Have you ever said no to that dollop of ghee in your dal (Indian lentils) that your grandmother so ardently insists upon? If your answer is yes, then I suppose it's time to reconsider your notions about this fabulous substance called ghee. And if you're totally new to the world of ghee, welcome. 

Ghee is a form of clarified butter known to have originated in the Indian subcontinent. Butter, obtained by churning cream, contains 80% fats, 15% water and 5% milk solids. Ghee is prepared by heating the butter to its melting point and simmering it until the milk solids are separated, the water is evaporated and a clear liquid is obtained. This clear liquid fat (after discarding the milk solids) is ghee. Ghee is different from butter in terms of its preparations. While butter is made by churning fresh/fermented cream or milk and separating the butterfat from buttermilk, ghee is made by heating the churned cream until the milk solids are separated. It is this step that adds an aroma and nutty flavour to ghee. 

Ghee's existence can be dated back to when Ayurveda (a popular mind-body health system) first came around, making it a medicinal, nourishing and sacred food. But the question — is ghee healthy? Should you replace butter and your current cooking oil with ghee? Here's the answer to all your questions and whether ghee is a healthy alternative to butter or not.

1. An Added Bonus for the Lactose Intolerant

Karan Kapoor

Ghee is a healthy alternative for people who are lactose intolerant because it contains little to no amounts of lactose. Simmering butter to make ghee removes the larger component of lactose, eliminating most traces that can cause any symptoms. This process makes it a viable and convenient option for all those who have trouble with digesting lactose.

2. Major Source of Vitamin A

Neha Yadav

The dairy products of ruminants (cows, sheep, goats) are an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A. Being fat-soluble, vitamin A is stored in abundance in fats, therefore, it is present in significantly larger amounts in ghee than in milk. 100 grams of ghee contains 3069 IU of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a key player in improving vision, aiding reproduction and strengthening the immune system. It also plays a major role in the functioning of the heart, lungs and kidneys. 

3. Rich in Vitamin K

Karan Kapoor

Vitamin K can be broken into two categories- Vitamin K1, found in green vegetables and Vitamin K2 present in dairy products including ghee. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, heart health and functioning of the brain. It also helps in keeping the bones healthy and strong. 

Every 100 grams of ghee contains 8.6 micro grams of Vitamin K. Vitamin K found in ghee is essential to activate the calcium present in our body.

4. For No-Sweat Cooking

Sanya Hussain

The smoking point is the temperature at which an oil begins to burn and smoke. Oils with a low smoke point have more chances of causing fire - they also burn down important phyto-nutrients and cause the fat to oxidize and form harmful free radicals. Luckily ghee is characterized by its high-smoking point. 

Ghee is an excellent choice for cooking because of its high smoke point i.e., 485 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter has a low smoke point (200-250 degrees Fahrenheit, to be precise) in comparison to ghee. This makes ghee ideal for cooking, sauteing, frying and ensuring kitchen safety - welcome to the world of cooking that is sans smoke and fire hazards.

5. Aids Weight Loss

Exercising, working out, motivation, music, exercise, Work Out, gym, hydrate, hydration, Sneakers, water, fitness
Denise Uy

If you've consistently turned down your grandmother's heartfelt pleas of eating ghee with your meals with the sole thought that "it will make you fat", you my friend, have been living a lie. Healthy fats like ghee consist of medium-chain fatty acids that can boost fat burning and actually help the process of weight loss. 

6. You Can Bid Adieu to Hajmola

coffee, tea
Hana Brannigan

If you're in the habit of having Hajmola (a digestive tablet made of Ayurvedic herbs) after dinner, then ghee can be a substitute for the same. Ghee contains almost double the amount of short and medium-chain fatty acids as butter, making it an ideal digestive agent. These fatty acids are metabolized quickly in the body in comparison to the long-chain fatty acids which helps in better digestion - a.k.a bid farewell to that bottle of hajmola on your nani's table!

7. Free of Casein Protein

grass, herb, vegetable
Maddy McGunagle

Casein protein is a phospho-protein found in the milk of mammals. Although casein protein has a lot of benefits like controlling appetite and strengthening tooth enamel, there exists a small percentage of people who might be allergic to casein. Consumption of casein, in case of allergy can cause symptoms like bloating, gas, nausea and abdominal pain. Ghee is prepared by simmering and filtering out all the milk solids from churned butter. This ensures that ghee is free of casein protein, making it a good option for those allergic to this controversial protein.

Ghee works as a great substitute to butter and adds an aromatic and nutty flavor to your food. But, excess of everything is harmful, having 2-3 tablespoons of ghee everyday is sufficient for a healthy human body.  Having more than required amount of ghee can lead to gaining weight (which isn't what we want). We think it is time you replace cooking oil/butter with the desi, better-for-you ghee (in limited quantity) right now!