10 things most people don’t know about Indian cow ghee
There are many ingredients that add taste and nutrition to your food. But then there are very few that are so versatile that they can be termed as “superfoods”. They are super because they go beyond the boundaries of what you normally expect from a good meal. They are healthy, they are nutritious, they are medicinal, they are pure and most importantly…THEY ARE DELICIOUS.
Indian cow ghee surely deserves a spot on this coveted superfood list. Most Indian households have ghee as a standard on their kitchen shelves. But sadly, there are so many misconceptions that surround the use of ghee. It is way too underutilized.
Some worry about ghee making them fat. Others feel that it’s too expensive. Then there are also myths about ghee being bad for the heart. If only people could somehow know that these are all not at all true! The benefits and uses of this magical ingredient are limitless and I can actually write a book on it. For now, let’s look at 10 things that most people don’t know about Indian cow ghee.
1. Ghee has medicinal uses :
Ayurveda has an important place reserved for ghee. If you didn’t already know, Ayurvedic medicine stresses on the balance between three elements or doshas called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. When there is an imbalance between any of these elements, we face health problems.
The Pitta dosha controls the metabolism in the body and that’s where ghee comes in. Ghee is used as an agent to heal the body from inside out. Many ayurvedic medicinal herbs are administered by mixing them with ghee for a better effect. This healthy fat acts as a catalyst in the healing process for the body by helping the body absorb the medicines much better.
2. Ghee has a high smoke point :
You might ask what do you mean by smoke point. Or why is a high smoke point a good thing? Very simply put, the smoke point is the temperature at which an oil/fat starts to burn and smoke. When this happens, the nutrients in the oil are destroyed and instead toxins are released. Therefore, it’s logical that a fat with a high smoke point (can withstand more heat before getting to the point of smoking), is a better choice for cooking.
Ghee has a smoking point of 252°C which is higher than your regular sunflower oil or coconut oil. You can even use ghee for deep frying because of this strong quality and be rest assured that even at high temperatures the benefits of ghee will be intact.
3. Ghee makes for an excellent massage oil :
Applying ghee all over the body is also a common practice in Ayurvedic massage. The combined effect of the massage strokes and the absorption of the ghee into the skin is truly therapeutic. This form of massage or Abhyanga is said to slow down the aging process because of the impact it has on the body and mind.
Ghee is supposed to be rich in antioxidants and it’s a wonderful agent to make your sensory organs more effective. Which is why it’s use for body massages is considered to have a healing effect and works as a cure for people struggling with various types of inflammation.
4. There’s more than one way of making ghee :
The process of making ghee can be as laborious or simple as you want it to be. As is always the case, the laborious process yields a far superior end product! Most industries produce ghee by adding milk to a machine where the cream is separated from the milk. The milk without the cream is then sold in the markets to maximise profits. The ghee produced from this is sold at lower prices and the milk left over is further diluted before it’s sold.
The better process of making pure ghee is to start with high-quality desi cow’s milk. This milk is converted into curd, churned manually to produce butter which is then heated to make the ghee. Whereas the previous process uses 25 liters of milk to produce ghee and then even reuses the milk. This process takes close to 40 liters of milk to produce one kg of ghee. Needless to say that the cost is higher for better quality ghee.
What makes the ghee produced this way better you might ask? For one, it is the correct ancient practice. Secondly, the curd used to produce ghee with this technique has the advantage of more healthy bacteria as a result of the culturing process. The choice is yours.
5. The relationship between ghee and cholesterol :
Poor cholesterol has been given such a bad name. It’s really hard to see it in a positive light. The subjectivity associated with it is completely lost. Even when we talk about “good cholesterol” it almost feels like we are referencing something bad. The truth is far from that. Yes, some forms of cholesterol are very bad for us. But there is a good form of it as well which is good for your body, in fact, it is essential.
Eliminating fats from your diet completely to maintain a healthy heart can actually work against you. Good quality cow ghee is known to work on decreasing the bad cholesterol in your blood. It improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. This, in turn, can reduce your risk of heart disease in the long run.
Ghee also contains essential fatty acids (Omega 3/6), vitamins A/D/E/K and is easily digested by our bodies.
6. Ghee soothes and heals the skin :
Lip balms are quite the fad for all the flavors and packages they come in. If you are not one to go after these trends and prefer more natural remedies, you should consider ghee. Especially in the winter months, when you are struggling to fix your chapped lips, ghee can come in very handy. It’s pure, it’s natural and best of all, it’s edible.
Instead of applying something filled with chemicals on your lips where the chances of ingestion are high, wouldn’t it be better to use something simple and natural? I think I changed my mind after reading a warning on the lip balm of a popular brand. It went something like this “Warning: Contact poison control immediately if ingested”.
Whoever wrote that never licked their lips! Even the glue stick that I use has the words “non-toxic” on it, but not the lip balm!
So no thank you, I’ll stick to yummy ghee. 2-3 days of application every few hours will make all the difference and keep your skin soft and supple.
Ghee can also be used for cuts, burns, and ulcers to get quick relief. It is also suggested that mixing ghee with honey has a pretty drastic effect on healing wounds.
7. Ghee, a brain tonic :
60% of your brain is fat. A diet that does not contain any healthy fats robs your brain of essential nutrients required to function optimally. These fats cannot be synthesized in your body unless they are consumed as a part of your diet. On the other hand, if you have a healthy inclusion of fats in your meals, you can boast of strong memory power and intelligence.
Apart from the many other benefits ghee has for the healthy functioning of your body, improving the functioning of your brain is quite an important one. Afterall, a healthy mind rules over everything else. Elements of ghee like omega 3 fatty acids, provide nutrition to the membranes in your brain and also help the enzymes within cell membranes that transport valuable nutrients.
8. Ghee supports weight loss :
Pure ghee is used as an essential element in any Ayurvedic treatment associated with weight management and better digestion. The fatty chain acids that are present in ghee can actually break down bad fats in your body. Also, the positive effect ghee has on your digestive system makes it quite a well-liked ingredient. Apart from enriching your body with rich vitamins, it cleanses your system making you feel light from inside out as you shed the kilos.
If you are trying to lose weight, don’t try to avoid this magical ingredient. Consuming up to 2 teaspoons of ghee per day is highly recommended as part of a healthy diet plan.
9. Ghee is Lactose-Free :
People with a lactose intolerance can really find it disappointing to have to miss out on so many good food items because of their condition. The good news is that cow’s ghee made from pure A2 milk will most likely suit you! Most individuals with lactose and casein sensitivities don’t react negatively when they include ghee in their diet.
The process of making ghee, especially if its made by fermenting the milk (curd), removes the lactose and only the pure fat is left behind. The end product contains little or no lactose making is safe for most to consume.
10. It’s delicious :
How could we leave this fact out? It’s going to be hard to believe that some people have never tasted the goodness of ghee. They are surely missing out on something. The lingering nutty flavour of ghee is what makes Indian sweets so hard to resist even more than the level of sugar in them.
Ghee spread over a warm paratha or in a bowl of khichdi also makes for the ultimate comfort food. I can go on and on about this creamy ingredient, with a mildly sweet flavour. Go ahead and add a teaspoon full to your meal today. You now know that you don’t have to worry, but just enjoy the deliciousness knowing that you are doing your body a favour.