6 Ancient Health Benefits of Ghee
Ghee is the holy grail of dairy products. It is a form of highly-clarified butter that has traditionally been used in Asian cooking and stems from Ayurveda’s healing roots. The process of converting butter to ghee involves melting it to remove the milk solids - meaning the final result has significantly fewer dairy sugars and proteins (even more digestible for those who are lactose sensitive). This simple change in form may make it a great alternative for anyone navigating a dairy intolerance. Unlike butter, ghee won’t turn rancid at room temperature and retains its original flavor and freshness for up to a year.
While other fats and oils can slow down the body’s digestive process and give us that heavy feeling in our stomach, ghee stimulates the digestive system by encouraging the secretion of stomach acids to break down food. Ghee is one of our must-reach-for cooking essentials, because of both the nutty flavor and the high burning temperature. If you’re looking for any reason to make this simple switch, check out these six health benefits below.
1. Good Lactose-Free Alternative
Lactose sensitivities and intolerances are one of the most common found in our modern society. Lactose, is the sugar found in milk products, which is broken down in our bodies by the enzyme lactase. However, we are born with a finite amount of lactase in our bodies which are intended to break down a mother’s breast milk. As we burn through our lactase stores, it’s unsurprising that so many people develop lactose intolerance as they age.
This is where ghee comes in handy; the process of clarifying the butter helps to reduce the lactose content found in traditional butter, meaning it’s easy to digest for those with lactose sensitivities.
2. Stimulates Digestive System
Ayurveda is an ancient healing practice that is largely focused on promoting digestion for good health. It is believed that ghee stimulates digestive fire (agni), as well as the other digestive secretions and enzymes needed to help break down foodstuffs and carry them throughout the body. It also maintains its healthy coating within the stomach lining, which protects the stomach from its acids that are needed to break down some foods.
3. Aromatic Flavor for Different Cuisines
Studies have shown that eating a wide range of foods and cuisines is one of the best practices we can adopt for our health. And it makes sense right? Eating a wide profile of foods will increase your nutrient intake tenfold. Ghee, despite being traditionally used in Indian foods, provides an aromatic flavor across a wide variety of different cuisines, and offers a chance to practice different cooking techniques that ultimately promote healthy habits in the kitchen. Ghee is also shelf-stable and has a high smoke point, making it your ideal cooking oil.
4. Good Source of Monounsaturated Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Lately, we’ve been rediscovering the magic of healthy fatty foods, and that they may not be as bad as we have previously been lead to believe. One of those fats that we should be trying to seek more of in our day-to-day diet is the monounsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. Typically we have been told this is only available in fish, but further studies have indicated that clarified butter, or ghee, offers an abundance of this essential macronutrient.
5. Rich In Fat-Soluble Vitamins; D, E, K, A
As ghee is a wonderful source of healthy fats, it is only fitting that it is a robust source of all four fat-soluble vitamins (D, E, K, and A). These are essential nutrients required for the body to function properly, which all play vital roles in the healthy function of bone, brain, heart, immune, and endocrine systems.
6. Reduces Inflammation in the Body
By now, many of us have come to understand that almost any chronic disease stems from chronic inflammation in the body. While acute inflammation is a healthy response to immediate trauma or injury, sites of chronic inflammation tend to be a pathway to serious disease. Thankfully, ghee is a wonderful anti-inflammatory food. This is thought to be because of a short-chain fatty acid, butyric acid. It has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, also supports healthy insulin levels and gallbladder function, and may be helpful for gut disorders such as IBS and ulcerative colitis.
As ghee is such delicious and nutritious food, it’s probably time to start working it into your dishes! It’s always best to consider organic, grass-fed options, as they are typically more nutrient-dense than their grain-fed counterparts - but did you know that ghee is incredibly easy to make at home? Here’s our simple method.