What is ghee and is it proven to be better than butter?
It became quite a "super fat" these days: ghee.
Praised as a healthier alternative to traditional butter, ghee provides a lot of impressive benefits.
If you have enough from the coconut oil hype, ghee might be a thing for you. In situations where you'd use coconut oil or olive oil for sautéing or baking, you could easily switch to ghee. But does it make sense to do so?
What is ghee?
Ghee has it's roots in the ancient tradition of Ayurveda. It was considered a sacred, medicinal, cleansing and nourishing food.
Basically, ghee is clarified butter. Meaning, it's 100% butter fat. A butter derivative with no lactose. Yes, you heard that right.
'Traditional' butter contains primarily butter fat, but also milk proteins and water. In order to create ghee, butter is simmered to separate the oil from the other components, which are strained off.
Here are just a handful benefits of ghee for you:
People who are lactose sensitive or intolerant usually have no problems consuming ghee, since it's made from the milk solids.
Ghee is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are absorbed directly into the liver and metabolised as energy.
Good source of cholesterol
The cholesterol in ghee is not something to fear. Levels of cholesterol rise during periods of stress or when an inflammation is present. Cholesterol rather acts as a healing agent in the body and help address the inflammation.
The protein component of milk is blamed for some milk allergies. When gut flora is compromised and casein is not being properly digested, the consumption can actually create an opiate effect in the brain.
Good source of vitamins
Especially of the vitamins K, A and E. Because the volume is reduced, the concentration of these vitamins is higher.
With all the healthy fats, it's perfect to support the vitamin absorption.
Healthy digestive tract
Ghee converts fiber into butyric acid, which is beneficial to intestinal bacteria. Furthermore, it helps to increase appetite, fostering better health and weight loss.
Ghee vs. butter
Both have similar nutritional compositions, but there are a few important differences.
Ghee is more concentrated than butter. Hence, it contains slightly more butyric acid and short-chain saturated fats. Therefore, ghee is the more nutrient-dense choice.
In fact, butter contains 12-15% medium and short-chain fatty acids, while ghee contains 25% or more. Our bodies actually metabolise these fats in a different way than long-chain fatty acids.
However, ghee is completely free of milk sugar and the milk protein casein. Whereas butter contains both of them. That is a huge plus for people who suffer from allergies or sensitivities to those dairy components. Ghee is clearly a better choice.
When it comes to cooking and food preparation, ghee may be better for high-temperature cooking. It's smoke point is 250°C/480°F, which is substantially higher than butter's smoke point (175°C/345°F).
Personally, I like the taste of ghee more. It has a rich, sweet and deliciously nutty flavour. Just a tiny amount of ghee adds a lot of flavour to your food. One tablespoon of ghee can replace up to three tablespoons of butter in a recipe.
How to use ghee
You can use ghee to replace butter as a spread on toast, on steamed vegetables or on your steak. Use it sparingly, because of it's strong flavour.
You may have heard of this trend: Adding butter to your coffee. But this works just as well with ghee. Try your "bulletproof coffee" first thing in the morning.
Healing the skin
Yes, you can use it for skincare. Start by washing the ghee carefully to purify it. Then it can be used as a fantastic moisturiser, which also may reduce the appearance of scars.
Healing the lips
Chapped or dry lips? Apply a few drops of ghee before going to bed and wake up with super soft lips.
Ghee is a ideal fat to use for deep-frying, as it has such a high smoke point. Try it, to make fried onion rings, a gluten-free fried treat.
How to store it
Pour ghee into a heatproof jar and it will last for a while. It doesn't get rancid as quickly as butter. Therefore, you can leave it out at room temperature for about 3 months. If you want to extend it's life, store it in the fridge. In there, it can last for up to a year.
Too much fat?
Keep in mind, that butter is not so bad. Cholesterol levels are not only influenced by the things you eat. Not smoking and exercising regularly will help you maintain a balanced cholesterol level.
In fact, there is no convincing evidence that saturated fat is directly linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
You don't need to cut butter or other fatty foods out of your diet. Watch your intake and eat it in moderation.