7 Amazing Health Benefits of Ghee

  • November 25, 2023
Reading Time: 7 minutes


Ghee is a healthy fat that frequently rises to the occasion from butter, luring people who are looking for something better. Ghee, made from clarified butter, has a long history and is embedded in both culinary and Ayurvedic customs. Its popularity in the wellness community has grown recently, with claims of several health benefits and culinary variety.
With roots in ancient India, ghee has been a part of culinary traditions for thousands of years. Since its introduction to Indian cuisine in antiquity, it has been a crucial part of Ayurvedic and Indian cooking traditions for many years. Its exact historical debut into Indian cuisine is not well documented, but Indian culture has been using it for thousands of years.

Historical Background:

Ancient India is where ghee first appeared thousands of years ago. It has been an essential component of religious rites, Ayurvedic healing, and Indian culinary customs. Ghee is symbolic and utilized in religious offerings and rites in Hinduism.

Culinary Uses:

Ghee’s rich flavor and high smoke point make it a highly regarded ingredient in Indian cooking. It is used in traditional meals like lentils, curries, biryanis, and desserts as well as for sautéing and frying. To improve flavor and aroma, it is also added to rice, dals (lentils), and different kinds of bread, such as roti and naan.

Cultural Significance:

Ghee transcends its culinary role and is deeply embedded in cultural practices. It’s seen as a symbol of purity, vitality, and auspiciousness. Its use extends beyond the kitchen, featuring prominently in traditional medicine and Ayurveda for its healing properties.

Modern-day Usage

While ghee has historic and cultural ties, its popularity isn’t confined to South Asia. It has gained recognition globally due to its rich flavor, health claims, and suitability for lactose-intolerant individuals.

Ghee’s versatility, nutritional value, and cultural significance continue to make it a cherished ingredient not only in traditional Indian cuisine but also in contemporary culinary practices worldwide.

What Sets Ghee Apart?

Nutritional and Medicinal Value – Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, acknowledges ghee as a therapeutic ingredient. It’s believed to balance the doshas (body energies), promote digestion, and support overall health when consumed in moderation. The uniqueness of **ghee** lies in its preparation. Through a meticulous process of simmering butter to remove milk solids, ghee achieves a higher smoke point, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking. This process not only enhances its flavor profile but also results in a product almost entirely devoid of lactose and casein, making it a viable option for lactose-intolerant individuals.

Nutrient Composition – Ghee is a powerhouse of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and D. Moreover, its rich composition of medium and short-chain fatty acids contributes to its digestibility and absorption by the body. The presence of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, has been linked to potential anti-inflammatory and gut health benefits, which adds to the allure of ghee as a health-conscious choice.

Health Benefits of Ghee

Supports Digestive Health – The role of ghee in supporting digestive health cannot be overstated. It aids in the lubrication of the gastrointestinal tract, promoting smoother digestion and absorption of nutrients. Its butyric acid content has shown promise in potentially reducing inflammation in the digestive system, offering relief to individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Boosts Immune Function – Ghee’s rich profile of fat-soluble vitamins contributes to strengthening the immune system. Vitamin A, in particular, plays a pivotal role in maintaining healthy vision, skin, and a robust immune response. Incorporating ghee into one’s diet can aid in meeting the body’s requirements for these vital nutrients.

Promotes Heart Health – Contrary to the misconception that all saturated fats are detrimental, ghee contains saturated fats that may have a neutral effect on heart health when consumed in moderation. The presence of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in ghee has been associated with potential cardiovascular benefits, including lowering bad cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease

Nutrition table for 1 tablespoon of ghee

Note: **

Saturated Fat: It’s a type of fat found in foods like butter and meat that, when eaten in excess, can raise cholesterol levels and potentially increase the risk of heart disease.

Monounsaturated Fat: This type of fat, present in olive oil and avocados, is heart-healthy and can help lower bad cholesterol levels when used instead of saturated fats.

Polyunsaturated Fat: These fats, found in sources like salmon and nuts, are essential for the body and can help lower both bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease when eaten in moderation.

