Never heard of ghee before? Here's what you need to know about the healthy butter alternative. Ghee is a clarified version of (high-quality, grass-fed organic) butter, in that it's cooked down to remove milk proteins and impurities, leaving it with an oily consistency; think of it like a butter version of coconut oil. Since most of the original moisture, like milk fat and water, is removed in the lengthy cooking process, ghee is richer, and slightly nutty in flavor—a little bit goes a long way. This makes it a great substitute for those with allergy restrictions, as it boasts all of the same benefits, minus the casein and lactose that cause averse reactions from real butter. It also has a longer shelf life (months in an airtight container).
Now let's get down to the nutrients. Revered as "liquid gold" in India, ghee is known as a symbol of nourishment, balance, healing, and well-being by ayurvedic practitioners.
When used as a replacement for butter, ghee can help with vitamin absorption, especially vitamin A, which many who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, gluten sensitivities, and other leaky gut or digestive disorders are deficient of. Like coconut oil, it is also rich in healthy fatty acids, which can aid in liver function and help burn fat to promote weight loss. Ghee also contains butyric acid, which acts as an anti-inflammatory for the digestive tract, helps stabilize insulin levels, and protects against fungal infections. Vitamins D and E are also found in ghee, which help boost the metabolism and overall internal functions of the body. We're not done yet: Ghee is also a great source of fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin K) and does wonders for your teeth, bones, hair, skin, and nails.
You'll also be a better chef when you cook with it, as ghee has a much higher smoke point than butter, making it an easy and flavorful ingredient in the kitchen. No burnt onions here. When heated to high temperature, it won't break down into free radicals like other cooking oils. Contributing the same flavor as butter, it's perfect for stir-fries, sautées, and sauces. We also like it smeared on toast or on top of pancakes or waffles.
Go get your hands on some ghee, and shop a few of our other favorite kitchen staples below.
Are you already a fan of ghee, or will you try it now that you know about all of its benefits? Tell us in the comments below.