5 Amazing Health Benefits of Clarified Butter (or Ghee)
First off, let’s clear up the question that everyone is wondering… What in the world is ghee? Ghee is a clarified butter made from the milk of a buffalo or cow. Still confused? We were too. Now that we understand what ghee is (kind of), it’s time to answer the next question… What the heck is clarified butter? The short answer is milk fat (sounds healthy, right?). Clarified butter is milk fat rendered after butter separates from the milk solids and water found in an average unsalted stick. Ghee is most commonly found in South Asian dishes but has recently been making its way into the diets of healthy-conscious people everywhere. And it’s been linked to many health benefits and healing powers. So if it looks like butter, tastes like butter, and smells like butter, can it actually be healthy? Keep scrolling to find out!
Those who are lactose-intolerant, you may rejoice! Milk solids in dairy products are where the protein and sugars are found. Casein, which is one of the predominate proteins found in milk and lactose, is the main reason for most dairy intolerances. Ghee is a great alternative to regular butter that contains significant amounts to lactose, because it is stripped from milk solids during the clarification process, leaving only healthy butter fats behind.
Clarified butter is chock-full of healthy fat–soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are responsible for promoting strong bone and brain health, as well as for boosting your immune system. Ghee is also rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are absorbed directly through the liver, like carbs are, and burned as energy (which is a good thing).
Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid. Intestinal bacteria convert fibers into butyric acids and then use them for energy and intestinal-wall support. By consuming clarified butter, you are as a result contributing to a healthy digestive tract. In addition, the components in ghee can help decrease inflammation, which is also important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Clarified butter, especially when derived from grass-fed cows, contains the fatty acid and conjugated linolenic acid (CLA), which can assist in weight loss. When substituting ghee for butter, it’s also important to consume it in moderation. While it is a much healthier alternative to regular butter, it is still fat.
You can make it at home, and it’s actually easier than you may think. DIY clarified butter at home with this easy recipe:
1. Slice up one stick of unsalted butter from grass-fed cows and place in a saucepan.
2. Heat the butter over medium heat until completely melted, and reduce to a simmer.
3. Cook the melted better for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. During this time the butter will begin to foam and bubble.
4. After the 10 to 15 minutes has passed, the melted butter will turn to a golden color and you will see curds of the milk solids forming toward the bottom of the saucepan.
5. Let the ghee stand to cool for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, and then slowly pour the mixture through a wire mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. (Don’t have cheesecloth? A few sheets of quality paper towels, like Viva’s Paper Towels, $39 for 24, will work too.) You can discard the chunks of milk protein after straining.
6. Enjoy the ghee!
Will you swap out your regular butter for ghee? Share with us in the comments below! And for more healthy meals, check out this top nutritionist’s meal-prep plans!