Is Ghee Unhealthy? Let’s Find Out
Ghee is a clarified butter product and has more fat than butter because the water and milk solids have been removed.
Ghee is a clarified or drawn butter that has its existence primarily in Indian cuisine. Clarification is the process of separating milk solids and water from fat during heating. You can make ghee by cooking butter for longer than clarified butter, enabling milk solids to be brown before being filtered off. Ghee has a deeper, nuttier taste than ordinary clarified butter because of this. There are various misconceptions about ghee being a fattening food. However, it imparts multiple health benefits if you eat it in moderation and with the right foods.
In India, people practise a centuries-old system of alternative medicine called Ayurveda. Ghee is a part of the Ayurveda recommended meals. You can utilise ghee in conjunction with herbal therapy. Ghee has recently acquired popularity as a better alternative to regular butter due to its purported spiritual and medical benefits. It has a high smoke point, so you can use it for cooking or as a base for gravies and stews. Furthermore, ghee is high in monounsaturated fats, and studies have shown it has health benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels.
Ghee is incredibly healthy because it is one of the most saturated animal fats. Saturated fats are good for the heart because they help lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol levels. Additionally, ghee contains monounsaturated fats, which are also beneficial for the heart. Monounsaturated fats can help decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels. Ghee might even be healthier than olive oil because it contains fewer unhealthy saturated fats like trans fat. Trans fat increases the risk for heart disease by raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol levels.
Nutritional Value of Ghee
Ghee, like most cooking oils, is 100% fat with some Vitamin A, E and D. It contains no carbs since it purely consists of fat. Ghee includes trace protein levels if you don’t remove the milk solids (whey) during the clarifying process. Ghee has omega-3 fatty acids, which are suitable for the brain and heart.
As per USDA, 100g of ghee provides:
- Energy: 900 kcal
- Fat: 100 g
- Vitamin A: 4000 IU
- Cholesterol : 300 mg
The HealthifyMe Note
Ghee (clarified butter) does not have too many nutrients in it. However, the high-fat content (monounsaturated fat) is responsible for various health benefits. Since it lacks many nutrients, it is best to consume ghee with foods that offer other essential nutrients and minerals.
Health Benefits of Ghee
Ghee is clarified butter made from cow, sheep, or buffalo’s milk. Ghee is high in monounsaturated fat and has many health benefits.
Some of the health benefits of ghee include:
Ghee Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels.
According to studies, ghee is a high-fat product with healthful Omega-3 fatty acids that support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Moreover, using ghee in a balanced diet can help lower your cholesterol levels. However, ghee contains natural cholesterols, so you should eat it in moderation.
May Improve Heart Health
Ghee is a food rich in fat but contains monounsaturated fats, which are good for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Research suggests that a high monounsaturated fat intake is associated with reduced coronary risk. Another study shows no conclusive harmful effects of the moderate consumption of ghee in the general population.
Helps Reduce Inflammation
Butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid found in ghee, is associated with reduced inflammation. Therefore, you can use ghee topically to treat burns or wounds in alternative medicine. Also, studies show it can calm inflammation of burn wounds. In addition, ghee reduces inflammation, lubricates joints and soothes the pain of arthritis.
Improves Blood Sugar Levels
Ghee, or clarified butter, has been used in traditional Indian medicine to help treat diabetes. The fatty acids found in ghee aid in helping the body metabolise and balance blood sugar.
Ghee Improves Skin Health
Ghee is an excellent way to moisturise your skin and make it look healthy because it contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. It also helps neutralise free radicals and nourish the skin.
Activating fat cells and mobilising them are said to help with weight loss. For example, ghee contains Omega 3 fats which produce lean body mass, while omega6 fats reduce excess body fat.
Helps with Digestion
Butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid found in ghee, has been associated with reduced inflammation and better digestive health in human and animal studies. Ghee can help in boosting digestion. It repairs the stomach lining and can be especially helpful for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease.
Ghee Contains Antioxidants
Ghee contains a lot of antioxidants. These antioxidants can protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Ghee is a good source of vitamin E as well. Studies have shown that Vitamin E has substantial antioxidant effects. Vitamin E and other antioxidants help with a reduced incidence of cancer, arthritis, and cataracts. Furthermore, ghee can help prevent cell and tissue damage, which can lead to illnesses.
Ghee is one of the best sources for self-massage. This oil is cooling and calming in nature. If you have trouble sleeping, then try massaging your temples with ghee.
