Ghee - An Essential Ingredient In Indian Food
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Butter vs Ghee
Ghee is clarified butter, which means the butter is simmered into a concentrate and the residue is removed. Whatever remains is the pure combination of fats with no residue of milk, and so, ghee does not need refrigeration.
Ghee finds its origin in India and is a common cooking ingredient throughout the Indian subcontinent. Though the aroma and flavor of ghee is quite different from that of butter, but it can be used in the same way as butter. Similar to butter, which has high concentration of fats, ghee is pure fat and can affect your health. But, if taken in moderate amount, ghee can provide your body with essential nutrients that are not available in butter.
Why is Ghee Used in Indian Food?
- Energy Booster: Ghee contains a variety of fats, including medium-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids can be processed by the liver and then burnt into energy without contributing to weight gain. So ghee is very effective for people who have a high-energy lifestyle like athletes, as it can provide the energy that is required for challenges.
- Immune System Booster: Ghee has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and hence, can strengthen your immune system. Butyric acid, the most important constituent of ghee, can stimulate the production of T-cells, the immune system’s heavy-hitting cells. So one of the benefits of consuming of ghee includes the boosting of your immune system.
- Reduces Inflammation: Traditional medicine has been using ghee enemas for inflammation because of its inflammation reducing properties. Butyric acid, one of the most useful short-chain fatty acids, is a component of ghee. It can effectively decrease inflammation, and works well especially in the gastrointestinal tract. It is due to this reason that it is recommended for people with ulcerative colitis.
- Ghee for the Eyes: Ghee is rich in Vitamin A, which is good for the eyes. Carotenoids are antioxidants which can effectively neutralize free radicals that can damage the macular cells. The neutralization of these free radicals prevents macular degeneration and the development of cataracts.
- Antioxidant Activity: Ghee has a high smoke point and hence does not burn easily. This makes ghee an ideal medium for cooking Indian food. This property of ghee helps to reduce the generation of free radicals which are known to promote cancer. The powerful combination of Vitamin A in ghee, which helps to combat free radicals, along with the antioxidant capacities of conjugated linoleic acid and butyric acid also makes a powerful and potent anti-cancer remedy.
- An Aid in Digestion: Consuming ghee promotes the secretion of stomach acids which help in digestion. So ghee is added to Indian foods like khichdi and puran poli so that they can be digested better.
- Brain Tonic: Ghee is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for the overall health of a person. A deficiency of these fatty acids increases the risks of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So include ghee in your diet to keep your brain healthy and active.
Though ghee has many benefits, ghee in excess would lead to problems. Eating too much of ghee would lead to an increase in your cholesterol level due to its high content of saturated fats. But moderate amount of ghee has many benefits, including helping people with joint pains and improving vision power. To know more about ghee, click here.