One of Ayurveda's most treasured foods, ghee has incredible healing properties. From our dal, khichdi to halwas and chapatti; ghee is one kitchen staple we are never getting enough of. In fact, swapping ghee with fattening refined oils has perhaps been one of the biggest blunders of the modern cooking, according to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora. According to her, "Ghee consists of fat soluble vitamins, which aid weight loss. Ghee also plays a key role in balancing hormones and maintaining healthy cholesterol. Ghee also has a high heat point, which prevents it from producing free radicals that damage cell function." Ghee is clarified butter made from the milk of a buffalo or cow. Pure desi ghee, is ghee made of cow's milk. It contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids along with Vitamin A. Beyond our kitchens, ghee finds a coveted space in beauty and hair care rituals too.
(Also Read -How to Make Ghee at Home: Easy Tips and Tricks)
Here are 9 benefits of ghee you may not have known:
1. Helps You Keep Warm From Within
Ghee is an integral part of Indian winters. According to Ayurveda, ingesting ghee helps you keep warm from within; which is perhaps why it is extensively used in many winter preparations likegajar ka halwa, moong dal halwa, pinni and panjeeri.
2. For Clogged Nose
There is nothing pleasant about cold and clogged nose. You have difficulty in breathing; your taste sense is hampered, and let's not forget the headache and exhaustion that follows. Ayurveda has an interesting nasal drop remedy that may help soothe clogged nose. Ayurvedic experts call it the Nyasa treatment for cold and it involves pouring a few drops of warm pure cow ghee into the nostrils, first thing in the morning. Doing so may provide quick relief as the ghee travels all the way down to the throat and soothes the infection. Make sure, the ghee is pure and warmed to lukewarm temperature.
(Also Read -Here's Why Ghee Is An Amazing Skin Care Ingredient)
3. Good Source Of Energy
According to the book, 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing House, ghee is a good source of energy. It contains medium and short-chain fatty acids, "of which, lauric acid is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal substance." Nursing mothers are often given ladoos loaded with ghee, since they are loaded with energy.Pinni is another Punjabi treat, which is relished across North India, not just for its taste but for its energy boosting properties too.
4. Source Of Good Fat
Are you on a weight loss spree? You may have heard a lot of people coming up with a pro-tip or two. And one of the most common weight loss tips we have all heard is- avoid fats. In a bid to lose weight, you may have even considered eliminating all fats sources from your diet. But doing so may do you more harm than good. Fats, carbs and proteins are three macronutrients that are essential for sustaining a healthy life. Removing any food group from your diet is never a sustainable way to lose weight. What you do need to do however is - choose better. Avoid all bad fats in fries, burgers and processed junk, and choose better alternatives in the form of ghee, avocados etc. According to Shilpa Arora, ghee is one of the most preferred vehicles for oleation: a process of ingesting oil over a period of time. This actually helps pull fat soluble toxins out of the cells and triggers fat metabolism, a process where the body kick-starts to burn its own fat for fuel.
(Also Read -Ghee On Your Chapattis. Yes or No?)
5. Good For Intestinal Health:
Shilpa also shares with us, that ghee happens to be one of the highest quality food sources of butyric acid, which makes it an ideal pick to support the health of the intestinal walls. The cells of the colon use butyric acid as their preferred source of energy.
6. Apply It Over Your Rotis To Decrease Glycemic Index:
In India, spreading ghee over chappatis and parathas is a standard practice. It is said that applying ghee on chapattis could bring down the glycemic index of the chapatti by some amount, in addition to making it more moist and digestible. Bangalore-based nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood recommends eating chapatis with a little ghee on top. "Latest research says that about 4 tablespoons of oil is the adequate amount of saturated fats per meal, so one percent of the saturated fats could be derived from sources like ghee. Teaming it with ghee facilitates the digestibility of the chapatti." Applying ghee on chappatis is a hit with celebrities too, Kareena Kapoor in one of her media interactions said that her grandmother, who is eighty years old, always spreads ghee on her chappatis. Even during pregnancy, Kareena made sure she had her regular dal with a spoonful of ghee, she revealed at the book launch of 'Pregnancy Notes' by Rujuta Diwekar.
7. Keeps Constipation At Bay:
Having a tough time with your bowel movements? Ghee may come to your rescue. According the book, 'The Complete Book of Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad, milk and ghee make for a mild and effective remedy for constipation. "Taking 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls of ghee in a cup of hot milk at bedtime is an effective but gentle means of relieving constipation," notes the book.
8. Good For Heart:
Much like all fats, ghee too has been guilty of raising cholesterol levels. But contrary to popular belief, ghee is in fact a much safer bet to invest in for heart health as compared to refined oil. The book 'Healing Foods' notes that the fats present in ghee are not associated with heart disease in the way that long-chain fatty acids are, as they are used directly as energy by the body and not stored as fats. Consultant Nutritionist, Dr. Rupali Datta says, "Ghee can be consumed daily in small quantities as a source of saturated fats. Children can afford to have a larger quantity every day." Studies have shown that ghee can be good for lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.
9. Great For Skin:
Ghee has been a staple part of various beauty care rituals since time immemorial. Its vital fatty acids act as a nourishing agent that can do wonders to infuse life in your dull skin. Pure desi ghee is made out of cow's milk and is said to be extremely powerful in giving you a soft and supple skin. Ghee is known to be suitable for all skin types and it also has vital fatty acids that help in hydration of the skin cells.
How To Make Ideal Ghee Face Mask For Supple And Glowing Skin:
- Mix 2 tablespoons of ghee, 2 tablespoon of besan or haldi and water in a bowl. Stir the mixture thoroughly.
- Make sure that the consistency is firm but not dry. If you find the mixture too watery, then add besan or haldi to it.
- Mix the paste well and apply it on your face. Let it sit for 20 minutes; rinse it off with cold water. Repeat thrice a week for best results.
So what are you waiting for? Get your can of ghee today. Homemade ghee can easily be kept outside for three months. Make sure it is kept away from direct sunlight and stored in an air-tight container.