Benefits both inside and outside the body.
Ghee is a purified form of butter which is a treasured ingredient found in many Desi households.
Everyone is aware of its use in cooking whether it is added to a curry or spread over your roti, it adds flavour.
Unfortunately, the common misconception about ghee is that it is full of bad fat which leads to poor health.
This must be one of the modern world’s major blunders. In fact, ghee contains beneficial fatty acids and vitamins that promote great health.
Let’s not forget the amazing skin and hair benefits from using ghee externally.
We explore the internal and external benefits of consuming and applying ghee.
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a type of clarified butter. Like butter, ghee is made from the milk of a cow that is more concentrated in fat than butter.
It contains the micronutrients and antioxidants of butter without the milk proteins (whey and casein) and lactose. This makes it suitable for lactose intolerant sufferers.
This is because its water and milk solids have been removed and this allows for the clarified butter to withstand the warm weather.
It is conventionally used in South Asian cuisine as a cooking oil/ingredient and Ayurvedic (Indian) treatment.
There are two types of ghee; cultured and uncultured. Cultured ghee involves the fermentation (culturing) of milk/cream into yoghurt. This is then churned into butter and strained into ghee.
The latter skips the step of culturing milk/yoghurt, instead, the butter is heated and cooked into ghee.
How is Ghee Made?
The process of making ghee is simple, it is heated until the liquid and solids are separated.
Its high burning point makes ghee perfect for cooking. The beauty of ghee is that it can be made at home.
It can be made at home using unsalted butter. Here are the steps to follow to make the perfect clarified butter:
- Melt butter until the milk solids separate and settle at the bottom.
- Skim the cream that has risen to the top.
- Continue to heat the butter until the milk solids turn brown, this is what gives the ghee its colour and flavour.
- Strain the liquid into a container until the browned solids have been completely removed.
- Let it sit while it cools and solidifies.
Good Source of Fat
To maintain a balanced diet, you must consume adequate portions of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibres, vitamins, minerals and water.
In this instance, ghee would fall under the fats category. Gita Ramesh, Managing Director of Kairali Ayurvedic Group, states:
“Ayurveda mentions ghee as one of the top ten food substances that must be included in a healthy diet.”
This is because unlike butter it contains stable fats like butyric and short-chain acids, making it a healthier alternative.
While the medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed directly through the liver and transformed into energy.
According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora:
“Ghee consists of fat-soluble vitamins, which aid weight loss. Ghee also plays a key role in balancing hormones and maintaining healthy cholesterol.
“It also has a high heat point, which prevents it from producing free radicals that damage cell function.”
Previously, ghee was believed to be a big no for the health conscience. It was viewed as being high in calories and detrimental to health.
After excessive research into the prosperities of ghee, it has come to attention that it is, in fact, the best form of butter.
The benefits of ghee as a good fat have travelled to the west. In 2016, Kourtney Kardashian shared her love for ghee. She said:
“Ghee is the first thing I put in my body every morning. I take one big teaspoon of ghee every morning and melt it on the stove in a pan and drink it from a cute ceramic white cup.
“After I take it, I don’t eat anything for 20 minutes, and then I drink a glass of water before eating food.”
If the idea of drinking ghee first thing in the morning makes your stomach churn then fret not.
We have other ways to incorporate this amazing staple product in your diet:
- Spread it on your roti, parantha or toast.
- Cook your curries and stir-fry with ghee.
- Drizzle melted clarified butter on popcorn.
- For all coffee lovers, replace the cream with ghee.
- Give your desserts a Desi twist with replacing ordinary butter with clarified butter.
These are just a few ways of incorporating this great product into your daily eating routine.
It is important to note; a moderate amount of this healthy fat goes a long way. Hence, do not overindulge in ghee.
According to Ayurveda, one must stay away from harmful foods like processed meat, fried foods and cold foods which can cause indigestion.
This undigested deposit can lead to toxins in the intestine which is described as the root cause of disease.
In this instance, it is important to balance your metabolism by eating healthy foods.
Dr K.C Lineesha summaries the Ayurvedic principle. She said:
“A diet of light simple food is the best. Alkalis help regulate this gastric fire. Ghee stimulates Agni (fire) and improves digestion.
“Proper chewing is essential to good digestion too.”
As a result, make your gut smile with ghee. Intestinal bacteria convert fibres into butyric acids which enables them to promote energy and a strong intestinal wall.
Ghee is packed with butyric acid and consuming it encourages a healthy digestive system.
Food and nutrition consultant, Sangeeta Khanna explains:
“Butyric acid in ghee helps to maintain a healthy intestinal microbiome, which in turn improves the gut health.
