What is GHEE?
Ghee, also known as drawn butter, clarified butter, and to some as “liquid gold,” is a time-tested powerhouse of nutrients used in cooking (traditionally in India) and for medicinal benefits within the Ayurvedic system. Ghee is created by heating butter to remove milk solids and water, leaving the most nutrient dense portion, the fat. The leftover oil is now more stable, has a longer shelf life, and is easily digestible by most...even those with dairy constraints! (Bauman & Friedlander, 2014).
What’s so great about it? Many things…here are 3:
First, ghee - like butter - is one of the best sources of butyric acid (butyrate). Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that makes your intestines happy. It’s so good that our “gut bugs” produce it too. The cells of the colon feed on butyrate for energy which helps them to produce a healthier intestinal lining (Duillard, 2014). In Ayurveda ghee is a trusted means to increase one’s “digestive fire” (probably due to the “gut bug” food) which will in turn improve assimilation and enhance nutritional value of food (Pitchford, 2002). In addition, butyrate has been found to have antiviral and anti-cancer properties as well as aid in prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s (Ballentine, 1999). Go butyrate!
Second, it is a great source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a medium chain fatty acid found primarily in beef and dairy of grass-fed cows. Studies have shown CLA to be beneficial in prevention or treatment of cancer, heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis, inflammation, and insulin resistance. In addition, CLA has shown successful in weight loss by reducing body fat while increasing metabolism (Mercola, 2010).
Third, ghee is functional in the kitchen! It has a high smoke point so it is one of the best oils to cook with. It has a long shelf life and can even be kept at room temperature. On top of that, it tastes great slathered on your vegetables and will help you better assimilate the nutritional content within those veggies (Wood, 2010).
The Final SPREAD
Ghee, when sourced from grass-fed/pastured animals, is loaded with powerful nutrients that aid in digestion, can help to prevent disease, is easy to cook with, and is a delicious accompaniment to any meal.
Photo provided by Divya Shivaraman www.dishingwithdivya.blogspot.com
Ballentine, R., M.D. (1999). Transition to vegetarianism. An evolutionary step. Honesdale, PA: The Himalayan Institute Press.
Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014). Foundations of nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.
John Douillard’s LifeSpa. (2014, Mar). Top Ten Reasons to Cleanse with Ghee. Retrieved from http://lifespa.com/top-ten-reasons-cleanse-ghee/
Mercola.Com. Take Control of Your Health. (2010, Jul). The secret sauce in grass-fed beef. Retrieved from: http://www.mercola.com/beef/cla.htm
(3rd ed.). Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods. Asian traditions and modern nutrition (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Wood, R. (2010). The new whole foods encyclopedia. New York, NY: Penguin Books