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Nutrition Facts of Ghee: The Health Benefits and Side Effects

The Nutrition Facts of Ghee (Clarified Butter)

The first known mention on ghee is from Caraka Samhita of 400BC. The word Ghee comes from the Sanskrit word “gheya” which means clarified butter. It is rich in nutrients and has a variety of health benefits.

Ghee is an amazing indian staple food found in many indian dishes. It is made by cooking butter until the water evaporates and the milk solids brown. It is a great source of fat and has no cholesterol. Ghee is said to have higher smoking point than regular butter.

This article discusses the nutrition facts of ghee and it’s health benefits.

Nutrition Facts of Ghee

Ghee tastes great and has many nutrition facts that are beneficial to your health. It also provides a good opportunity for anyone who wants to give their diet an extra boost of high quality nutrient-rich fat.

Below is a nutrition information provided by the USDA for one tablespoon (14g) of ghee.

  • Energy: 123kcal
  • Water: 0.034g
  • Protein: 0.039g
  • Fat: 13.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Calcium: 0.56mg
  • Iron: 0mg
  • Magnesium: 0mg
  • Phosphorus: 0.42mg
  • Potassium: 0.7mg
  • Sodium: 0.28mg

Fats

Ghee is 99% fat, mainly saturated fatty acids – the major component of fat in ghee. Predominant saturated fatty acids in ghee include palmitic, stearic and myristic acid. The concentrations of these fatty acids are higher than butter.

However, short chain fatty acids in ghee such as butyric, caproic, caprylic and capric acid are in lower concentrations than in butter. This gives ghee a longer storage life than butter with less rancid off-flavor. These fatty acids are potentially beneficial for reducing body weight and body fat. Further, these fatty acids are easily digestible and transferred directly from the intestine to the portal circulation and are a preferred source of energy.

Vitamins

Ghee is an important source of soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. In that, vitamin A and E are antioxidants. Vitamin A is known to be present in two forms; one is an ester and carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the body.

  • Vitamin A: Keeps epithelial tissue of the body intact; the outer lining of the eyeball moist and prevents blindness.
  • Vitamin E: Studies reveal that Vitamin E is essential for normal pregnancy, birth and breast milk production.
  • Vitamin D: Is known to play an important role both in lying down of calcium and phosphorous in the bones and also in the greater absorption of these elements from the diet.

Health Benefits of Ghee

The benefits of ghee include increased gut health, better digestion, improved cognitive functioning and more.

1. Ghee Helps in Digestion

Ghee contains butyric acid; a short chain fatty acid which contributes to it’s distinct flavor and easy digestion. Beneficial intestinal bacteria converts fiber into butyric acid and then use that for energy and intestinal wall support.

Studies have confirmed that people with unhealthy digestive tracts do not produce butyric acid. Research suggest that the production of killer T-cells in the gut gets support from production of butyric acid and as a result strong immune system.

2. Eye Lubricant Activity

Ghee is very useful for computer vision syndrome (CVS). The Goghrita contains 98% glycerides and some fatty acids which has lubricating property beneficial for reduction of the symptoms of CVS. It contains Vitamin A that is accountable for the moistening of the eyeball and can prevent blindness.

3. Ayurvedic Applications

Cow milk ghee is essentially desired for ayurveda. Ghee is regarded as good for eyes, light in digestion and strength-giving. It will increase virility and appetite.

Ghee based formulations well scripted in ayurvedic system of medicines are used for wound healing purposes. Ayurvedic physicians have been using ghee enemas for centuries to decrease inflammation.

Allergies

Cow Ghee must be avoided by people who are obese, suffering from any heart related diseases, kidney ailments and stomach problems. Obese people should avoid it as it may increase their weight and result in making them unhealthier.

Heart patients shouldn’t eat ghee, this is because ghee contains saturated fatty acids that raises blood pressure and makes them more prone to heart attacks. People with jaundice and abdominal discomfort should also avoid ghee.

Afterthought: Lactose or casein intolerant people have no difficulty with ghee because of the removal of milk solids and impurities.

Side Effects

The potential adverse effects of ghee include increased LDL cholesterol levels and the formation of oxidized cholesterol during it’s production. For people who need to lower their cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends reducing saturated fat to less than 6% of total daily calories. For someone eating 2000 calories a day, that is about 11grams to 13grams of saturated fat. One table spoon of ghee contains about 42mg of cholesterol, which is slightly higher than butter (30mg).

Varieties

Ghee is made from cow-milk butter. Other varieties include buffalo ghee, sheep ghee, and goat ghee. Buffalo ghee has been reported to be more resistant to lipolysis than cow ghee mainly because of low unsaturated fats.

How To Prepare Ghee (Direct Cream Method)

In this method, the cream obtained by usual separation of milk is heated in a ghee boiler which consists of a stainless steel jacketed pan provided with a manual stirrer. The cream meant for ghee making is taken in the ghee boiler and the heating in the beginning is a controlled one.

Later the steam pressure in the jacket is raised so that the liquid mass starts boiling with the removal of water vapour from the pan contents at a temperature of over 90°C. The temperature remains constant as long as the moisture is being driven out. The contents are constantly agitated through out the process of conversion of cream into ghee to prevent scorching.

Shelf Life of Ghee

The shelf life of Ghee deterioration may occur as a result of development rancid flavors. Basically, the thermal processing involved in ghee manufacturing lowers down the moisture content which plays a major role in destruction of most bacteria and further restricts them to grow.

The keeping quality of ghee is governed by several factors including ripening of cream, method of manufacture, clarification temperature and the permeability of the packaging material to air and moisture. The shelf life of ghee may be of 6 to 8 months, even at ambient temperatures.

Ghee stored at 20°C or below has been reported to solidify uniformly with fine crystals. However, the ghee stored above 20°C and below 30°C solidifies with a loose structure. It has been suggested that ghee should be stored at temperatures below 20°C to avoid layer formation.

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