13 Health Benefits Of Ghee You Didn’t Know

By Neha Ghosh

Ghee or clarified butter is one such superfood that has a myth associated with it. It is said that ghee makes you gain weight, which isn't true. Instead, ghee has been proven to have several health benefits.

Ghee is being widely used in preparing various dishes like fried foods, sweets, etc. It is also used during pujas and has medicinal purposes as well.

ghee benefits

What Is Ghee?

Ghee is clarified butter which differs very much from the regular butter. Ayurveda lists ghee above all oily foods because it's known to have the healing benefits of butter without the impurities like saturated fat or milk solids.

How Is Ghee Made?

It's made by heating unsalted butter until it clarifies into its separate components which are lactose, milk protein and fat. It is cooked over a low flame to remove the moisture and the milk fat sinks to the bottom, making the butter clear which is called ghee.

Nutritional Value Of Desi Ghee

100 grams of ghee contain 926 kcal of energy. It also contains:

  • 100 grams total lipid (fat)
  • 1429 IU vitamin A
  • 64.290 grams saturated fat
  • 214 milligrams cholesterol
ghee nutritional value

What Are The Health Benefits Of Ghee?

1. Provides energy

Desi ghee is a good source of energy and contains medium and short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are easily assimilated, absorbed and metabolized in the liver which is later burnt as energy. Before hitting the gym, you can have a tablespoon of ghee, so that you don't feel depleted in the middle of the workout session.

2. Good for the heart

Many studies suggest that having ghee keeps your heart healthy [1]  [2]  Ghee has been found to increase good cholesterol and lower the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries. It was also considered a source of fat responsible for the greatest increase in ApoA, a protein in HDL particles that is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, says study [3] .

3. Promotes weight loss

If you are wondering how ghee can help in losing weight, here's a fact. Ghee is considered a healthier option than butter because it's low in fat. Yes, ghee is a healthy fat that can boost fat burning and speed up weight loss due to the presence of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)[4]  Ghee reduces cholesterol by increasing the lipids to boost metabolism. When you are under stress, liver produces excess cholesterol and having ghee will destress your body.

4. Helps in digestion

Ghee is an excellent source of butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid that is responsible for maintaining optimal digestive health [5] . It works by lowering inflammation, providing energy to the cells in the colon, supporting gut barrier function and stimulating stomach acid secretion which helps with proper digestion of food. This acid further gives relief from constipation as well.

5. Strengthens bones

Having small portions of ghee with your meal can meet your vitamin K requirements. Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that helps in keeping your bones and teeth healthy and strong [6] . This vitamin works by increasing the amount of bone proteins (osteocalcin) that are required to maintain the calcium in the bones.

6. Boosts the immune system

No one likes getting a cold and the symptoms associated with clogged nose - headache and no sense of taste. Ayurveda says that ghee can help soothe clogged nose by using it as a nasal drop remedy. The presence of butyric acid in ghee keeps you warm from within, thereby stimulating the T-cell production and fighting against the germs.

7. Promotes eye health

Ghee or clarified butter has good amounts of vitamin A, an antioxidant which has an important role in protecting eye health. This antioxidant is powerful enough to eliminate and neutralize free radicals that attack the macular cells. This prevents macular degeneration and the development of cataracts, says study [7]

 ghee health benefits - infographic

8. Prevents chronic diseases

Ghee contains large amounts of vitamin A that work efficiently in eliminating free radicals from the body. The antioxidant when combined with conjugated linoleic acid and butyric acid in ghee becomes a powerful anticancer substance that could help reduce oxidative stress in the body. Furthermore, these two acids also help in preventing various diseases as well [8]

9. Fights inflammation

Sometimes, inflammation can be a normal immune response to help defend the body against foreign invaders. But when inflammation for a prolonged time can contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Consuming ghee has been shown to inhibit inflammation due to the presence of butyrate acid, according to a study [9] . This will prevent inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer's diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.

