What is Ghee? The Butter with Extra Benefits

India's Ayurvedic medicine has been using ghee for centuries and for good reason.

What is ghee butter with benefits
Credit: iStock/Marekuliasz

You may have seen ghee on the refrigerator shelves of your favorite health food store, but what is ghee? And more importantly, what can it do for your health?

Before you can expect to benefit from ghee, this “clarified butter”, make sure you purchase a high-quality, organic version that is made from the milk of pasture-fed cows. That way, you know you are getting the crème de la crème, literally.

What is Ghee?

Ghee is a clarified type of butter that has long been a part of Indian cuisine. But before you cast it off as just that – butter that will fatten you up and clog your arteries – learn about how ghee has many benefits. It is different than regular butter and it can actually complement a slim, healthy lifestyle.

What makes milk difficult for a lot of people to tolerate is its protein, called casein. Although ghee derives from cow’s milk, it is free of casein! Because it is a clarified butter, ghee comes from milk that has been boiled to the point where the water and milk solids, most of which are protein, have been boiled off. What’s left is pure butterfat. And yes, this butterfat is high in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, normally considered risk factors for cardiovascular disease. But in controlled dosages, ghee will only improve your heart health.

How is Ghee Used?

India’s Ayurvedic medicine has been using ghee for centuries and for good reason. Studies have shown that the right dosage of ghee can decrease total cholesterol, notably of LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and cholesterol esters. A preliminary clinical study in India showed a significantly lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in men who consumed higher amounts of ghee. One study found that the consumption of ghee, up to a 10 percent level in the diet, altered blood lipid profiles in a way that does not elevate the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Ghee is an excellent fat for cooking, because it has a high smoke temperature, which means that when it is heated, it will generate fewer free radicals, which have been linked to the onset of certain types of cancer. In this way, you can further minimize risk factors for cancer and keep whatever your eating as wholesome as it inherently is.

Ghee also aids in digestion because it helps in the secretion of stomach acids and boosts brain function with its balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, the butterfat contains 18 amino acids that help to mobilize fat and shrink fat cells. Ghee also improves memory, vision and the immune system.

But ghee most certainly doesn’t stop there! Your outward appearance can also benefit from ghee as well. If you have chapped lips or a dry patch of skin, rub in a bit of ghee to solve the problem.

Switch to ghee and see if you feel the difference. You can even make your own.

Now that you’ve made the switch to organic food, but have you thought about the pots and pans you’re putting them in? Check out our guide to 9 Non-Toxic Cookware Brands to Keep Chemicals Out of Your Food.

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