With many people starting the ketogenic diet, consuming healthy fats have been getting a lot of attention. Many keto dieters rely heavily on olive oil, for example, and another oil is ghee. Ghee is made by heating butter which makes it more nutrient-rich and full of flavor. It also has tons of vitamins and fatty acids. Furthermore, ghee can also aid in weight loss and help build stronger bones! For those considering the keto diet, ghee is something that may help a dieter succeed. To learn more about ghee and why it should be added to your pantry, keep reading to learn more about this healthy fat. To learn more about the keto diet, you can read up on it and its many benefits on the Body Reboot book.
If you’re curious about what ghee is made of and why it is so rich in essential fatty acids read Optimoz’s excellent summary:
Ghee is made by continuing to heat the clarified butter until the colour of the liquid changes from light yellow to deep gold due to the process of caramelisation. At this point, any remaining milk solids and other impurities will clump and sink to the bottom of the pan. The ghee is then removed from the heat and strained before storing.
Ghee is made up of the full spectrum of short, medium, and long chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated. It is a more concentrated source of fat than butter and possesses a high degree of saturation (53.9–66.8%). Ghee is rich in essential fatty acids omega 3 and omega 9 and fat soluble vitamins A (beta-carotene), D, E, and K. It also contains phenolic antioxidants and is rich in butyric acid (also known as butyrate). Ghee made from the milk of grass-fed cows is one of the highest natural sources of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and also contains Vitamin A as a by product of beta-cartonene ingested by the cattle. It is important to note that the cholesterol fraction in ghee resists oxidation.
A study done in 2010 by Ayi discusses the many benefits of ghee. It turns out that ghee may help prevent coronary heart disease, and it may also help people experience more daily energy. Since ghee is an excellent source of fat on the keto diet, these findings are very encouraging!
For thousands of years Ayurveda has considered ghee to be the healthiest source of edible fat. In the last several decades, ghee has been implicated in the increasing prevalence of CAD in Asian Indians. Our previous research and data available in the literature do not support a conclusion of harmful effects of the moderate consumption of ghee in the general population. Our present study on Fischer inbred rats indicates that consumption of 10% ghee may increase triglyceride levels, but does not increase lipid peroxidation processes that are linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Many research studies have been published, which report beneficial properties of ghee and herbal mixtures containing ghee. In animal studies, there was a dose-dependent decrease in serum total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL, and triglycerides; decreased liver total cholesterol, triglycerides, and cholesterol esters; and a lower level of nonenzymatic-induced lipid peroxidation in liver homogenate, in Wistar outbred rats. Similar results were obtained with heated (oxidized) ghee. When ghee was used as the sole source of fat at a 10% level, there was a large increase in oleic acid levels and a large decrease in arachidonic acid levels in serum lipids. In rats fed ghee-supplemented diets, there was a significant increase in the biliary excretion of cholesterol with no effect on the HMG CoA reductase activity in liver microsomes. A 10% ghee-supplemented diet decreased arachidonic acid levels in macrophage phospholipids in a dose-dependent manner. Serum thromboxane and prostaglandin levels were significantly decreased and secretion of leukotrienes by activated peritoneal macrophages was significantly decreased.
A study on a rural population in India showed a significantly lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in men who consumed higher amounts of ghee. High doses of medicated ghee decreased serum cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, and cholesterol esters in psoriasis patients. There were significant improvements in the patients’ psoriasis symptoms as well. MAK-4, a herbal mixture containing ghee, increased the resistance of LDL to oxidation in hyperlipidemic patients and had no effect on levels of serum total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, or triglycerides in these patients. Other mixtures containing ghee have shown hepatoprotective effects, anticonvulsant activity, effects on enhancement of memory, and enhancement of wound healing.
These positive research findings support the beneficial effects of ghee outlined in the ancient Ayurvedic texts and the therapeutic use of ghee for thousands of years in the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
As we just discussed above, men who incorporated larger amounts of ghee in their diet experience excellent health benefits. Another mention of study and a discussion of ghee’s many benefits is on Lipids Health Dis, in 2013.
This paper is the first report of the antioxidant and antiatherogenic properties of the high CLA enriched ghee suggesting that high CLA ghee can be used as a potential food for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, particularly in India, where, ghee is widely used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Dr. Axe discusses more health benefits of ghee. A few are it’s packed with fat-soluble vitamins, and it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a fatty acid that has a ton of health benefits. Plus, it also aids in weight loss! If you’re on keto because you’d like to lose weight and get healthy, then that’s good news for you.
It’s Packed with Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Adding a few servings of ghee into your day is an excellent way to squeeze in some extra fat-soluble vitamins. Ghee can help boost your intake of vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K, all important nutrients that play a role in everything from maintaining healthy vision to keeping your skin glowing.
This can be especially crucial if you suffer from any conditions like leaky gut syndrome, IBS or Crohn’s, as your body may have difficulty absorbing these fat-soluble vitamins. Ghee benefits your health by providing a boost of these nutrients to help you meet your daily needs.
It Contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Ghee is jam-packed with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid associated with a long list of health benefits. Some studies have found that CLA may be effective in reducing body fat, preventing cancer formation, alleviating inflammation and even lowering blood pressure.
Keep in mind that grass-fed dairy provides a higher concentration of this important fatty acid. Opt for grass-fed ghee whenever possible, or be sure to use grass-fed butter if you’re making ghee at home.
It Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
The medium-chain fatty acids found in healthy fats like ghee and coconut oil can boost fat burning and help ramp up weight loss. A 2015 review comprising 13 trials actually found that medium-chain triglycerides helped decrease body weight, waist and hip circumference, total fat, and belly fat compared to long-chain triglycerides.
Not only that, but CLA, one of the primary fatty acids found in ghee, has also been associated with reduced body fat mass as well.
Curious how to use ghee for weight loss to achieve maximum results? Swap out unhealthy fats like vegetable oils for ghee instead, and try roasting, sautéing or baking your favorite healthy dishes to get the most out of these ghee benefits.
Ghee also helps with GI issues, according to Care2:
Ghee (unlike other oils) is rich in butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid. Beneficial intestinal bacteria convert fiber into butyric acid and then use that for energy and intestinal wall support. A healthy body therefore makes its own form of ‘ghee’ but you can aid that greatly by consuming it.
Healthy Digestive Tract
Research shows that people with unhealthy digestive tracts do not produce butyric acid.
Healthy Immune System
Research shows that adequate production of butyric acid supports the production of killer T cells in the gut and thus a strong immune system.
Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Cancer
Researchers are using oral butyrate supplements and butyrate enemas to treat inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
Ayurvedic physicians have been using ghee enemas for centuries to decrease inflammation.
Ghee stimulates the secretion of gastric acid, thus aiding in the digestive process. Better digestion equals better health and weight loss.
Huffington Post does warn that ghee is high in saturated fat, however, so even though studies have shown that it may help lower cholesterol levels, it’s important to keep that in mind still.
However, readers should keep in mind that ghee still has a high saturated fat content, even though some studies have linked ghee to lowering cholesterol levels. Traditionally, Khatar says ghee was also used for natural home remedies to treat burns, swelling and pain along with being a cooking ingredient.
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