Ghee, perhaps more commonly known as clarified butter, has been around for hundreds of years, originating in ancient India. It’s long shelf life, high smoke point and ability to keep at room temperature made it a staple in many Asian countries. It has been shown to aid in weight loss, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation in the gut.
Oh, and did I mention, as a by-product of butter, it’s delicious as well? Yeah. Ghee is pretty awesome!
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a clarified butter rich in essential fats and vitamins. It is made by simmering butter until it is fully melted and skimming off the milk residue that comes to the top. This leaves nothing but pure fat. Being free of any milk means it does not have to be refrigerated and that those with lactose intolerance are able to consume it free of any GI distress.
Health Benefits of Ghee
Ghee contains many nutrients and different types of fats that are beneficial to our health.
Ghee contains medium chain fatty acids, which can be processed through the liver and used as an energy source, not contributing to weight gain like other fatty acids. This makes ghee a great energy source for athletes or other very active people.
Ghee contains butyric acid, which is known to stimulate t-cell production, a key component of our immune system.
The butyric acid contained in ghee helps to reduce inflammation. In particular, it has been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut, making it a great addition for those with ulcerative colitis or other inflammatory disorders.
Between the vitamin A, butyric acid and linoleic acid, this makes ghee an antioxidant powerhouse, reducing oxidative stress throughout the body.
As I mentioned, the process of making ghee removes any dairy from the butter, making it a great dairy-free option for those with allergies or sensitivities.
How to Cook With Ghee
Now, it is worth reiterating the fact that ghee is pure fat. This means that, while there are many health benefits, ghee should be used in moderation. It should not be an even trade for butter, as overconsumption can lead to weight gain. That being said, when used in moderation, ghee has many health benefits and is just as tasty as regular butter- if not better!
Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter, making it the perfect choice for sautéing or pan frying. It is also a great addition to smoothies as a healthy fat source. Being free of casein and any milk by-products, it is typically well tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. Ghee’s slightly nutty, buttery flavor makes it an easy addition to most meals, providing a healthy source of fat to keep you feeling fuller longer between meals.