Reduces Bladder Pain
Several healthcare experts recommend administering cow ghee in the morning to reduce bladder pain. In chronic fever, you can include garlic cloves with cow ghee in the diet. Dry mouth and taste buds can be relieved by placing amla powder mixed with raisins and cow ghee in the mouth for a few minutes. Haritaki powder mixed with cow ghee is advised for stomach aches, as it acts as an antispasmodic. Cow ghee mixed with sugar can be helpful as an alternative to Triphala decoction, which often causes side effects.
Helps in Post-surgery Recovery
In ancient India, cow ghee was used as a base to make wicks that people used post-surgery. They also apply it over operated sutures for quick recovery in ayurvedic practices. To treat piles and fistulas, you can use a special preparation called Kshara, incorporating cow ghee. Cow ghee’s outstanding healing properties make it an ideal choice after injury or procedure. In children, during ear lobe puncturing, cow ghee is inserted first so it can reduce pain and irritation while easing piercing.
Ghee Benefits Eyesight
Cow ghee, a by-product of the clarified butter extract from butter, can be prepared by mixing Triphala powder and honey. People believe that cow ghee with Triphala improves vision. Applying cow ghee to one’s eyes is believed to improve and strengthen eyesight. One can use cow ghee for soothing effects when slight itching or burning sensation occurs in their eye.
Beneficial for Growth of Kids
Ghee is an absolute must for kids. It offers a lot of nourishment and helps them grow, strengthens their bones, muscles, and more. In addition, ghee provides instant energy to kids and satisfies their need for an extra boost in energy.
The HealthifyMe Note
Moderate ghee consumption offers various health benefits. For example, it can improve heart health, promotes sleep, improves skin health, reduce bladder pain etc. However, combining it with other healthy foods is essential to reap the maximum health benefits of ghee.
Precautions and Certain Things to Keep in Mind
Since ghee is a dairy product, those allergic to milk proteins could provoke an immune response in the form of rash, hives, vomiting or diarrhoea. Similarly, those with lactose intolerance can experience bloating, gas or stomach upset if they eat ghee. However, ghee may lower allergic reactions since you filter it, removing milk protein. If you know you have a milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance, talk to your doctor about whether ghee should be a part of your diet.
Saturated fat consumption has a wide range of effects on people. For example, limit your ghee or butter intake to 1–2 tablespoons per day if your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels tend to rise in response to a high saturated fat diet.
Caution for Heart Patients
Ghee’s cholesterol may oxidise during the high-heat processing method. The presence of oxidised cholesterol can cause an increased risk of a variety of ailments, including heart disease. However, it is not recommended for heart patients since it may raise the risk of a heart attack. Also, this is due to fatty acids, which increase blood pressure and render people more vulnerable to heart attacks.
Stay away from ghee if you have liver issues like jaundice or fatty liver. Likewise, cow ghee should be avoided by those with disorders like jaundice or gastrointestinal pain, as it might cause serious organ issues.
Ghee contains CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), which helps some individuals lose weight, but it is also a calorie-dense and fat-rich substance. So despite its health advantages, excessive ghee use can lead to weight gain and raise the risk of obesity.
Some Healthy Recipes
Paleo Lemon Ghee Chicken
- Chicken thighs, bone-in skin-on: 8
- Juiced lemon: 1
- Ghee: 1 tbsp
- Coconut cream: 1/4 cup
- Garlic powder: 1/2 tsp
- Salt: 1/2 tsp
- Chopped fresh rosemary: 2 tbsp
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and arrange the chicken thighs in a 13×9-inch baking pan, skin side down.
- Season gently with salt and turn over so the skin side faces up.
- Combine lemon zest, juice, ghee, coconut cream, garlic powder, salt, and rosemary in a medium pot.
- Stir everything together over medium heat until it’s thoroughly blended.
- Pour the sauce over the thighs and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Increase the oven temperature to 500°F and bake for another 5-10 minutes if you want the skin to be crispy.
Banana with Ghee and Cinnamon
- Banana: 1
- Ghee: 1 tsp
- Cinnamon: 2 pinch
- Dried ginger: 2 pinch
- Deep-fry the bananas in ghee for the finest results.
- Otherwise, slice bananas and sautee them in ghee, carefully turning to avoid turning them into mush.
- You can add spices as a garnish. Cardamom, an Ayurvedic favourite, is an option.
