Recently in our home we made the switch from butter to ghee. I remember living in Pakistan, ghee was the common choice among the locals. I always assumed it was because of the taste, but interestingly enough it is becoming a more popular health choice. This struck me as odd as I always assumed fat was fat, but that might not necessarily be the case.
First off I need to give credit to my brother-in-law, he first introduced me to ghee a few months back. At once I noticed it tasted so much better, it was easier to cook with, and it felt less ‘refined’. It also has a higher smoke point than butter, about 100℉, which makes it great to use on the BBQ.
So what exactly is ghee? Ghee, which is also known as clarified butter is prepared by simmering butter, which is churned from cream, skimming any impurities from the surface, and then pouring and retaining the clear, still liquid fat, while discarding the solid residue that settled on the bottom.
This process is quite different from the way butter is produced. Butter is produced by separating the cream from fresh whole milk. The cream is then churned by shaking or beating it vigorously until it thickens. The remaining liquid (buttermilk) is removed. The clustered butter is washed and formed into its solid shape.
Given the difference in preparation methods, here are some health benefits ghee provides over butter:
1. Ghee contains very little lactose, allowing it to be more tolerated by people who have dairy sensitivities.
2. Ghee might help protect against heart disease. Ghee is high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that helps reduce the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides circulating in the blood, which can help reduce narrowing of the blood vessels.
3. Ghee is good for digestive issues. Ghee contains butyric acid, a nutrient for the cells lining the digestive tract, and can help those suffering from IBS or Crohn’s disease.
4. Ghee can help with weight loss by regulating the synthesis and breakdown processes of fat in our system.
Below is a chart of the nutritional benefits between ghee and butter:
Given the health benefits, I would recommend to give Ghee a try. It’s a great substitute and it tastes amazing!