10. Has a high smoking point

The smoking point is a temperature at which oil begins to start burning and smoking. Heating a cooking oil above its smoking point breaks down important phytonutrients and causes the fat to oxidize and develop harmful free radicals. However, this doesn't happen in the case of ghee because it has a high smoking point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use ghee for baking, sautéing and roasting foods.

11. Promotes skin health

Since time immemorial, ghee has been widely used in various beauty care rituals. Ghee can do wonders for your skin, thanks to the fatty acids that act as a nourishing agent. The fatty acids work well on dull skin and hydrate it. Consumption of desi ghee is extremely good to provide you with a soft and supple skin and thereby delaying ageing.

12. Tackles Hair Problems

Ghee comprises of essential fatty acids which make it a great choice for your hair care. It works as a natural moisturiser due to the presence of vitamin A[10] , soothes dry or itchy scalp and dandruff as well. Also, massaging your hair with ghee for 15 to 20 minutes increases blood circulation and boosts the thickness of the hair.

13. Good For Babies

Is ghee safe for babies? Yes, it is if taken in limited amounts. When babies are not dependent on mother's milk, they begin to lose weight. So, giving them ghee can help them gain weight and maintain it. Ensure that you feed babies one teaspoon of ghee per day. In addition, massaging babies with ghee will keep their bones strong and healthy.

How Much Ghee Can You Consume A Day?

Healthy individuals should consume 1 tablespoon of desi ghee per day to reap all of the benefits. Remember, ghee is entirely fat, just make sure that you don't have it in large amounts. Moderation is the key while having ghee.

What Are The Healthiest Ways To Consume Ghee?

  • Use ghee instead of coconut oil or olive oil for baking.
  • Use ghee instead of any other cooking oil for sautéing and roasting.
  • Swap butter for ghee while having with steamed rice.
View Article References
  1. [1] Chinnadurai, K., Kanwal, H., Tyagi, A., Stanton, C., & Ross, P. (2013). High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats. Lipids in Health and Disease, 12(1), 121.
  2. [2] Sharma, H., Zhang, X., Dwivedi, C. (2010). The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation. Ayu. 31(2), 134–140
  3. [3] Mohammadifard, N., Hosseini, M., Sajjadi, F., Maghroun, M., Boshtam, M., & Nouri, F. (2013). Comparison of effects of soft margarine, blended, ghee, and unhydrogenated oil with hydrogenated oil on serum lipids: A randomized clinical trail.ARYA atherosclerosis,9(6), 363–371.
  4. [4] Whigham, L. D., Watras, A. C., & Schoeller, D. A. (2007). Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(5), 1203–1211.
  5. [5] Den Besten, G., van Eunen, K., Groen, A. K., Venema, K., Reijngoud, D.-J., & Bakker, B. M. (2013). The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. Journal of Lipid Research, 54(9), 2325–2340.
  6. [6] Booth, S. L., Broe, K. E., Gagnon, D. R., Tucker, K. L., Hannan, M. T., McLean, R. R., … Kiel, D. P. (2003). Vitamin K intake and bone mineral density in women and men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 77(2), 512–516.
  7. [7] Wang, A., Han, J., Jiang, Y., & Zhang, D. (2014). Association of vitamin A and β-carotene with risk for age-related cataract: A meta-analysis. Nutrition, 30(10), 1113–1121.
  8. [8] Joshi, K. (2014). Docosahexaenoic acid content is significantly higher in ghrita prepared by traditional Ayurvedic method. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 5(2), 85.
  9. [9] Segain, J.-P. (2000). Butyrate inhibits inflammatory responses through NFkappa B inhibition: implications for Crohn’s disease. Gut, 47(3), 397–403.
  10. [10] Karmakar. G. (1944). Ghee as a Source of Vitamin A in Indian Dietaries: The Effect of Cooking on the Vitamin Content of Foods. The Indian Medical Gazette, 79(11), 535–538.
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