Ghee has its origins in India and to this day is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine because of its healing properties. Ghee has been used for thousands of years, quite literally. It’s truly an “ancient” health food and is definitely not a fad.
Doesn’t ghee have a lot of fats?
The simplistic idea that eating fat makes you fat is completely wrong. Quality fats are essential to have in our diet and it’s very clear that human physiology needs fats because every membrane of every cell and every organelle inside of cells are made of fats. Healthy bile release and a healthy gallbladder requires fat, the brain is comprised of 60% fat and even detox requires fat.
Ghee fats are free of trans-fats, oxidized cholesterol or any hydrogenated oils. This makes the fat in pure ghee healthy; essential to perform vital functions such as supporting your nervous, skin and mental health, protecting your stomach lining from the digestive acids and strengthening cell membranes.
What makes it a Super food
Besides being rich in healthy fats and a wonderfully good taste, here are few properties which make ghee a must in our kitchen and diets.
Rich in fat soluble vitamins: Ghee is lactose-free and, compared to butter, much lower in cholesterol. It is also jam-packed with fat-soluble vitamins A,D, E, and K.
- These have wonderful antioxidant properties, and play a critical role in strengthening our immune systems.
- Vitamin K2 which is essential for the body to help utilise minerals, including calcium.
- It contains a unique form of vitamin D that helps with the proper functioning of the synapses in the brain, which are beneficial for mental alertness and memory.
Good for our guts: rich source of naturally occurring butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that acts as a detoxifier, it's anti-inflammatory and improves colon health.Helpful for individuals suffering from IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Anti inflammatory: Ghee helps the body fight inflammation, since it's a great source of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a healing agent whose levels naturally increase during periods of stress and inflammation.
Detox agent: Ghee is also known as a body cleanser as it removes impurities from your body. Fats, and especially omega-3 fatty acids, are strong natural antioxidants and are used to eliminate petrochemicals, pesticides and heavy metals. Grass-fed butter and ghee also contains lauric acid—a potent antimicrobial and anti-fungal substance.
Good for digestion: Ghee is known to stimulate the digestive process and is likely to aid in weight loss. Because ghee is free of casein and other milk solids, it is a great option for people with sensitivities to dairy.
Finally, ghee is a great practical addition to any kitchen. It is non-perishable, has a shelf life of up to 100 years, and unlike butter it does not need to be refrigerated. It has a relatively high smoke point when compared to other fats. This means it does not burn easily, and can tolerate much higher cooking temperatures.
It balances Pitta Dosha but it increases digestion strength (Usually, the substances that balance Pitta, also cause depletion of digestion fire)
It is conducive to Rasadhatu (essence part of digested food), Sukradhatu (semen) and Ojas. It has cooling and softening effect on the body. It adds to the clarity of the voice and complexion
Importance as medicine
Ghee is used as a base in many medicines due to its bioavailability , potential to cross the barriers in the body and useful for the brain.
- Ghee is good for the eyes, to improve appetite, maintain the quality of voice, for longevity and provides strength.
- Cow’s ghee is used as an aphrodisiac, to improve memory and concentration.
Correct way of preparing ghee
A lot of people think that ghee is simply clarified butter, prepared by collecting cream from milk and heating it. However traditionally in India, ghee involves the process of fermentation (culturing). Fermentation makes ghee less Kapha increasing, easier and light to digest.
There are two methods of preparing ghee
- From Curd: Milk is boiled, cooled and set to curdle. Curd is then churned to extract butter, which is in turn heated to get ghee.
- From Cream: Milk is boiled and cooled to separate cream which is collected for multiple days. The cream is churned to extract butter. The day before ghee preparation, little curd is added to the butter and mixed for fermentation. Next day fermented butter is heated to get ghee.