7 unexpected health benefits of ghee

It looks like butter, it’s made with butter, it kind of smells as divine as butter, so how healthy can ghee really be?


Umnia Shahid April 08, 2016
PHOTO: FILE

It looks like butter, it’s made with butter, it kind of smells as divine as butter, so how healthy can ghee really be? Ghee, or commonly referred to as clarified butter, is an absolutely delicious dietary source of fat traditionally used in desi cooking and holds a terrible reputation! As compiled from Medical Daily, organicfacts.net and culinarynutrition.com, here’s a list of benefits that will help you comprehend as to why you should incorporate ghee into your diet today.

Reduces risk of heart disease

Despite the awful press it has received over the years, ghee may, in fact, be protective against heart disease. Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque and diabetes. Because of these benefits, researchers suggest that ghee can potentially be used to help prevent cardiovascular diseases. One unfortunate result of the war on saturated fats has been the replacement of traditional foods with highly processed alternatives. Research indicates that the increase in consumption of vegetable ghee, which contains up to 40 per cent trans fatty acids, for the increase in cardiovascular disease amongst Indians. A study on a rural population in India showed that men who ate higher amounts of traditional ghee had lower incidences of heart disease than those who ate less of it.

It can help you make beautiful babies

No joke here! If you’re planning on trying to conceive anytime soon, vitamin K2 is an important nutrient to incorporate into your diet. According to the Weston A Price Foundation, vitamin K2 plays a crucial role in facial and dental development. Children born to mothers with high levels of vitamin K2 are more likely to have wide, symmetrical faces with plenty of room for straight, healthy teeth later on. The infamous ghee is actually one of the best sources of vitamin K2, making it an important food for pre-conception and pregnancy.

Heals your digestive tract

Efficient digestion is the key to good health, and if you’re dealing with any sort of digestive issues, healing your gut lining is an important first step. Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells of the intestines. According to Phyllis A Balch, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, butyric acid is “a monounsaturated fatty acid [that] reduces inflammatory conditions, reduces seepage of undigested food particles, and aids in repair of the mucosal wall.” So if you’re constantly experiencing digestion issues, reach for ghee already!

May help you lose weight

It’s not just Kourtney Kardashian who swears by ghee for her recent success at weight loss! Science backs it up too. Remember our good friend CLA? On top of its cardiovascular benefits, it’s also been shown to help prevent weight gain and aid in weight loss. According research, CLA supplementation in overweight participants showed significant weight loss over a six month period. If you’re hoping to win the battle of the bulge, replacing heavy and highly processed vegetable oils with pure ghee may be an excellent place to break your diet plateau.

Energy booster

Who would have thought that ghee doesn’t make you indolent and sluggish? The wide range of fats that constitute ghee include medium-chain fatty acids, which are very useful for the body and can be processed by the liver and burnt as energy, not passing into adipose tissue or contributing to weight gain. For athletes, growing kids, or other people with active, high-energy lifestyles, ghee can provide the necessary burst of energy that you might need to get through a particularly perplexing day.

Enhances eye health

Did you realise that ghee can do wonders for your eyes? The significant levels of vitamin A in ghee make it ideal for protecting eye health. Carotenoids are antioxidants that specialise in eliminating and neutralising the free radicals that attack the macular cells, thereby preventing macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. Looks like it’s not just carrots that you need to devour to optimise the condition of your eyes!

It is lactose friendly

Are you deprived of scrumptious cheeses and yummy chocolate milk because you’re lactose intolerant? Trust me, you’re not missing out since there is something you can gobble down which is not only delish, but also as comforting as a warm glass of doodh at night. Since ghee is made from the milk solids, the impurities have been removed, so research has proven that people who are lactose intolerant usually have absolutely no problems consuming ghee. There you have it — a comfort food minus the lactose and gluten! However, be sure to consult with your physician before trying it.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th,  2016.

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