Ghee has found its way into various international dishes and cuisines beyond South Asia. Its rich flavor and high smoke point make it a sought-after ingredient in different culinary traditions. Here are a few examples:

Middle Eastern Cuisine: In Middle Eastern cuisines, ghee, known as “samneh” or “samna,” is used in dishes like “rice pilafs”, sweets such as baklava, and savory dishes like kibbeh, adding richness and depth to the flavors.

ghee uses

Family eating rice pilafs

African Cuisine: Some African cuisines, especially in countries like Ethiopia and Eritrea, use ghee in traditional dishes like injera (a sourdough flatbread) and various stews to enhance taste and texture.

Ghee Uses

Sourdough flatbread

Southeast Asian Cuisine: Certain Southeast Asian cuisines, including Malaysian and Indonesian, incorporate ghee in dishes like biryanis, curries, and sweets, influenced by the Indian culinary heritage.

Ghee Uses

Malaysian sweet dish

European and Western Cuisine: While not as prevalent, ghee has gained popularity in certain Western countries among health-conscious consumers. It’s sometimes used in baking, cooking, and even in making clarified butter for specific recipes.

Though ghee may not be a staple in these cuisines, its unique flavor and versatility have led to its inclusion in various international dishes, adding a distinct richness and depth of taste.

How ghee is prepared?

Ghee, a clarified form of butter, undergoes a straightforward yet meticulous preparation process:

1. Butter Selection: High-quality unsalted butter is typically chosen for ghee preparation. Unsalted butter is preferred to avoid excessive sodium content in the final product.

2. Heating: The butter is placed in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot over low to medium heat. As the butter melts, it separates into three layers: foam on top, clarified butter in the middle, and milk solids at the bottom.

3. Simmering: The butter is allowed to simmer gently. During this process, the water content evaporates, and the milk solids begin to separate and settle at the bottom of the pan.

4. Skimming: As the butter simmers, the foam on top is skimmed off using a spoon or ladle. This foam consists of water and milk solids, which are removed to clarify the butter further.

5. Straining: Once the liquid becomes clear and the milk solids at the bottom turn golden brown, indicating caramelization, the heat is turned off. The clear, golden liquid, which is now ghee, is carefully strained through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the remaining milk solids.

6. Cooling and Storing: The strained ghee is allowed to cool to room temperature. As it cools, it solidifies into a creamy, golden substance. It can then be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, away from moisture and direct sunlight, where it remains stable for an extended period.

This process of gently simmering butter and removing the impurities results in the creation of ghee, a clarified and flavorful form of butter with a distinct nutty aroma and a higher smoke point than regular butter.

Potential adverse effects of ghee

While ghee is generally considered a healthy fat and holds several potential health benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential adverse effects, especially when consumed excessively or by individuals with specific health conditions. Here are some potential concerns associated with ghee consumption:

1. High in Saturated Fat: Ghee is predominantly composed of saturated fats, which in excessive amounts, may contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease if consumed in large quantities.

2. Caloric Density: Ghee is calorically dense, with one tablespoon containing around 120 calories. Overconsumption can lead to weight gain if not accounted for within daily caloric intake.

3. May Trigger Allergies: Although ghee is mostly free of lactose and casein, trace amounts may remain, making it unsuitable for individuals with severe dairy allergies or sensitivities.

4. Not Suitable for Certain Dietary Restrictions: Due to its animal-derived origin, ghee isn’t suitable for vegan or plant-based diets.

5. Not Recommended for Pancreatitis: Individuals suffering from pancreatitis or related conditions might need to limit their fat intake, including ghee, as it can exacerbate symptoms.

6. Potential for Oxidation: Like any fat, ghee can undergo oxidation when exposed to high heat or light for extended periods. While ghee has a high smoke point, excessive heating might lead to the formation of harmful compounds.

7. Impact on Blood Lipids: For individuals with existing high cholesterol levels or a history of heart disease, excessive consumption of ghee might further impact blood lipid levels negatively.

It’s crucial to consume ghee in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Consulting a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is advisable, especially for individuals with specific health concerns or dietary restrictions, to determine the appropriate amount of ghee intake suitable for their individual needs.


In summary, **ghee** stands tall as a healthier alternative to butter, boasting a myriad of health benefits and culinary applications. Its nutrient-dense composition and potential positive impact on digestive, immune, and heart health make it a compelling addition to a balanced diet.

Whether as a cooking staple or a wellness enhancer, ghee continues to carve its place in modern diets, offering a delectable and health-conscious choice for the discerning consumer.

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