Generations of mothers and grandmothers, in this subcontinent, have used ‘Desi Ghee’ liberally while bringing up children! In stark contrast, it has been an enigma for the Western world. Fortunately, there are many incredible health benefits of desi ghee ranging from healthy heart, building up immunity, prevention of cancers or even augmenting memory, but many people still consider it as an overrated superfood which does nothing other than increasing weight and raise ‘cholesterol’ with all its attendant diseases?
Dr Neeru Bali critically looks at the hard scientific evidence…
Here are the various benefits of Desi Ghee
1. Excellent cooking material
We all know that there are various health benefits of desi ghee, but here are some other important benefits which should be also considered as helpful. Ghee has a high smoke point unlike many other cooking oils and it does not break down into harmful free radicals or generate toxic fumes under high temperatures. Its smoke point is close to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it an excellent cooking medium for frying, sauteing and even baking. Moreover, it is pure and does not contain any hydrogenated fats as is the case with most the other cooking materials.
2. Can be stored for years
It is also free from any preservatives! It is believed that pure ‘Ghee’ can be preserved for many decades without any degradation, looks like desi ghee has health benefits for itself too.
3. Storehouse of energy
Ghee is a storehouse of energy with almost 470 K Joules of energy per tablespoon. It has plenty of medium-chain fatty acids which can be directly absorbed to release instant energy.
4. Essential for body functions
Our body needs certain fats for vital functions to be performed and one of the most recognizable health benefits of desi ghee is that it helps in the performance of those essential functions of the human body. These include protection of the inner lining of the stomach against autodigestion by gastric acid, supporting the brain, nerve and skin health as well as building cell membranes and strengthening them.
Also, read this: No Nutrition, No Life! Know Nutrition, Know Life!
5. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants
Ghee contains large quantities of Omega-3 and Omega-9 fatty acids. It also contains fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. It is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid and lots of phenolic antioxidants.
6. Excellent for immunity
Ghee in particular is a rich source of butyric acid. This acid is important for the immune response that can help in combating inflammation. When butyric acid is adequately produced it helps insufficient production of Killer T cells thereby augmenting the immune system. These Killer T cells are mainly responsible for acting against allergens and foreign particles that may enter our bodies.
7. Improves insulin resistance
Another health benefit of desi ghee is, that with the help of Linoleic acid (CLA), it helps in countering insulin resistance thereby helping in sugar metabolism.
8. Good for Lactose, Casein intolerant individuals
Since Ghee is produced from clarified butter it does not contain any milk solids. Casein which is the primary protein in milk is present in very minimal quantities in Ghee. It is also almost completely free of lactose. This makes it a very safe food for people with lactose or casein intolerance.
Before indulging in Ghee, it is important to remember a couple of points.
a) That the American Heart Association recommends daily saturated fat consumption to be not more than 7 per cent of recommended total calorie intake
b) It is best to stay away from Ghee if you are morbidly obese and
c) Do not consume Ghee if you suffer from cardiovascular diseases.