Have you heard of ghee?
Ghee (pronounced with a hard G, so rhymes with key) is an Indian traditional style of butter. Ghee is made by heating up butter to allow the milk sugars and proteins to separate. The sugars move to the top, where they are skimmed off, and the protein floats to the bottom, where it can be strained when the ghee is poured into a jar. What you are left with is pure fat, without the protein or sugar often associated with dairy intolerances and allergies. You can find this alternative in Indian food grocers and in health food stores and some supermarkets.
What are the health benefits of ghee?
Ghee has it all! Comprised of the full spectrum of short, medium and long-chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated, and is nourishing to the nervous system and endocrine system. Ghee contains omega-3 and omega-9 essential fatty acids for optimal anti-inflammatory benefits, along with vitamins A, D, E and K.
In fact, ghee is one of the richest food sources of vitamin K2, which is important for dental and bone health. Vitamin K works with vitamin D and calcium for optimal bone health. Given that both vitamins D and K are fat soluble, ghee makes for the most perfect delivery vehicle. Ghee is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid known to be protective against diabetes and arterial plaque, making it a superfood in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. (Here are 10 facts about heart disease that can save your life.)
How to eat ghee
You can put ghee in just about everything you make, from smoothies to steamed broccoli. Be sure to start with eating small amounts, since the taste and mouth feel of fat may take some adjustment. Use this healthy alternative where you would normally use butter: for sautéing vegetables, cooking eggs or spreading on toast. You can also enjoy a dollop in your coffee in place of milk or cream.
Make your own clarified butter at home
- Place 1 lb butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until melted.
- Reduce heath and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- You’ll see changes; starting with a light foam that will rise on the top and bubble. Once the bubbling subsides, it will foam again and the butter will take on a deep golden colour. At this point, turn off the heat.
- Skim off the foam using a small sieve or spoon. Then, pour through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Discard the milk solids you’ve strained out. Pout it into a clean glass jar for storage.
Meghan Telpner is a bestselling author of UnDiet and The UnDiet Cookbook and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. More at meghantelpner.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at: @meghantelpner.