Storage and Food Safety of Ghee
Ghee adds flavour to dishes and is an integral part of Indian kitchens. Moreover, it has many health benefits and a pleasant fragrance. While store-bought ghee will last a long time, homemade ghee can be preserved by following these easily achievable tips.
- The warmth in the air would degrade the freshness of ghee. To keep it from spoiling, put it in a jar with an airtight seal and store it in a cool, dark, and dry place. You could store it at room temperature if you live in a cool climate or store it in the fridge if you live in a warm environment.
- It would be best to store ghee in an airtight container to protect it from moisture. The storage time of a batch of ghee will depend on the following factors: moisture, taste, and cleanliness.
- Keeping ghee in a larger container will prevent it from getting spoiled. Instead, use a small container for everyday use, which you can refill when needed.
- If you buy a lot of ghee and are concerned that it may spoil soon, you can freeze it. Pour all of the ghee into a freezer-safe jar. When frozen, your ghee will last for more than a year. Before putting your ghee on a hot pan, ensure it has thawed.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter made from cow or buffalo milk. Ghee has many health benefits, including being high in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. Some of the health benefits of ghee include promoting heart health, fighting inflammation, and helping to reduce diabetes symptoms. Ghee is a part of several therapies in Ayurveda, a centuries-old system of alternative medicine practised in India.
In a nutshell, one must consume it in moderation as it may cause obesity and heart diseases. People with milk allergy or lactose intolerance should avoid it. People with liver problems and disorders like jaundice should also avoid ghee.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it good to eat ghee daily?
A. Yes. Ghee is excellent as long as it’s not consumed more than a few teaspoons daily. However, ghee contains saturated fats, which can lead to heart disease and bad cholesterol levels if you have too much.
Q. What are the health benefits of ghee?
A. Ghee is healthy for your heart and reduces cholesterol levels. Besides this, ghee offers various health benefits, including reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar levels, improving eyesight, boosting digestion, preventing cell damage, offering healthy skin, etc.
Q. What are the disadvantages of ghee?
A. It has fewer calories than butter. However, consuming excessive amounts of ghee can negatively affect your health.
Q. Who should not eat ghee?
A. Some people with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, should not eat ghee because it can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Pregnant women should avoid overeating ghee because it could lead to indigestion or an upset stomach. If a person has liver and spleen disease, then consumption of ghee is not suitable for health.
Q. Does ghee increase weight?
A. The advice is to go from 2 teaspoons to not more than that, an excess of it can make you gain weight. Also, the ghee has Omega 3 and 6 fats so it can improve weight during your weight loss.
Q. Does eating ghee make your skin glow?
A. Ghee can help your skin stay plump and may reduce stress. In addition, it helps in improving the brightness of the skin because of the antioxidants it possesses.
Q. Can we take ghee at night?
A. For those with insomnia, ghee may provide an alternative remedy. Mix one teaspoon of pure cow ghee at bedtime with a lukewarm glassful of water and ingest it. You must not eat anything after taking this type of remedy.
Q. Is ghee good for the brain?
A. Ghee promotes healthy brain function and increases memory. It also detoxifies the body, an essential agent for this purpose.
Q. How much ghee can I eat per day?
A. For good health and weight, 2-5 tbsp of ghee is recommended. Make sure to eat ghee from cow milk as it is the best quality ghee available.
Q. Does ghee increase belly fat?
A. Ghee contains almost no lactose and casein, making it suitable for those who can’t digest dairy. So, it is a fantastic weight loss ingredient and helps burn fat in your stomach.
Q. Which is better, ghee or oil?
A. Ghee is a healthy fat, while refined oils produce food that becomes unhealthy when deep-fried. Hence, it is better to use ghee in moderation.
Q. Is ghee good for bones?
A. Ghee, in limited quantities, can strengthen your bones. Ghee is one of the best immunity boosters in Indian society.
Q. Is olive oil or ghee better?
A. Ghee is not high in saturated fats and is a good choice for heart health, considering it contains less than olive oil.
Q. Who should avoid ghee?
A. Ghee is not suitable for people who have cardiovascular diseases and are obese.
Q. Is ghee good for weight loss?
A. Ghee is a healthy fat that can help you lose weight. It provides your body with omega-3 fats (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and omega-6 (CLA), both beneficial for those trying to lose weight.
Q. How many calories in 10gm ghee?
A. Ten grams of ghee offers about 90 calories.