When most people think of ghee, or clarified butter, they don’t often associate that with something healthy. While we’ve been educated to believe that all fat is bad it’s important to look a bit more closely because ghee is actually a super-food and something you should be including in your diet every day.
What is ghee?
Ghee is made by boiling butter very slowly over a low heat. In this process all of the milk solids and buttermilk separate from the butter oil, the remainder is strained out so all that is left is pure butter oil (which doesn’t actually need to be kept in the fridge).
While Ayurvedics have known about the benefits of ghee for thousands of years, now it’s the latest trend with A-listers and socialites like Kourtney Kardashian tweeting that she has ghee first thing in the morning.
Why is it so good for you?
The main benefit of ghee is that it kindles agni and increases the body’s natural digestive fire. It’s also full of sweet and cool qualities. This helps increase the body’s ability to digest food and also how well we can absorb and assimilate it.
Ghee is the nectar of life, it nourishes our immune system and represents (ojas), our life force (prana) and all of our seven tissues (dhatus) as well as mobilising nutrients throughout the body. Eating ghee not only increases intelligence and improves memory but it lubricates the organs and connective tissues, increasing flexibility in the body. It also slows aging, increases longevity, improves the lustre of hair and heals wounds.
With sweet and cooling qualities ghee also helps prevent sweet cravings, as you’ll naturally feel cared and loved so there will be no need for eating those foods.
In case you need another few reasons
While ghee is 65 percent saturated fat, it actually reduces LDL, or the bad cholesterol. Using ghee decreases the glycemic index of anything you’re making – which is good since the lower the GI, the slower energy is released into your bloodstream (exactly what you want).
Ghee also stays in its liquid form and can be used to move cholesterol and in a detox can be effective in carrying herbs through to the tissues.
As an oil substitute
Another reason ghee is so good is because of its high smoke boiling point – it doesn’t go rancid or become broken down to form free radicals in the cooking process. The reason for this is because it’s pure butterfat – the natural fat found in milk, butter and other dairy products. Ghee’s boiling point is 232 degrees while butter and coconut oil are at 176 degrees.
The higher the boiling point, the better the oil is for you. For example, people think that olive oil is good – but actually you shouldn’t cook with it as the boiling point is very low.
How much ghee should we be having?
How much ghee you should be eating is dependent on your specific body type, this is because we all have our own personal pathway to optimum health. Vata body types need the most ghee (two teaspoons in cooking each day); pitta’s do well with a medium amount and kapha’s need the least.
A good starting point is one teaspoon a day, used in cooking, as it will lubricate joints, prevent reflux and bloating, improve colon issues and help you to have a good night’s sleep - all particularly effective when you’re on a detox. You can find more about our detox programs here.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try one teaspoon of ghee boiled in milk (just before bed).
Ghee also helps with constipation – one teaspoon in hot water, also just before bed.