After having spent over a decade of my life in the trenches of fat-phobia; specifically saturated fat phobia, I KNOW how hard it is to believe that ghee is good for you.
Ghee – which is a type of clarified butter; or, butter with all milk solids removed – has a long history in Indian cuisine. It’s delicious, sure. It’s unprocessed. You can make it at home (in contrast to the fats of conventional wisdom, which are birthed in a factory.) It’s basically all the goodness of butter, concentrated. What could be better?
But healthy? Naaah. Couldn’t be.
After all, not only is ghee an animal fat, but it’s a highly saturated animal fat. And if decades of diet-industry conditioning have taught us anything, it’s that saturated animal fat is bad. Dangerous. Unhealthy. And we shouldn’t just quit the sat fats. We should replace them with highly processed fats like corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil. After all, nature’s got it all wrong. We need to get our food from factories.
Why Ghee Is Good For You?
The Truth About Saturated Fats
I busted the low-fat myth in my, 7 Reasons Fat is Your Friend, post. And I tackle all the saturated fat-phobia AND animal-product-phobia at length in Eat the Yolks. (If I do say so myself, it’s the PERFECT read for the Paleo, Primal, and Real Food skeptic.) In short – and this is stated in this study – “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of [heart disease]”.
As I discuss in my book, the cholesterol-sat fat-heart disease triumvirate is finally circling the drain, too. Saturated fat was demonized in the first place. After all, we thought it raised cholesterol, which freaked us out because we’d been told that higher cholesterol led to heart disease.
That sounds dumb because it is dumb. All the “bull garbage” of the low-fat movement distracted us from the fact that real, natural fats like ghee (NOT factory-made, highly processed junk like corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil) are the way to go. It’s also led us to forget that animals are meant to be raised in a natural environment, on their natural diets; not in factory farms. This is why I don’t recommend animal products when you don’t trust the source.
When I say “natural,” THAT is what I mean. Real, natural fats are awesome for good reason: They’re stable (that’s what saturated means), and they’re nutritious. Ghee, especially, is chock-full of nutrition. Isn’t that what we need? Nutrition?
We don’t need more dogma or another diet plan. We need nutrition.
I truly believe that. And that’s why I love ghee!
Is Ghee Good For You?
Ghee is an interesting character. It boasts a high smoke point like a seasoned firefighter, meaning it can handle high heat without breaking a sweat. This high smoke point is a result of the milk solids being removed during the clarifying process, leaving behind pure aromatic butterfat. So, when you sauté your veggies or whip up a heavenly stir-fry, ghee has got your back and won’t go up in a puff of smoke.
The secret to why ghee is good for you is the fat-soluble vitamins it contains. These fat-soluble vitamins, which Dr. Chris Masterjohn has emphasized work together in the body, are incredibly important for skin health.
When you eat ghee, it benefits your skin; I’ve also observed that it works topically when applied as a balm! As I discuss in The Purely Primal Skincare Guide, oil-based skincare actually helps balance and nourish problem skin.
The nutrient that makes ghee from properly-raised animals really special is the little-known fat-soluble vitamin called vitamin K2, which works with fat-soluble vitamin A, which is also found in ghee.
Another important fat-soluble vitamin that works with A and K2 is vitamin D, which we can get from the sun, seafood, and egg yolks. Here’s a science-y post that explains lots more about this nutrient. Interestingly, not only is vitamin K2 present in ghee, which is a highly saturated fat, but it just might be K2 (specifically, lack of K2) that actually IS an important factor in determining heart disease risk. (As The Target Lady would say, “Ironic!”)
Is Ghee Truly Dairy-Free?
Oh, ghee – the buttery spread that’s been taking the health community by storm.
But hold up, is it really dairy-free?
Good news for all you lactose-intolerant folks out there – the answer is YES! Ghee is actually made from butter that has been simmered and strained to remove all milk solids and water. So go ahead, spread that ghee on everything!
But what about the health benefits of ghee? Don’t worry, there are plenty to go around. Ghee is rich in short-chain fatty acids, including butyric acid, which is great for your gut health. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can help with weight loss and reduce free radicals in the body. Plus, ghee is anti-inflammatory and can even boost your immune system.
So, there you have it folks. Ghee is dairy-free and packed with health benefits.
Does Ghee Need To Be Refrigerated?
Ah, the eternal question that keeps us up at night – does ghee need to be refrigerated? Well, folks, prepare for a revelation: ghee, also known as butter ghee, is a real trooper when it comes to temperature!
You see, ghee is basically butter with a little makeover. It’s been clarified, meaning all those milk solids and water have been kicked to the curb. So, it’s no surprise that it can handle a bit of warmth.
Unlike regular butter, which can turn into a sad, melty puddle in the heat; ghee remains firm and composed. It’s like the cool cucumber of the dairy world. You can thank those omega-3 fatty acids for that. They give ghee the stability and resilience it needs to stay solid at room temperature.
Now, let’s get to the fridge debate. Technically, you can store your it in the fridge if you really want to. But trust me, it’s not necessary. Ghee can happily chill out on your countertop, ready to be spread on toast or used for some sizzling sautéing. Just make sure to keep it in an airtight container to prevent any unwanted odors or funny business.
Hold on to your butter knives, because it’s time to ghee-sercize your health!
So, to review, ghee is good for you because…
- It’s saturated, and therefore stable, as I discuss in Eat the Yolks. (This means it’s super safe to cook with!)
- It’s really, really tasty. That makes you happy. Being happy is good for you.
- It’s dense in vitamin K2, which is critical for skin and heart health, and works with other fat-soluble vitamins.
- It’s dense in vitamin A, which is critical for skin health, and works with other fat-soluble vitamins.
- It nourishes the skin from the inside out AND from the outside in. (Example: ghee is an ingredient in the most amazing lip balm EVER.)
Seriously. When you cook with ghee, give your face and lips a little extra lovin’…or give your cracked homesteading hands a little TLC. Need I say more? (Actually, I should probably NOT say more. This post is getting uber-long.)
(PS: Anybody know where the umlaut button is on the keyboard?)
Let me know your questions and thoughts in the comments section. I’m off to cook some breakfast – and I might just slather a little extra ghee on my face!
Thanks for reading!