Ghee, also known as clarified butter, originated in India and is a common ingredient in many South Asian dishes, medicines and is even part of many religious rituals. Clarified butter is simply the butterfat that remains after the water and milk solids are removed from butter. Ghee is a staple food in most ayurvedic diets and is considered by those who practice ayurvedic medicine the healthiest fat we can consume. The following will give you a little more information about ghee, its history, how it’s made and the many benefits of adding it to your diet.
Hindus consider ghee to be a precious substance. Hindu mythology says that Prajápat, the Lord of Creatures, created ghee simply by rubbing his hands together. Since many mythologies consider butter to be a symbol of fertility, they feel that when they perform the ritual of pouring ghee into fire, it is actually a re-enactment of creation. Ancient religious texts tell us that ghee was often used to maintain good health, encourage healing, and was also an important part in many religious ceremonies. Some of the oldest scriptures known say that Krishna, a Hindu deity, loved the taste of ghee and consumed it as a young child to improve his spiritual development and to fuel his intellectual powers. The Hindus believed that those who were fortunate enough to have ghee in abundance were said to own liquid gold.
Even though ghee is composed mostly of fats, it also contains high levels of vitamin A, E, D and K. Many people think of fats as an unnecessary and unhealthy addition to your diet. However, the body needs a certain amount of fat in order to function properly. The following are just a few of the many benefits of adding ghee to your diet.
Boosts Energy: Ghee is composed of a wide range of fats including medium-chain fatty acids, which are very beneficial for the body. Since they are processed by the liver and do not go through adipose tissue, they do not contribute to weight gain. For people with active lifestyles, ghee can offer that much needed boost of energy.
Boosts Immune System: Ghee contains butyric acid, which is an important element in keeping your immune system working at its best. Butyric acid also helps reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Dairy Free: Since all of the dairy residue is skimmed off of the top during the cooking process, ghee is dairy-free. Those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy this form of butter without the worry of digestion problems that normally follow.
Supports Healthy Digestion: Ghee produces digestive enzymes that help with digestion, which can reduce episodes of heartburn and indigestion. Ghee reduces stomach acid as well, while also restoring the lining of the stomach.
Soothes Skin Irritations: When applied topically, ghee helps heal and soften minor skin irritations. It has also been used for many years in ayurvedic medicine as an effective remedy for burns and blisters.
High Smoke Point: Ghee has a smoke point that is much higher than butter, olive oil or coconut oil. This makes it perfect for cooking that requires high heat.
Ghee is usually made from unsalted butter. Salted butter can be used but will foam more during the cooking process. The quality of the butter is very important, and organic butter is best. Making ghee at home is very easy. Start with one cup of butter, which is usually two sticks. Place the butter in a heavy saucepan that is clean and dry, and cook on medium heat uncovered until all of the butter is melted. Continue to cook and stir until the butter begins to boil. You can usually tell that the butter is boiling by a crackling sound. Continue cooking until the crackling sound stops, which usually takes about ten minutes.
Use the following indicators to tell if the ghee is done:
Cool for about 20 minutes, and strain through muslin or a fine strainer. Strain a second time if needed to make sure all of the milk solids are removed. Ghee can be stored in a clean jar at room temperature for about two months.
Ghee has recently made its way into the Paleo diet. The premise behind the Paleo Diet is to take our eating habits back to the ways of our ancestors. Processed foods and junk foods were not available back then. Therefore, they were not consuming high levels of unhealthy fat, sugar and additives. Instead, they were eating simple whole foods with high amounts of fiber, protein and healthy fats. This balanced diet enabled them to control their hunger, stabilize their blood sugar levels, and keep lean and fit without accumulating and storing unhealthy body fat.
Dairy often causes bloating and indigestion problems for those who are dairy sensitive. Therefore, dairy is not included in the Paleo Diet. Dairy also contains casein which can deteriorate the lining of the stomach, and some types of dairy can slow the fat burning process. However, since the lactose and casein are both removed during the cooking process when you are making ghee, you are left with a fat that is highly nutritious and easily digested. This is why ghee is now considered a healthy addition to the Paleo diet.
Ghee is a healthy fat that has been around for many years. It is easily digested, nutritious, simple to make and has a long shelf life. Since it has such a high smoke point, ghee is perfect to use in cooking in place of oil or butter. Consider adding ghee to your diet so that you can experience its many benefits.