Like any clarified butter, ghee is composed almost entirely of fat, 62% of which consists of saturated fats. It is also rich in oxidized cholesterol: 259 μg/g, or 12.3% of total cholesterol. Ghee is also sometimes called desi (country-made) ghee or asli (genuine) ghee to distinguish it from the modern “vegetable ghee”.
Clarified butter vs. ghee
Ghee differs slightly in its production. The process of creating traditional clarified butter is complete once the water is evaporated and the fat (clarified butter) is separated from the milk
solids. However, the production of ghee includes simmering the butter, which makes it nutty-tasting and aromatic. A traditional Ayurvedic recipe for ghee is to boil raw milk, let it cool to 110 °F (43 °C). After letting it sit covered at room temperature for around 12 hours, add a bit of dahi (yogurt) to it and let it sit overnight. This makes more yogurt. This is churned with water, to obtain cultured butter, which is used to simmer into ghee.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GHEE
The wide range of fats that compose ghee includes medium-chain fatty acids, which are very useful for the body and can be processed by the liver and burnt as energy, not passing into the adipose tissue or contributing to weight gain. For athletes or other people with active, high-energy lifestyles, ghee can provide the necessary burst of energy that you might need to get through a challenging day.
Rich in the oil soluble vitamins A and E
Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several provitamin A carotenoids (most notably beta-carotene). Vitamin A has multiple functions: it is important for growth and development, for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision. Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of retinal, which combines with protein opsin to form rhodopsin, the light-absorbing molecules necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision. Vitamin A also functions in a very different role as retinoic acid (an irreversibly oxidized form of retinol), which is an important hormone-like growth factor for epithelial and other cells.
Vitamin A plays a role in a variety of functions throughout the body, such as:
• Gene transcription
• Immune function
• Embryonic development and reproduction
• Bone metabolism
• Skin and cellular health
• Mucous membrane
Vitamin E is a group of eight fat soluble compounds that include four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Vitamin E deficiency, which is rare and usually due to an underlying problem with digesting dietary fat rather than from a diet low in vitamin E, can cause nerve problems. The crucial function played by Vitamin E that makes it a vitamin is poorly understood, but may involve antioxidant functions in cell membranes. Other theories hold that vitamin E – specifically the RRR stereoisomer of alpha-tocopherol – act by controlling gene expression and cell signal transduction.
Tocopherols function by donating H atoms to radicals (X). Vitamin E may have various roles as a vitamin. Many biological functions have been postulated, including a role as a fat-soluble antioxidant. In this role, vitamin E acts as a radical scavenger, delivering a hydrogen (H) atom to free radicals. At 323 kJ/mol, the O-H bond in tocopherols is about 10% weaker than in most other phenols. This weak bond allows the vitamin to donate a hydrogen atom to the peroxyl radical and other free radicals, minimizing their damaging effect. The thus-generated tocopheryl radical is recycled to tocopherol by a redox reaction with a hydrogen donor, such as vitamin C. As it is fat-soluble, vitamin E is incorporated into cell membranes, which are therefore protected from oxidative damage.
Vitamin E affects gene expression and is an enzyme activity regulator, such as for protein kinase C (PKC) – which plays a role in smooth muscle growth – with vitamin E participating in deactivation of PKC to inhibit smooth muscle growth.
Ghee is rich in K2 and CLA
Linoleic acid is the most common omega-6 fatty acid, found in large amounts in vegetable oils but also in various other foods in smaller amounts. The “conjugated” prefix has to do with the arrangement of the double bonds in the fatty acid molecule. There are 28 different forms of CLA. Animal studies suggest that CLA may reduce body fat in several ways. It was found to reduce food intake, increase fat burning, stimulate fat breakdown and inhibit fat production.
Since ghee is dairy-free (having had all of the dairy residue simmered off), lactose intolerant individuals or those who cannot consume butter are free to enjoy the flavorful treat of “butter” in the form of ghee without worrying about the gastrointestinal problems that normally follow.
Although most people associate butter with fat and a decline in heart health, the rich variety of fats in ghee can provide a healthy boost to the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease your levels of unhealthy cholesterol and provide an energetic balance to your fat intake.
Ghee possesses butyric acid, which is one of the most beneficial short-chain fatty acids that the body needs. Butyric acid has been shown, in recent research, to actually decrease inflammation in parts of the body, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract, and is now a recommended dietary addition for some people with ulcerative colitis. Furthermore, ghee enemas have long been used in traditional medicine for treating inflammation of all kinds.
Boosts Immune System
Butyric acid, perhaps the most important element in ghee, has also been linked to the stimulation of T-cell production, which are the heavy-hitting cells of the immune system. In other words, ghee can supercharge your immune system in addition to all of its other health benefits.
The energy from these medium chain fatty acids can be used to burn other fats in the system and lose weight.
Molecules of Emotion
Modern research is now revealing that negative emotions have a chemical nature. This is what ancient cultures have always maintained, that the mind and body are one. These chemicals are attracted to and stored in fat. Ghee can be used to replace those fats. Plus, if used properly in a cleanse, can attract and pull out these toxins so they can be cleansed from the body.
Study showed that the consumption of up to 10% ghee in the diet had a positive effect on serum lipid profiles in Wistar rats (an outbred strain).There was a dose-dependent decrease in total cholesterol, LDL, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), and triglycerides when ghee was given at levels greater than 2.5% in the diet. Liver cholesterol and triglycerides were also decreased, and when ghee was the sole source of fat at a 10% level, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the serum and liver lipids were significantly reduced.
Dr. Goran Abraham
About the Author:
- Dr. Goran Abraham, M.D. was born on April 24th, 1979 in Kikinda, Serbia where he graduated from elementary and high school.
- He graduated medicine at the Medical University in Novi Sad, Serbia. Dr. Abraham worked in the Emergency Medical Services of the Health Center-Kikinda.
- From 2015, he works at the General Hospital “Kosta Sredojev-Šljuka” Kikinda, in the Emergency triage department.
- He has been an active member and lecturer of first aid in C. Cross of Kikinda since 2010.
- He is one of the founders of Civil Association "Health on a Palm“ which promotes healthy lifestyles to improve the health and life expectancy of the general population.
- Since 2015 he has been active in Carnomed Ltd. as a physician and consultant.
- From 2016 he is a member of the World Association of Mitochondrial Medicine.
- He is active recreational athlete for 30 years, trained swimming, gymnastics, handball, and now he practices fitness.