4 Unexpected Health Benefits of Ghee
Earlier this week my Personal Trainer (for more info on Mike and all the other WONDERFUL “People I Like” click here) asked me a question about cooking with healthy fats and specifically info on smoking points because he knew that burned food (even healthy burned food) is just as carcinogenic as unhealthy food (Mike’s a smart guy!!!)
So anyway we got on the subject of ghee which is the only dairy product I actually advocate because it’s not actually a dairy product!!!
Here’s a wonderful article I often quote when teaching Paleo Nutrition written by by Josh Gitalis, a Toronto Clinical Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner certified through the Institute for Functional Medicine (or “IFM” which is, coincidentally, also the organization where my boss Dr Blossic obtained her certification!) Josh is also a certified Culinary Nutrition Expert and one of the main contributing editors for a wonderful website called The Academy of Culinary Nutrition. And in his spare time, Josh not only maintains a THRIVING private practice but teaches Clinical Nutrition at several natural health colleges and is featured from time to time as a Natural Health expert on CTV News and Toronto City TV. Enjoy!
A staple in traditional Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is made through a simple process of boiling [organic unsalted] butter until all the proteins that typically cause digestive distress have been destroyed and removed…what's left is also known as clarified butter. One of the advantages of cooking with ghee is that it has an extremely high smoking point so it’s less likely to burn and become carcinogenic. It can also be stored at room temperature for months.
Much like butter, ghee has gotten a bad reputation over the past 30 years due to its high saturated fat content. But research has revealed that instead of increasing the risk of heart disease, ghee actually decreases it and that's not the only trick it has up its sleeve. Ghee made from grass-fed butter is packed with vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as fatty acids CLA and butyric acid, leading to some interesting health benefits.
1. Ghee can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Despite the bad press it has received over the years, ghee may actually be protective against heart disease. Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque, and diabetes. Because of these benefits, researchers say ghee can potentially be used to help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
One unfortunate result of the war on saturated fats has been the replacement of traditional foods with highly processed alternatives. One study points to the increase in consumption of vegetable ghee, which contains up to 40 per cent trans fatty acids, for the increase in cardiovascular disease amongst Indians. A study on a rural population in India showed that men who ate higher amounts of traditional ghee had lower incidences of heart disease than those who ate less of it.
2. Ghee can help you make beautiful babies.
If you're planning on trying to conceive anytime soon, vitamin K2 is an important nutrient to incorporate into your diet. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, vitamin K2 plays a crucial role in facial and dental development. Children born to mothers with high levels of vitamin K2 are more likely to have wide, symmetrical faces with plenty of room for straight, healthy teeth later on. Grass-fed ghee is a great source of vitamin K2, making it an important food for pre-conception and pregnancy.
3. Ghee can help heal your digestive tract.
Good digestion is the key to good health, and if you're dealing with any sort of digestive issues, healing your gut lining is an important first step. Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells of the intestines. According to Phyllis A. Balch, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, butyric acid is "a monounsaturated fatty acid [that] reduces inflammatory conditions reduces seepage of undigested food particles, and aids in repair of the mucosal wall."
4. Ghee may be able to help you lose weight.
Remember our good friend CLA? On top of its cardiovascular benefits, it's also been shown to help prevent weight gain and aid in weight loss. According to one study, CLA supplementation in overweight participants showed significant weight loss over a six month period. Further study is needed, but if you're hoping to shed pounds, replacing rancid, highly processed vegetable oils with grass-fed ghee may be a good place to start.>>
For more info on Josh and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition click <http://www.culinarynutrition.com/4-unexpected-health-benefits-of-ghee-clarified-butter/>
Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC
HCC Lifestyle Coach