There are many reasons for Ghee having gained a bad reputation amongst those who are diet-conscious. Yes, Ghee is composed of saturated fats and can lead to obesity if eaten in huge portions.
However, the key is to eat ghee made from cow’s milk, and also find a pure, organic version that doesn’t include any vegetable fats or preservatives.
What Are the Health Benefits of Ghee?
Benefit No#1 – Safer and Healthier
Unlike vegetable oils that contain polyunsaturated fats, ghee is composed of saturated fats. Thus, it has a higher smoke point which means it doesn’t ‘burn’ easily. The very stable saturated bonds do not disintegrate during heating, and that is why Ghee with its short chain of fatty acids is less likely to break down in to dangerous free radicals while cooking. Additionally, it’s also readily metabolized by the body and is a far safer choice than butter.
Benefit No # 2 – Aids in Digestion
Ghee is great for digestion. It can stimulate secretion of stomach acids, hence fastening the digestive process. Unlike oils and butters that move slowly down the digestive tract because they are tougher to metabolize, ghee aids in digestion. Also, being rich in Vitamin A, D, E and K (which are all fat-soluble vitamins); ghee makes it easier for the body to absorb the goodness of all these vitamins.
Benefit No # 3 – Reduces Cholesterol Levels
While Ghee is not really recommended for patients who suffer from cardiovascular diseases, it can help in reducing cholesterol levels in intestines as well as serum. This is because pure desi ghee enhances the secretion of biliary lipids. Being lower in fat as compared to butter, it’s a healthier option for you if you exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet. However, for patients who already have high cholesterol levels, ghee might not be the safest choice.
Benefit No # 4 – Rich in Antioxidants
While ghee has many nutritional values, it is also rich in antioxidants. It helps the body readily absorb the vitamins and minerals present in food, offering complete nutrition and also strengthening the immune system. That is why, your grandmother insists that you eat a spoonful of ghee every day, as it increases the body’s resistance against seasonal allergies and common ailments, while also improving brain functioning. Regular intake of pure ghee can sharpen focus, improve concentration levels and also increase memory retention abilities.
Benefit No # 5 – Fight Against Cancer
Desi ghee is such an integral part of the Indian diet and so deep rooted within our culture that some scientists decided to conduct a study to further understand its benefits. A research team of scientists from the National Dairy Research Institute led by Dr Vinod Kansal found that desi ghee made from cow’s milk can enhance the availability of those enzymes which are responsible for detoxification of cancer-causing substances.
Additionally, it decreases the availability of enzymes responsible for activation of carcinogens. This study has been published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research and has made huge waves within the medical community.
In the experiments, scientists conducted a study on two groups of female rats – one of which was fed cow ghee while the other soybean oil. These rats were artificially injected with breast cancer causing chemicals to study how their fat intake interfered with the growth of tumors. After several weeks, it was observed the initiation as well as progress of mammary cancer showed remarkable decrease in rats that were fed cow ghee, while rats fed soybean oil suffered a substantial increase of tumors.
“Feeding cow ghee decreased the expression of genes responsible for cell proliferation and raised regulated genes responsible for cell apoptosis”, explained Dr Vinod Kansal. “One probable factor in cow ghee is the presence of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is known to possess beneficial properties, while most vegetable oils lack this particular fatty acid. Most vegetable oils contain high amount of unsaturated fatty acid as well as linoleic acid – which is considered pro-carcinogenic as it forms free radicals known to damage DNA”, he further added.
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