Many of us would introspect on our diet only when we are facing a crisis when we truly realize our food has been the reason for our current health problems. Deep down inside we all know medicines wouldn’t be of much help unless we attack the root cause of our problem – bad eating practices. The conventional wisdom of a ‘Health conscious’ person to a supposedly ‘good diet’ is to cut back on saturated fats, succumbing to the barrage of refined oil advertisements. Although ghee and coconut oil have been known traditionally for their health benefits, outdated petri-dish experiments had once vilified them. In contradiction to it, the truth now trumps.
Not just researchers, people are experiencing the benefits of ghee and coconut oil (both high in saturated fats), first hand. Hear it from Kourtney Kardashian herself, or any model who shares her diet secret to great skin, hair, and health.
Ghee is a super food in Ayurveda
It is highly valued for its medicinal properties, also for the fact that it is a great carrier-Yoga vahi for other medicines taken with it, in simple terms, medicines taken with ghee become more potent.
Ayurveda has used ghee for heart diseases (Amarprash) long before we took our traditional foods to a laboratory to be tested if they were good for us. It improves memory and intellect.
Nourishes the eyes, skin, and bones. It helps improve digestion and absorption and is an important medicine for maintaining intestinal health. It is highly valued and is suggested as the first food for babies even before the breast milk. (Quoted from Ashtanga hrudaya, Sutrasthan, Adhyaya 16).
But yes, should be used in moderation, it is high in calories and also, it still has the ability to clog your arteries if not taken in the right amount.
How much Ghee to eat?
For all those who are healthy and have good digestion, 2 to 3 teaspoons of ghee can be consumed per day. (Adhering to one’s overall calorie requirement)
How to eat Ghee?
- Early morning empty stomach.
- Can be used for cooking by replacing the conventional oils.
- With warm water and rock salt for good bowel movement and expulsion of toxins.
- Spread over roti/ rice/ bread.
- With dal and soups.
- With milk at bed time to relieve constipation and insomnia.
Why eat Ghee every day?
Boosts Immunity, helps protect from infections
Ghee helps build ojas, which roughly translates to the life force. This life force slowly depletes with Age, Stress, Buildup of toxins and Bad nutrition. Ghee is proven to boost immunity, by current day researches too.
Butyric acid in ghee does wonders for the intestines. It helps the intestinal cells to derive energy, repair and proliferate. It manages the stomach acid levels and is frequently used in ayurveda for patients suffering from hyper-acidity. Intestinal damage caused by Antibiotics, Infections, Toxins can be reversed with regular ghee consumption. Healthy intestines cause better absorption of nutrients and in turn nourish a healthier you.
Important for weight loss and balancing hormones
Ghee has a positive correlation with dyslipidemia. Majority of hormones are sterol – derivatives, which are essentially categorized under fats. Ghee provides the basis for the synthesis of healthy hormones.
Proven to improve memory functions, cognitive health and well being
Our nervous system comprises roughly of 80% fat (Myelin Sheath). For proper brain function healthy fats are a must. Coupled with Ghee’s ability to increase Sattva Guna (positivity) it is an excellent brain nourisher.
Great source of vitamin A, D, E, K2, Omega – 3 and Omega – 9 fatty acids.
Important for bone mineralization
We have all heard of the vitamin D deficiency epidemic. And it has little to do with the lack of sunshine exposure but more to do with our impaired fat metabolism. Dyslipidemia or bad cholesterol is clearly a link to hypovitaminosis D. Vitamin D deficiency results in leaching of calcium from the bones. Ghee helps correct dyslipidemia, and in turn, strengthens your bones. Also, it itself is a great source of Vitamin D.
Reduces bad cholesterol. Ghee corrects dyslipidemia.
Improves eyesight ( Ashtanga hrudaya )
Since it is the best nourisher of the nervous system and also rich in Vitamin A, in multiple ways consuming ghee daily helps keep the eyesight strong.
Is Satvik In nature, this makes one’s mind more peaceful (Ashtanga Hrudaya)
It balances all the three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) when taken in small quantities. Promotes happiness, positivity, and wellbeing.
Does not trigger lactose intolerance since it lacks the milk proteins.
Unless one is highly sensitive, Ghee is relatively safe for the ones suffering from Lactose intolerance. Unlike butter, it checks your weight too.
Regular consumption as part of a healthy diet is known to prevent kidney stone formation
Ghee promotes good kidney function according to ayurveda. Healthy kidneys indicate all your bodily toxins are flushed out efficiently and regularly.
When is Ghee bad ?
- When it is used to deep fry things beyond its smoke point.
- When ghee is followed by drinking cold water.
- During stomach infections and Jaundice.
- Ghee taken beyond the recommended dietary calories.
Which Ghee to choose?
Traditionally ghee was made in two ways, from curds-butter to ghee and second directly from cream to ghee. Although Ghee made from curd-butter is better in its health benefits, it isn’t easily available commercially.
Organic Cow’s ghee made from churned butter of indigenous breeds is the best. Ghee made from cream lacks an important samskara of fermentation and hence is slightly heavier in respect to digestion, according to Ayurveda.
Buffalo ghee is second in health benefits to cow ghee. It also has a higher fat percentage and thus should be used in lesser quantities.
Ghee Tip for the rainy season:
Low metabolism generally experienced in the damp monsoon season can be combated with a spoon of warm molten ghee taken with a pinch of Shunthi (Dry ginger powder), taken first thing in the morning.
Ghee is one of the foods ayurveda suggests should be consumed daily. Many decide to keep it off their diet when switching to a healthier diet, which is ironic. Ghee is a very healthy fat that not only eases one’s weight loss attempt but also helps balance hormones, cholesterol and promotes overall health and well being.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi is an Ayurveda consultant by training who believes clean and conscious eating is a highway to health and happiness.