Ghee has been the heart of Indian cuisine since ancient times. Indulging in a dollop of ghee every day may not only delight your taste buds but also offer a plethora of health benefits. Known for centuries in traditional Indian medicine as a symbol of purity and a key ingredient in Ayurvedic practices, ghee, or clarified butter, has gained recognition in contemporary wellness circles for its potential positive impact on the body.
According to Dr Ranga Santhosh Kumar, physician & diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, taking a small portion of ghee on a daily basis can boost overall health, strengthen bones and improve gut health. However, he does warn that consuming it in a huge amount can also cause severe harm to the body.
Nutritional Powerhouse: Ghee is a concentrated source of healthy fats, primarily saturated fats and essential fatty acids. It is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and D, which play crucial roles in maintaining overall health. Additionally, ghee contains butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid with potential anti-inflammatory properties.
Dr Dilip Gude, senior physician at Yashoda hospitals, noted that improved vitamin A absorption due to ghee consumption can also improve skin health.
Digestive harmony and joint support: Ayurvedic expert Dr Rekha Radhamony attributed both digestive harmony and joint support to some of the benefits of ghee consumption, in a previous interaction with indianexpress.com.
Dr Kumar also noted that “a humble intake of this potent fat can help in boosting bone health and helps in reducing joint pains and is great for overall health.”
Boosts Immunity: The rich content of fat-soluble vitamins in ghee is linked to immune system support. Vitamin A, in particular, is crucial for maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes, acting as a first line of defense against pathogens.
Weight Management: Contrary to common beliefs associating ghee with weight gain, moderate consumption as part of a balanced diet may contribute to a feeling of satiety, according to Dr Gude. The healthy fats in ghee can help keep you fuller for longer, potentially aiding in weight management.
Boosts children’s memory: Memory power, eyesight and immunity may be boosted with ghee intake in children
How much is too much?
Dr Gude emphasised the need to understand that ghee intake should be in moderation, especially when an adult beyond 40yrs of age crosses those dietary limits.
Dr Kumar explained that too much consumption of ghee can impact heart health as it is rich in saturated fats. “It can lead to clogging of arteries. In fact, people suffering from fatty liver conditions should also avoid or reduce the intake of this ghee.”
He also advised avoiding ghee when you feel bloated or are suffering from acidity and indigestion.
“Since ghee is rich in fats and cholesterol, it may lead to heart disorders and cancer in senior citizens. Thus, it is suggested that the elderly must stay away from clarified butter to avoid putting their heart at risk. Avoid having ghee incase of diarrhea attacks as ghee acts as a natural laxative,” said Dr Kumar.