Ghee has been used for thousands of years, quite literally. It’s truly an “ancient” health food and definitely not a fad. The first known use of butter was back in 2000 BC. It became very popular in the cooler northern parts of India, but didn’t survive well in the southern warmer regions. It’s believed that the southerners are responsible for clarifying butter, in order to keep it from spoiling.
Ghee quickly was integrated into the diet, into ceremonial practice and into Ayurvedic healing practices. It’s believed to promote both mental purification and physical purification through its ability to cleanse and support wellness. Ghee benefits the body both inside and out, and is actually used topically to treat burns and rashes as well as to moisturize the skin and scalp. Much like coconut oil, it’s a multi-use fat that is healthy in many ways!
What is Ghee?
Ghee is clarified butter, but simmered longer to bring out butter’s inherent nutty flavor. Traditionally made from buffalo or cows milk, the process of making ghee removes the water and milk fats, leaving a high-smoke point (meaning that it can be heated to a pretty high temperature before it starts to smoke) fat. Plus, it’s nutritionally rich like coconut oil
Ghee Benefits vs. Butter Benefits
So how is ghee better than butter? Ghee has a unique nutrition profile without any lactose or casein, but rich in short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids and butyrate. For people who are lactose or casein-sensitive, they can use ghee because the process has removed these allergens. If you’ve been told to stay away from dairy and butter, experiment with ghee made from grass-fed cow!
Butter contains 12-15 percent medium and short-chain fatty acids, while ghee contains 25 percent or greater. The body actually metabolizes these fats in a different manner than long-chain fatty acids. The result? Medium and short chains are not associated with cardiovascular disease.
Let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of fat and their sources:
Saturated Fats: Solid at room temperature, examples include butter, lard, suet and vegetable shortening.
Unsaturated Fats: Liquid at room temperature, examples include corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, canola oil and nut oil.
Trans Fatty Acids (Trans Fats): These are artificial fats that are created from liquid vegetable oil to make them solid and shelf-stable.
Some of the unsaturated oils mentioned above are often touted as “healthy” oils, but I advise everyone to stay away from corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil at all costs. Through the process of making ghee, all of the milk fat solids are removed, leaving a beautiful golden elixir. Unlike butter, ghee won’t burn in frying, and has a smoke-point of 450 degrees, similar to other very unhealthy oils.