If you’ve taken a stroll down the specialist aisle in your local supermarket, or if you love preparing Indian recipes, you might have noticed a product called ghee. This ingredient has been a staple in Indian and Pakistani cuisine for centuries. It has been used in complementary medicine too1.
Ghee is gaining popularity around the world for its reported health benefits. If you’re wondering if it’s worth including in your nutrition plans, we’ve got the lowdown on all things ghee below.
What is ghee?
Ghee is a type of clarified butter, which has been heated up for long periods to remove the water and milk solids. What’s left is a concentrated form of butterfat, which can be stored at room temperature.
Why is ghee good for you?
There is a range of reported ghee health benefits, which could make it a worthwhile addition to your nutrition plan. Ghee is thought to be rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, antioxidants and other compounds, as well as plenty of healthy fats.
Some ghee benefits might include:
- Improved brain health
- Improved digestion and gut health
- Improved eye, skin, and hair health
- Improved heart health
- Boosted immune system2
It’s worth bearing in mind that research is still underway for all the potential health benefits and side effects of consuming ghee. If you’re not sure, talk to your doctor or dietician before changing up your diet.
When should you avoid using ghee?
Ghee is a type of fat, so it’s essential to eat it in moderation. Consuming too much could lead to weight gain and other health difficulties, so stick to the recommended amount (or whatever works for your body).
You should think about avoiding ghee (or large amounts of ghee) if you have:
- Problems with cholesterol
- Problems with your weight
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease 3 4
Otherwise, ghee is considered safe to eat and can be enjoyed alongside healthy and balanced meals. Remember to stop using ghee if you notice any unwanted side effects or problems.
Should you use ghee instead of butter?
When thinking about ghee health benefits, many of us wonder whether it’s worth using this ingredient instead of butter. Generally speaking, ghee and butter have very similar nutritional profiles. That means neither one is ‘better’ for us than the other5.
However, some other ghee benefits could make it a more attractive ingredient in your cooking. Ghee can be better than butter because of its:
- Higher smoke point (meaning you can cook with it at higher temperatures)
- Lactose-free profile (meaning those with lactose intolerance may find it an excellent alternative)
- Delicious nutty flavour
If you do want to add ghee to your diet, you’ll be pleased to know that you can substitute it for butter in most recipes. If you’re a keen baker, you can even incorporate ghee as a baking ingredient in your favourite treats. Remember, though, you might need to add a little more water depending on the recipe you choose6.
Last Updated: 13th October 2020