Us Americans have a bit of a love-hate relationship with butter. Delicious and creamy, butter is a mouth-watering comfort food to millions. For the last thirty years, our weight-loss obsessed culture has vilified butter and made us shun and reject it, offering vegetable spreads and margarine as a ‘healthy’ alternative. Recent research shows, however, that the right kind of butter may be jut what the doctor ordered.
Saturated fats, like coconut oil and ghee, have been attacked due to their high cholesterol level and fat content. The truth is however, that fat is an essential part of a healthy diet that supports the vibrant functioning of every organ in our bodies. Essential fatty acids are critical, and because our bodies don’t produce them on their own we must get them from our diets. This is why quality sources of fat are so necessary, and why clarified butter is a great way to get it.
Ayurveda, an ancient healing science that began in India, has used clarified butter, or ghee, as a healing and cleansing part of a healthy and well-rounded diet. Ghee made from grass-fed animals is insanely high in nutrients necessary to our physical and mental health. Modern science is now proving that ghee is in fact a superfood. Here’s why.
1. Weight loss and management
The medium chain fatty acids in clarified butter are an excellent tool in burning fat and maintaining a healthy weight. They improve your metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories when you’re not exercising, and support your liver in releasing extra water held in tissues around the body. It also stabilizes your appetite and reduces cravings, regulating the processes that dictate how much and how often you eat, helping to prevent overeating.
2. Mental health and longevity
Clarified butter is rich in omega-3s which are critical for brain health. Our brains are 80% fat, and at only 2% of our body weight it takes 20% of our energy haul. Healthy fat enables the brain to fire neurons and function more efficiently. It helps our brains produce natural sleep aids, stress reducers, and mood enhancers, and is a potentially powerful tool in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s.
3. Healthy cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is healthy cholesterol, and transfers bad cholesterol back to the liver to be burned. It acts as the foundation for healthy tissue and hormone formation, aids in digestion, and helps form the structure of every cell in your body. Clarified butter supports the creation of healthy cholesterol, helping to balance the ratio of healthy to unhealthy cholesterol.
Inflammation is the underlying cause of all pain and illness. Certain foods and activities contribute to inflammation, including sugar, processed foods, alcohol, toxins, stress, cigarettes, and heavy breathing, to name a few. Over time, chronic inflammation acts as the foundation for disease to develop in the form of allergies, intestinal complications, cancer, auto-immune disease, arthritis and so forth. Ghee is anti-inflammatory, and can potentially reduce and neutralize the underlying factors that cause so much sickness.
You can buy ghee at the store, or you can make it easily at home on your own. Use it to cook with, melt on oatmeal, or put a scoop of in your coffee. It has no casein or lactose, so it’s safe if you have a dairy allergy. As with everything, moderation is key. Treat ghee as a superfood, as such that it should be enjoyed in small quantities and with reverence. Sourcing is key here too, so make sure it’s coming from grass fed, organically raised cows, sheep, or goats.
Photo by Crucifix Jean-Luc