Ghee is one of the most ancient Ayurvedic traditions, a sacred and customary cleanser and nourishing potion for the mind, body, and soul. In modern dietetics, it has gained the status of a power food, with innumerable ghee benefits for skin, hair, and human health.
What is Ghee, How It’s Made and Consumed
Ghee is a type of butterfat, full of rich flavor that strengthens the immune system, memory, cardiac function, lubricates joints, strengthens teeth and muscles, energizes the heart and the brain and nourishes the skin. Ghee benefits for health are encapsulated in the versatile butter, which serves as an excellent medium to heal small scrapes and wounds and is even used as a local application to stop nose bleeding.
To derive the best ghee benefits for health, butter is simmered just over 100 degrees Celsius to allow water to evaporate and milk solids are later removed to obtain clarified butter. Ghee is stored in sealed containers and easily lasts up to three months at room temperature and up to a year when refrigerated.
Ghee is a stable fat and safe for cooking, sautéing and baking since the bonds in its fatty acid molecules do not easily break down when exposed to significant heat or pressure. This means that unlike most unstable fats and oils, no toxic substances are produced in the process of cooking that might harm your human system.
Moreover, ghee is the preferred medium for frying herbs and spices, since it enables them to be absorbed well by the targeted areas of the human body. This explains why Ayurveda employs ghee benefits for health through its widespread use in herbal preparations and recommends it as an excellent cooking base for spices before they are added to some of the most popular Indian preparations.
In general, ghee, like most beneficial fats, protects your organs, maintains an optimal body temperature, helps absorb vitamins, and stimulates the production of important hormones including estrogen and testosterone. Ghee has important advantages when consumed on a regular basis:
- People with lactose or casein intolerance can safely consume ghee since milk solids are removed from ghee
- Although ghee was once considered a saturated fat, research has revealed that ghee is one the seven healthy fats
- Overall, ghee serves as a significant source of energy, especially for athletes and people with active lifestyle.
Ghee contains many important nutrients which promote the health of your skin and hair and encapsulate many ghee benefits for health:
- Vitamin A is bioavailable in ghee, meaning that a high level of Vitamin A is present in ghee, which is useable by the body and with the coexisting cofactors present in ghee, can be easily absorbed by the body. The presence of Vitamin A translates into ghee benefits for hair and skin, besides numerous other functions. Vitamin A is even more concentrated than that which is contained in milk, helping children and adults maintain hormonal balance, a healthy liver and promote fertility and stamina.
- One of the best sources of fatty acids, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is contained in ghee, which is known to inhibit breast cancer specifically, prevents the growth of tumors in general. It also causes fat loss. CLA serves as one of the main nutrients promoting ghee benefits for health in innumerable ways.
- Cholesterol in ghee acts as one of the most important ghee benefits for health. This is because it acts as a healing agent for the human body, and is not the kind of fat which causes Atherosclerosis. It is beneficial for the body during stressful periods, as it helps control inflammation. Consequently, it enables your body to protect itself from the numerous effects of low blood cholesterol including depression, the tendency toward suicide and alcoholism, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- High levels of Vitamin K2 present in ghee help your bones absorb calcium. Even when you consume calcium-rich foods, your body is not able to absorb calcium except with the help of vitamin K2, and ghee is one of the richest sources of Vitamin K2.
- Butyric acid, which is a cancer-fighting short-chain fatty acid, has the ability to inhibit the growth of mammary tumors and heals the intestinal tract effectively, with the potential to efficaciously treat Irritable Bowel Disease. The action of butyric acid serves as another major ghee benefit for health. Butyric acid also plays a key role in influencing the body’s response to infection.
- Other important nutrients in ghee which are responsible for overall ghee benefits for health include Vitamin E, Vitamin D, protein, and electrolytes including Potassium and Sodium.
Important Ghee Benefits for Health in General
1. Retards Ageing
Ghee, which is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Carotenoids, Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Butyric Acid can help eliminate free radicals from the human system, significantly retarding the process of oxidation in the body, and can also act as an anti-ageing agent. Antioxidants in ghee fight free radicals, promote cell growth of the skin, strengthen vision, and optimize the overall functioning of the immune system.
The function of cleaning up free radicals from the human system can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and can also combat heart disease, besides considerably slowing down the aging process.
2. Boosts the Immune System
Ghee has the potential to prevent disorders like Crohn’s disease, neurological disorders, and ulcerative colitis. By enabling the optimal production of killer T-Cells in the gut, through the simulative effects of Butyric acid, ghee can ensure that your body has a highly vigilant immune system. Ghee by itself is also a strong agent against microbes and viral activity. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in ghee are also helpful in fighting various forms of cancer.
3. Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Ghee can effectively reduce inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and prevent life-threatening diseases including ulcerative colitis. The anti-inflammatory aspects are apparent in traditional ghee enemas, which were employed to treat several types of inflammations. Ghee reduces the secretion of Leukotrienes and Prostaglandins, which are primary agents of promoting inflammatory activity in the system.
In this way, ghee can effectively reduce redness, swelling, itching and related symptoms caused due to inflammation.
4. Brings About Anti-Cancer Activity
Ghee is known to slow down the growth of cancerous cells, due to the action of Butyric acid, and activates enzymes which can successfully detoxify the body from carcinogens, which are toxic cancer causing substances.
5. Maintains Blood Pressure within Safe Limits
In the present chronic disease age, the lactose and salt-free nature of ghee can provide outstanding results by effectively reducing cholesterol present in the serum and the intestines and controlling blood pressure.
