and till sometime ago it was believed that eating fat meant inviting weight gain and obesity but now studies have proven otherwise ghee is high in saturated fat like butter, Now many forms of fat present in olive oil and avocado for example are considered good fat and a great addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle..
Now let's see what benefits ghee has.
- GHEE IS USEFUL FOR IMPROVING OUR IMMUNITY
Since ghee is high in antioxidants, our body can easily absorb more vitamins and minerals from whatever food we eat. This helps to make our immune system stronger. The immune system protects us from outside invasions that may enter our bodies. Ghee has Fat soluble vitamins and minerals which also help to boost our immunity.
- GHEE PROVIDES US HEALTHY FATS
Ghee does not have transfats or hydrogenated oils found in butter and other oils. Ghee provides our body essential fats which help our body to perform important functions like cell wall building and brain support. The fats in ghee protect our stomach lining from digestive acids.
- GHEE GIVES US VITAMINS AND OTHER NUTRIENTS
Ghee has essential far soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. These vitamins help to strengthen our immune systems as well as in proper functioning or the cardiac, cerebral and musculoskeletal systems of the body.
- GHEE IS GOOD FOR BLOCKED NOSE AND COUGHS
Warm ghee can be taken directly or consumed after mixing with herbs. For example if you mix a paste of tulsi/holy basil and warm ghee it will give you relief from cough.
- GHEE HAS ANTI CANCER PROPERTIES
Ghee has natural CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) if it is prepared from grass-fed cows. Studies on animals and CLA have shown the potential to fight cancer.
. However, more research is needed to confirm this for humans.
- GHEE HAS HIGH SMOKE POINT
Nutritionists believe that ghee is perfect for frying and cooking foods especially at high temperature. This is due to the high smoke point ghee has; meaning even at high temperatures, ghee does not break down into harmful free radicals nor does it generate toxic fumes like many other cooking oils. The smoke point of ghee is 500 degree F.
- GHEE IS GREAT FOR GUT HEALTH.
Did you know ghee is excellent to relieve constipation? In ancient India, ghee enemas were prevalent!! But there’s no need to adopt this method. Just including enough fibrous food and ghee in your diet can bring about relief from constipation. Some Ayurvedic practitioners recommend taking a teaspoon of ghee in milk at night, especially for pregnant women.
- GHEE GIVES US ENERGY
Ghee has abundant energy. The fatty acids present in ghee are directly absorbed by the liver. It is also great as a winter food to keep us warm internally.
- GHEE IS GREAT FOR SKIN
Have you ever tried applying ghee to your face and lips like a moisturizer or a lip balm? Your skin will feel soft and supple. It is also great as a balm to put on burns and rashes. Dark circles will be reduced if you apply ghee under eyes and leave it overnight. Many cosmetic manufacturers swear by Ghee for its amazing effects on all skin types.
- GHEE CONSUMPTION GIVES A GOOD POSITIVE MOOD
Ghee has a positive effect on our brains’ neurotransmitters which helps us to be in a happy mood. Using ghee will put you in a good mood not because it tastes good, but also because its composition affects our hormones.
THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE YOU CONSUME GHEE:
Avoid ghee if you have heart conditions or if you are obese.
The daily amount of fat to be consumed is 10 to 15 grams; so we should not exceed this.
HOW TO MAKE GHEE AT HOME:
Gently melt butter [unsalted] in a saucepan over slow medium heat. The butter will seperate into layers after a few minutes. Foam on top, milk solids at the bottom and ghee will float in between. Skim off the foam and strain the ghee .It should be of a golden hue.