Ghee: Better than Butter?

Used in Indian cooking, ghee has been making its way into a variety of recipes. It is also being used in replacement for butter and oil in home cooked recipes and baked goods. So what is ghee? Ghee is derived from butter. Ghee is butter that has been cooked, which removes the moisture and milk solids and then is filtered. This leads to a nutty, deep, and rich flavor. In comparison, butter still contains the butterfat, milk solids and water, which makes it have a more milky, creamy, and sweet flavor.

Ghee does not contain milk solids and has zero to minimal amounts of lactose, which is unlikely to have an effect on those with lactose intolerance. This makes ghee suitable for those with dairy sensitivities. Although butter is not considered bad for you, ghee contains many health benefits making it a better option over butter.  

High Smoke Point

Ghee has a higher smoke point compared to normal butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. This is important because heating oil to smoking point produces harmful free radicals and toxic fumes. This makes ghee a great option for high-temperature frying or cooking.

Nutrition Profile

Ghee is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are important for bone, brain and immune health. If prepared from grass-fed cows, it is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), an antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties.

Digestion & Immune Health

Ghee is rich in butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that supports gut health and a strong immune system. This butyrate can also help improve your digestive system by stimulating fiber into more butyric acid. Gastric acid production is also increased, aiding in efficient digestion.

Decreases Inflammation

Research shows that butyric acid may decrease inflammation in parts of the body especially in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.

Although ghee is an ideal substitute for butter, you should still keep in mind that ghee has a high saturated fat content with the same caloric content as butter. Excessive consumption of ghee can become a negative dietary choice. Therefore, it should still be enjoyed in moderation.

Below are some ideas to incorporate ghee into your cooking.

1. When baking, replace butter and coconut oil with ghee.

2. When a recipe calls for cooking oil, replace with ghee.

3. Toss steamed vegetables with 1-2 tsp. of melted ghee.

4. If roasting vegetables, drizzle with 1-2 tsp. melted ghee before baking.

5. Add 1-2 tsp into your coffee & blend together for a rich flavored frothy butter coffee.