Ghee (also known as clarified butter) is a staple of Asian and Arabic cooking and is created by separating milk solids and water from the fat in butter. Butter is simmered over heat and as the water evaporates, the milk solids that float to the surface are skimmed off to remove any impurities. The milk proteins which sink to the bottom are also discarded leaving a clear liquid fat which is rich in vitamins. The simmering of the butter creates an aromatic and nutty flavour.
Here’s 6 reasons why nutrient rich ghee is better for you:
1. Ghee is very high in vitamin A as well as containing vitamins E and K. These vitamins are fat-soluble which are stored in the gastrointestinal tract and which help to maintain a healthy metabolism.
2. Ghee is a medium chain fatty acid and, like coconut oil, has many properties which are linked to weight loss. Ghee contains essential omega fatty acids such as CLA (Conjugated Linolenic Acid). CLA has been shown to cause fat loss and improve body composition in research from the Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology in Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Other studies have shown that CLA content is 300-500% higher in beef and dairy from grass-fed cows, compared to grain-fed cows. These benefits are also gained through the consumption of ghee from grass fed cows.
3. Ghee is an important ingredient in Ayurvedic practice as it is thought that ghee removes toxins which are difficult for the body to eliminate as well as improving gall bladder function and helping digestion. Ghee is the main ingredient for some Ayurvedic medicines as it helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
4. Ghee is a great option if you have an intolerance to lactose or casein (caseins are proteins found in milk) as these have been removed during the skimming and straining process. Despite the negligible amounts of lactose and casein, caution is still needed if you have a dairy allergy which causes an anaphylactic reaction.
5. Ghee is great to use for sautéing or frying as it has a higher smoke point (250 °C) than regular butter (190 °C) and is much better for you than using vegetable oils.
6. The process of making ghee intensifies the flavour so you won’t need as much to get that smooth ‘buttery’ taste so it’s great to use as a spread on bread, tossed over steamed or roast veggies or in place of any other recipe that calls for a cooking oil.
When shopping for ghee there will be differences in taste, colour and texture due to the quality of the butter used and how long the butter was simmered. Organic and grass fed ghee will have a lovely yellow colour and smooth texture. Look out for ‘vegetable ghee’ which is a poor cheaper imitation of the real stuff and which can contain trans fats.