Ghee is a type of clarified butter which means it’s butter with water and milk solids removed. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Ghee is a type of clarified butter which means it’s butter with water and milk solids removed. (Representational image: Unsplash)

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Ghee is a type of clarified butter which means it’s butter with water and milk solids removed. It is mostly used in Middle East and India

What is Ghee?

Ghee is a clarified butter. It doesn't contain water or milk solids. As compared to fat, it is more concentrated.

It has been used in Indian cooking since ancient times. 'Ghee' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'Sprinkled'.

Ghee does not need to be stored in refrigerators, it is stable at room temperature for many weeks and it may become solid when kept in the refrigerator.

Ghee has a longer shelf life than butter. It can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 1 year.

What is Ghee made of?

Ghee can be made at home using one ingredient only (unsalted butter). The procedure hardly takes 15- 20 minutes. A pound of butter is cut into pieces and added to a pan on low heat.

The butter is allowed to melt while removing any milk solids that float on the surface. The butter is heated until the water completely evaporates leaving milk solids in the pan which turn dark brown.

The remaining oil is the clarified liquid fat (the ghee). It is allowed to cool and then a coffee filter or cheesecloth is used to strain the ghee into a container with a lid.

It is more nutritious than standard clarified butter because it is treated with low heat (under 100 F).

Ghee is a type of clarified butter which means it’s butter with water and milk solids removed. (Representational image: Unsplash)
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What are the uses of ghee?

  • To add flavor to the food.

  • To cook vegetables and meats.

  • As an alternative to butter for lactose-intolerant people.

  • In Indian cuisines like halwa, biryani, naan, etc.

  • Along with ayurvedic medicines which it is called 'Ghrita'.

Ghee is widely used in Indian cuisines like halwa, biryani, naan, etc. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Ghee is widely used in Indian cuisines like halwa, biryani, naan, etc. (Representational image: Unsplash)

What are the benefits of using ghee?

Ghee is a good source of fat for people who are lactose intolerant. Only trace amounts of lactose and casein are present in ghee, which are milk sugars and proteins.  

One tablespoon of ghee contains 130 grams of calories and 15 grams of fat.

Ghee is a good source of Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Ghee is more nutritious than standard clarified butter because it is treated with low heat. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Ghee is more nutritious than standard clarified butter because it is treated with low heat. (Representational image: Unsplash)

Ghee is a saturated fat. One should not consume more than 6 % of calories coming from saturated fats. For eg: In a 2000 kilo-calorie diet per day, 120 calories may come from saturated fats (eg butter, ghee, etc). That means about 2 1/2 teaspoons of ghee (per day). Do not glorify ghee just because Ayurveda says so. All saturated fats are bad, ghee is just one example. Note: For cooking purposes, prefer unsaturated fats: eg vegetable sources (they remain liquid at room temp). Saturated fats are solid at room temp (eg ghee, butter, coconut oil). Avoid trans fat, of course.

Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada, MD (Neonatologist), Founder and CEO of MedBound & MedBound Times

There are certain benefits of ghee:

1. Good for heart:

Ghee has a high concentration of monosaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for the heart and blood vessels. According to various studies, using ghee in a diet can reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels in the body.

2. Good for skin:

Ghee helps in the faster healing of wounds by increasing collagen in the skin and making it strong.

3. Less toxic compound:

Studies have found that heating ghee can produce a toxic compound called Acrylamide and it is less toxic than the compounds produced by cooking oil.

4. Anti-inflammatory:

Ghee contains butyrate, a fatty acid that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ghee has been used alongside herbal medicines since ancient times. It is used to treat skin burns and swelling.

5. Increase Vitamin A intake:

Ghee boosts vitamin A intake, hence helping to improve eye health and immune functions.

6. Reduce obesity:

Ghee contains conjugated linoleic acid which helps to fight obesity and cut body fat.

What are the adverse effects of Ghee?

1. Weight Gain:

The conjugated linoleic acid has been shown to reduce obesity in people. However, the fact cannot be denied that ghee is a calorie and fat-rich food. Eating excess ghee can cause weight gain.

2. Heart Diseases:

When the ghee is produced at high temperature, its cholesterol can oxidize and this oxidized cholesterol is not good for heart health. It can cause blockage in the blood supply causing various conditions.

References:

1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ghee

2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ghee-good-for-you

3. https://pharmeasy.in/blog/15-amazing-health-benefits-of-ghee/

By Dr. Pragati Priya

MSM

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