Indian kitchens and cooks swear by ghee. Ghee is as old as early human civilization and Vedic era. Importance of ghee for its nutritional benefits reflects in diverse culture of Indian cuisine. From Infancy to old age ghee takes care of every and tear be it physical or mental! Yes, it is not exaggeration at all. This blog talks everything about ghee one must know. In USA it is a treat to my eyes to watch some pure cow ghee bottles not only in Indian grocery stores but also some big names like Walmart, Publics , Sprouts and whole food. The whole world taking a note of goodness of ghee. Past few decades were literally a conspiracy against good fat like ghee, coconut oil, groundnut oils etc. They were industry made villains in the medicine field. People even Indians were seen to be relucent to include good fat in the diet.
Along the time it has been proven that human needs good quality fat for the tissue regeneration and many important processes to keep the metabolism on track. Old is gold folks !
This blog discusses Ayurvedic and modern medicine perceptive of ghee for lay people
What is ghee ?
Ghee is the final product one can get from milk. It is clarified butter devoid of water and originated in India.
How is it prepared? Milk(cow/buffalo) whole milk is boiled, and the cream is removed every time and stored. When enough cream is obtained it is mixed with a small amount of curd to get the whole cream curdled. When the curd is properly set overnight, next day it is churned with the help of wooden traditional churner stick or hand mixer. Enough water is mixed while churning. Butter gets float on top and remained is portion of buttermilk. The butter is properly removed and heated on slow constant heat in earthen, steel or glass container to get yellow gold or white ghee. Do not use nonstick, copper, aluminum utensils. The by products in the bottom of pot in the process of ghee making are milk protein .Only ghee is strained and stored in clean dry container. Ghee should be stored in silver, glass, or stainless-steel container in clean place.
How to use ghee? One should consume ghee on daily basis in various forms.
- Ghee can be used in stead of butter anywhere from baking to seasoning. It is a good replacement for margarine and salted butter.
- Ghee is good for seasoning of salads, curries.
- One can add ghee on rice, chapati, bread, daal, soup.
- Eating ghee one tablespoon with warm water or adding in hot milk
- Ghee can be used in small amount for greasing purposes in stead of butter or oil.
- As binding agent in many sweets like ladoo, mithai (desserts) etc.
External uses :
- Ghee is natural healer for cracked lips, cracked foot and dry skin.
- Nasal drops (Nasya) for dry nasal mucosa and other nasal disorders by consulting ayurvedic doctor
- Medicated ayurvedic ghee is used as eye drops. Consult Ayurveda doctor before using.
- Feet massage with ghee at bedtime reduces the body heat and is termed good for eyesight too
- A special type of purified ghee called as Shatdhaut Ghrita is used as medicine ointment in many skin diseases, burns etc.
How much ghee is enough: The answer is hidden in Indian cuisine and diet style. It is wisely used as seasoning on rice and daal, for marination, for tempering and for making sweets. But in general, 3 to 4 tsp is basic dose of ghee. But stages like childhood, pregnancy and breast feeding needs more. Some health conditions have different needs. Ask Ayurveda doctor and get help according to your body type.
Properties of ghee:
What Ayurveda Says :
- Ayurveda praises ghee for its endless medicinal and nutritional benefits from hair to toenail. Ghee is Sweet taste dominant and is favorable for each different tissue types.
- It nourishes, heals, and initiates the regeneration of tissue with its cool nature and unique quality of lipid. It controls the Vata Dosha which is responsible for all the wear and tear and pacifies the Pitta Dosha which is culprit its abnormal metabolism when it is increased or imbalanced. It keeps an eye on Kapha Dosha and makes sure the Tridosha works in swift harmony.
- Ghee is praised as Brihana(nourishing, growth promoting) ,appetite increasing ,catalyst ,Rasayana (restorative/rejuvenating ), Vrishya (aphrodisiac) properties.it removes the toxins, food poisons and dill effects of metabolic errors. Ghrita has very crucial role in growth and development of fetus.
- It should be used properly in pregnancy and in post-delivery regimen of diet and lifestyle. Ayurveda says ghee is the final best of the best essence of already highly nutritious milk. It should be look upon as the Ojas for body to achieve vitality and stability in physical and mental health.
- Ghee promotes memory, intellect, metabolism, improve and increases quality of Shukra dhatu (semen, Ojas).
What modern medicine praises:
- Modern medicine praises ghee as one of the best possible form of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Ghee contains the good form of cholesterol which is responsible for the synthesis of steroid hormones i.e., estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are important in many stages of human life such as growth, puberty, ovulation, pregnancy, lactation, and fertility.
- Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA has crucial role in forming the external cover of nerve cell called as myelin sheath when the baby is in womb. Ghee and other sources of omega fatty acids are supposed to play major role in providing Omega 3 fatty acids through placenta and afterwards through breast milk. This may explain why the pregnant and weaning woman is advised high calorie and fatty acids rich food in some Asian culture. Indian food design for pregnant and breast-feeding mother has got a scientific foundation and ayurvedic wisdom as source.
- 60%of our brain is fat. It is highly important to nourish it with good fat. Essential fatty acids, Omega 3 ,DHA from ghee, fish oil and other very few sources are therefore important for brain health. It reduces inflammation of nerve cells and protects its wear and tears.
- Ghee is important for gut health and digestion too.
Myths about ghee:
- Ghee causes weight gain : No ghee does not but the fats like saturated forms like refined oils, palm oil, vegetable oils, margarin, processed butter , fried food are real culprits.
- Ghee increases the cholesterol: Ghee is a good source of HDL so it will increase good cholesterol and not the bad one which is LDL
- Ghee will increase acne: No ghee does not increase the seborrheic pimples or acne. It’s the bad diet and lifestyle like high calorie fried fast food, lack of sleep and hormonal imbalances
- Ghee causes Heart attacks : There are numerous reasons for heart attacks and ghee not one of them. Stress, oily , fast food, and lack of exercise are few of them you may pass blame on.
- Lactose intolerance people cannot eat ghee: Well, the news is good. Lactose tolerant people can do consume the ghee without worry. Ghee is 99% fat, and it does not contain any lactose sugar which causes allergy.
- Ghee is bad for heating, cooking, or frying: The news is good again because ghee is one of the best options to do all these cooking process. The smoke point of ghee is very high(250 degree) than many of the major oils we use for frying food. It means the bad contents( free radicals) when the fat heated are formed very late in ghee. Ghee is safer than many oils for frying.
- Ghee is good when its fresh. Do not consume old one: Surprisingly, medicinal properties increase as the ghee ages. If it is stored in clean dry jar in good condition you can consume ghee for years. In fact, old ghee is as valuable or even more than old wines. The older the better ,its ghee after all. Old ghee has its own importance in spiritual ways. Ayurveda states Old ghee (Puran Ghrita) as potent medicine for many psychological diseases.
These are some facts of ghee. There is much more to tell in Ghee legends
Tales continue …Stay Tuned in for next blog