“Butyric acid is known to lower blood cholesterol as well as triglycerides, and that indicates it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent.”
Ghee is great for someone who suffers from constipation. Consume a drink which contains ghee with salt and hot water.
Clarified butter helps lubricate the inside of the intestines while the salt removes harmful bacteria.
Remember one tbsp. of ghee, a day keeps the toxins away.
Typically, the idea of ghee containing a high concentration of fat is one many belief to be true. Yet, this is false.
In fact, ghee is high in monounsaturated Omega 3. These fatty acids are also found in foods like salmon which are known to promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
While vitamins A, D, E and K which are found in ghee are also heart-friendly. In this instance, consuming ghee can lower the chances of coronary heart disease.
It is also known to balance the cholesterol level found in the body.
Yet, ghee must be consumed in moderation particularly if you are a heart patient.
This is because it still contains some levels of saturated fats which increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels if consumed excessively.
In addition to the numerous health benefits of clarified butter, the beauty benefits are paramount.
Ghee is the best-kept beauty secret of India and is one of the best anti-ageing solutions.
This is because it is packed with short, medium and long-chain fatty acids which are both unsaturated and saturated.
It also contains the fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 9, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K. Thus, this powerhouse product helps to combat dark circles, chapped lips and dry dull skin.
A great alternative to branded eye creams and serums is ghee. Gently massage a drop of ghee every night under the eyes to eliminate dark circles.
With regular application, you will see your dark circles beginning to fade.
Another skin problem is trying to fight dry dull skin. In particular, in the colder months, this is a cause for concern.
Clarified butter can help nourish skin leaving you with firm and youthful skin.
To achieve glowing and hydrated skin, apply this amazing ghee face mask:
- Mix one tbsp each of clarified butter and honey.
- Add a small amount of milk to form a paste.
- Apply this face mask to the face and neck avoiding the eye area.
- After 20 minutes wash off with lukewarm water and follow up with your moisturiser of choice.
It is also important to consider the condition of our lips. Chapped lips look and feel bad.
Applying lipstick to dry lips does not cover up the problem, rather it accentuates it. This is because the application is not smooth, therefore, making the uneven texture of our lips prominent.
To avoid this being the case, applying half a pea size of ghee over your lips will leave you with soft and supple lips. Be sure to apply ghee overnight for the best results.
The beauty of ghee is that it is an all-natural product, thus if you have sensitive skin it is an amazing option for you.
Even if you would prefer using as fewer chemicals as possible on the skin, then ghee is the way forward.
The benefits of ghee are endless. Its high moisturising and nourishing properties help improve the condition of hair.
Applying ghee to dull damaged hair will leave you with strong, shiny and healthy hair.
Everyone at some point has suffered from lack of moisture in their hair, dandruff and frizz. This causes hair to look lifeless and brittle.
The inclusion of ghee in your hair care routine will transform your hair and the condition of your scalp.
This is because clarified butter contains antioxidants and rich fatty acids which help nourish the scalp and hair follicles.
To boost hydration, follow this simple ghee hair mask recipe:
- Combine 1 tbsp each of ghee, olive oil and coconut oil into a smooth paste.
- Massage the mixture all over your hair and scalp and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Wash off with lukewarm water and a mild shampoo.
- Repeat the procedure once a week.
Alternatively, another ghee hair mask to target dandruff is as follows:
- Melt 2 tbsp of ghee in a glass bowl.
- Squeeze in half a lemon’s juice to the ghee.
- Apply the mixture on the scalp and hair and leave for 20 minutes.
- Wash hair with a mild shampoo.
- Repeat the process once a week for best results.
Another hair worry is the problem of changing hair texture. The term ‘hair texture’ defines the circumference of your hair strand.
These are classed into three types; fine, medium or coarse. This depends on the thickness of the individual hair strand.
Yet, the texture of hair may change due to numerous factors.
For example, hormonal imbalance, ageing, pregnancy, chemical hair treatments, iron deficiency, poor diet and medication are all contributing factors.
This change in hair texture can be a nuisance. Therefore, it is important to know how to tackle this.
Simply melt a tablespoon of ghee and spread it on your hair. Gently massage it into the scalp.
To reap the benefits of ghee leave it in overnight and sleep in a shower cap to prevent a greasy pillowcase.
This will not only improve hair texture but will also deep condition and promote hair growth.
It is a powerhouse product which contains various benefits both inside and outside the body.
It is time to take out the ghee we have stored in our kitchen cupboards and reap its benefits.