Is Ghee Healthy? Here's What the Science Says
Lately, ghee is being viewed with an eye of skepticism and held culprit for weight gain. But is golden butter oil really as bad as common perception has made it? It helps to unfold the story of the once-revered food item, Ghee! While ghee was considered one of the healthiest foods to be consumed in India due to the health benefits of ghee, the negative marketing has brainwashed people into perceiving it as fattening. Even the West has had significant influence into making most of us think this way about ghee. Although, now things are changing and clarified butter, which is a westernised name of ghee, has started to be revered again.
With the initiation of adoption of ghee in our daily diet, we should pay much heed to whether there are immense health benefits of ghee, and if it does, what are they. To help you stay aware of this Indian superfood and prevent you from falling to one of those negative marketing gimmicks, we have unfolded the whole truth about ghee and health benefits of ghee.
What is Ghee?
Upon the simmering of butter, what is left is a golden yellow liquid called ghee. It has been used in India for eons and is considered sacred due to its immense health benefits. Ghee contains multifarious nutrients and can be used in a lot of ways, both internally and externally. To reap such health benefits of ghee, it was used in all parts of the country, in a range of dishes, be it rice, chapatis, dal, or any other dish.
The Shift from Ghee to Other Oils
While ghee was widely used in all parts of India a few decades ago, the companies selling refined oil looked to gain from the Indian markets and began negatively marketing ghee to be fattening and damaging to the body. This was aimed at replacing the demand of ghee with refined oil, which they were successful in doing. The ones who were aware, health conscious, and could afford, turned to the healthier alternative—olive oil. Ghee was demoted by almost everyone, be it doctors or nutritionists. Refined oil, as the name suggests, is procured after thorough refining and use of chemicals. The whole truth is always uncovered and is displayed brighter than ever! People are steadily becoming aware about the ill-effects of refined oil and how it is hollow in its nutritional value, providing no good to the human body. It is one of the most prominent causes of increased cases of heart attacks. As the negative impact of refined oil is being uncovered, people are starting to realise how beneficial the holy ghee is, leading to revival in its adoption in everyday cooking. Not just India, even the foreign countries are seeing a rise in demand for ghee due to the health benefits of ghee and it is being sold as a premium product.
Internal Health Benefits of Ghee
- It is common for people to argue that ghee shouldn’t be consumed as it is high in saturated fats. While it does contain high levels of saturated fats, it has SCFA—short chain fatty acids—which are quickly utilised by the body without the need to be broken down in the small intestine. SCFA are unique to ghee, which makes it scientifically possible to argue that ghee does not lead to fat gain.
- Rather, it possesses the ability to cut stubborn fat due to being rich in CLA, which helps bring back the cells to its original size. This scientific reasoning aids ghee’s case when it comes to including it in the diet for weight loss.
- Smoke point is the temperature at which breakage of fatty acid bonds is witnessed, making it unfit for consumption. Using ghee for cooking is highly recommended, even for deep frying, as it has a smoke point which is higher than its alternatives.
- Diabetes is a major health issue all around the world. Using ghee as oil for cooking can help tremendously in curing the disease as it lowers the glycemic index, which means blood sugar levels do not climb dramatically; rather, the increase of the levels is gradual, making it miraculous for people with diabetes. The lowering of glycemic index also helps the body assimilate the nutrients in a better way, helping you reap the most out of the ingested food. Additionally, control your diabetes with these foods.
- Ghee is well known for aiding the digestion process and curing most of the problems related to the digestive system. This is due to the presence of butyric acid, which is what our body converts dietary fibre into. When we consume ghee, the body gets butyric acid to work with, thus making it easier for the body to do its functioning. Prebiotics significantly help in the digestion process as it paves a way for the gut-friendly bacteria to thrive, and the short chain fatty acids present in ghee have been recognised as a prebiotic, making ghee a perfect inclusion in the meals to cure digestive issues and keep your gut healthy.
- Ghee is commonly viewed to be an oil which causes high cholesterol; however, it is a false perception. Ghee is effective in reducing bad cholesterol and is healthy for the heart due to the presence of an abundance of antioxidants, CLA, and vitamins which are fat soluble, such as A, D, and E.
Ghee: Is It Good for You?
While the aforementioned concrete reasons to include ghee in your diet should be enough for you to make the shift, the list of endless benefits of cow ghee goes on! For anyone witnessing their energy levels to stoop low, ghee could prove to be a saviour. A lot of us face hormonal issues due to a variety of reasons. Ghee can aid in subsiding these issues related to hormones by balancing them. It even boosts fertility and aids in the best functioning of the brain. Even people looking for relief from joint pains or building muscle mass must resort to ghee as it could help immensely. This holy oil is incredible for your skin as well, making it worthy of being a part of your skin care routine.
External Health Benefits of Ghee
From the aforementioned health benefits of ghee, we can clearly see how it is beneficial for our internal body. However, the health benefits of ghee extend to our external self.
- It is recommended to add a drop of ghee in the nostrils as it nourishes all the parts above the collar bone, including eyes, neck, hair, and even brain. This proves to be beneficial for the health of the skin as well, leading to nourished and glowing skin. Improved eyesight and black hair are other benefits of practicing this tip.
- Massaging your navel using some ghee is a must-do as it comes with numerous benefits such as boosting immunity, aiding digestion, and even lubricating the joints.
With such immense external health benefits of ghee, its regular internal and external usage is highly recommended.
Surprising Facts About Ghee
It is safe to say that ghee is the purest form of fats, which does not contain any impurities or milk solids, making it safe to be consumed by people with lactose intolerance or the ones who simply do not prefer ingesting lactose. It is extremely versatile and hence you can spread it on top of your favourite dal, curries, and even chapati. It is suitable for consumption for anyone regardless of the body type, gender, fitness level, etc. While one must keep a track of the amount of ghee they are consuming daily, the use of 2-4 tsp of the holy oil is the amount you cannot go wrong with. Unlike refined oil, ghee possesses pleasing odour and flavour; therefore, upon being added to the dishes, it enhances the flavours, making it wholesome.
One of the problems we often face during everyday cooking is the concern with the expiration date of the cooking oil. With ghee, we do not have to worry as when stored properly, ghee does not go bad.
With the aforementioned health benefits of ghee, it is clear that it should be the preferred oil for everyday cooking. The revival in its adoption is something that could make the world a healthier place. Although, please make sure to not indulge yourself in too many sweets made using ghee as moderation is the key. This superfood should not be combined with curd and even honey. While you can easily find ghee in your nearby store, ensure the use of A2 ghee, which is obtained from the milk of desi cow. This is due to gir cow ghee benefits in ayurveda.
As the whole truth about ghee, including the health benefits of ghee, has been revealed by Auric, we recommend you to make a shift as soon as possible!
Authored By : Poorvi Chhajer
About Author : Poorvi is a psychology graduate with a knack for writing and belief in ayurveda.