6. Ensures Healthy Digestive Tract and Metabolism
CLA anti-oxidant properties promote healthy metabolism, stimulate appetite and ensure optimal digestion, all leading to loss of unhealthy weight. Ghee positively influences the process of fat-soluble vitamin absorption and by aiding in the secretion of digestive acids, aids in the process of digestion.
Ghee promotes the health of the digestive tract by supplying the right amounts of Butyric acid. Ghee also makes bowel movement easy by soothing the nerves and lubricating the intestines. Ghee is beneficial when taken either in the early mornings or with milk at bedtime for getting rid of constipation, digestive disorders and many forms of ulcers.
7. Promotes Weight Loss
By improving metabolism, and through the action of CLA and Linoleic acid for enhancing metabolism, ghee ensures optimal weight management and specifically aids in the reduction of belly fat. Ghee also helps achieve optimal weight management effortlessly by lowering the insulin resistance, preventing the onset of diabetes in adults.
Further, since ghee does not contain any hydrogenated oils, there is no possibility of unnecessary fat deposits. The action of ghee is in terms of increasing muscle mass, and bone density, which contributes towards healthy weight.
8. Promotes Bone Health
Ghee is an essential ingredient for the growth and development of bones and to ensure that their normal function is preserved. The holistic action of ghee on overall bone health ensures that ailments such as chronic arthritis and several other bone problems are resolved successfully.
9. Highly Beneficial During Pregnancy
Ghee is recommended for pregnant women owing to the nourishing properties it carries for the mother and the baby. The increased requirements of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients during pregnancy are fulfilled optimally with regular use of ghee, ensuring healthy growth and development of the infant.
Fulfilling nutrition requirements during pregnancy also reduces chances of birth defects considerably, including disorders of the bones and spinal cord and other complications that might arise from malnutrition.
10. Ensures Optimal Emotional Well-Being
Emotions are known to have an underlying chemical nature, and the molecules that form part of the negative emotional response are stored in fat cells. Ghee has the ability to replace those fats, pull out the toxins and perform a cleansing action for overall positivity and vibrancy at the level of the mind and soul.
Ghee Benefits for the Skin
Irrespective of the nature and texture of your skin, ghee has many benefits for your skin that work holistically to restore suppleness from the inside out:
- Ghee acts as an excellent moisturizer for the skin, nourishing deep skin layers, and helping maintain a smooth, glowing and clear texture when massaged into skin regularly.
- People with extremely dry skin can use ghee as a hydrating agent. Ghee benefits for skin are encapsulated in its fatty acids, and a precise massage lasting only for 3-5 minutes prior to your regular bath can bring about excellent results.
- Due to the anti-radical activity of ghee, it acts as one of the most effective solutions to bring about anti-ageing effect and preserve the natural moisture contained in the skin. For the same reason, ghee can be used as part of numerous face masks that can produce a deep penetrating effect in the skin cells and tissues, protecting them against premature aging.
Ghee Benefits for Hair
Ghee can be used in your regular hair massage for 10-15 minutes and should be left in the hair for at least two hours before a shower. Regular use of ghee as hair nourishment imparts many long lasting benefits for the hair and the scalp:
- One of the most important ghee benefits for hair is that it provides excellent nourishment for the hair and the scalp, helping achieve a silky, smooth texture for the hair and making them stronger and darker with each hair wash.
- Ghee can stimulate hair growth, protect against hair fall, and treat baldness when used regularly.
- Another ghee benefit for hair is related to its ability to easily resolve frizzy hair and treat split ends over time. Its healing properties can maintain your hair’s natural glow.
- Ghee penetrates deep inside your scalp and improves blood circulation, positively affecting the quality of your hair.
Ghee Benefits for Vital Organs
- Promotes Eye Health- One of the most important benefits of ghee is its ability to protect the eyes, with the help of Carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants, which work by inhibiting the activity of free radicals that attack macular cells. By helping prevent macular degeneration, the development of cataracts is curtailed to a large extent. Further, it also helps control eye pressure.
- Ensures Optimal Heart Health- Lower cholesterol levels in the blood ensure optimal heart functioning, eliminating any overload on the heart muscle. By preventing the calcification of arteries, ghee ensures that their elasticity is preserved and arterial passages are not constricted.
- Protects the Liver and Brain- Regular consumption of ghee can prevent and combat liver disorders through its hepatoprotective and anticonvulsant properties. Ghee also promotes the healthy development of the brain and nervous system tissue. Due to its positive effect on the brain, it also enhances memory power.
- Prevents Thyroid Dysfunction- As a rich source of iodine, ghee helps regulate the thyroid gland for optimal functioning.
- Promotes Sperm Formation- Ghee has the nutrients necessary for increasing the quantity and quality of sperms in men
When Not to Consume Ghee
Ghee has excellent health benefits when taken in moderation. However, overweight or obese people must avoid consuming ghee since it might take a toll on the functioning of their vital organs including their heart, kidneys, and liver. Also, people who have a history of heart disease might be at a greater risk of heart attack from regular consumption of ghee.
People with severe liver and digestive disorders must consult their physician before including ghee in their diet. In general, taking 10 to 15 grams of ghee per day proves beneficial for most adults. However, it is wise to go with the advice of a qualified dietician before making changes to your regular diet, so as to exactly figure out how much ghee is suitable for your long-term health benefits, based on your medical history.