First off, let’s clear up the one question everyone is probably wondering right now… What in the world is ghee? Ghee is a clarified butter made from the milk of a buffalo or cow. Still confused? We were too. Now that we understand what ghee is (kind of), it’s time to answer the next question… What the heck is clarified butter? The short answer is milk fat (sounds healthy, right?). Clarified butter is milk fat rendered after butter separates from the milk solids and water found in an average unsalted stick. Ghee is most commonly found in South Asian dishes, but has recently been making its way into the diets of healthy-conscious people everywhere. And it’s been linked to having many health benefits and healing powers. So if it looks like butter, tastes like butter, and smells like butter, can it actually be healthy? Keep scrolling to find out all the benefits of ghee!
Properties in ghee may help to lubricate connective tissues, which increases your flexibility range and makes ghee the perfect butter alternative for yoga enthusiasts everywhere.
Those who are lactose-intolerant, you may rejoice! Milk solids in dairy products are where the protein and sugars are found. Ghee is a great alternative to regular butter, which contains significant amounts of lactose, because it is stripped from milk solids during the clarification process, leaving only healthy butter fats behind.
Clarified butter is chock-full of healthy fat–soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are responsible for promoting strong bone and vision health, as well as for boosting your immune system. Ghee is also rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are absorbed directly through the liver, like carbs are, and burned as energy (which is a good thing).
Supports a Healthy Digestive Tract
Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid. Intestinal bacteria convert fibers into butyric acids and then use them for energy and intestinal-wall support. By consuming clarified butter, you are as a result contributing to a healthy digestive tract.
Aids Weight Loss
Clarified butter, especially when derived from grass-fed cows, contains the fatty acid conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) , which can assist in weight loss. When substituting ghee for butter, it’s also important to consume it in moderation. While it is a much healthier alternative to regular butter, ghee is still fat.
You can make it at home, and it’s actually easier than you may think. DIY clarified butter at home with this easy recipe:
1. Slice up one stick of unsalted butter from grass-fed cows and place in a saucepan.
2. Heat the butter over medium heat until completely melted, and reduce to a simmer.
3. Cook the melted better for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. During this time the butter will begin to foam and bubble.
4. After the 10 to 15 minutes has passed, the melted butter will turn to a golden color and you will see curds of the milk solids forming toward the bottom of the saucepan.
5. Let the ghee stand to cool for approximately two to three minutes, and then slowly pour the mixture through a wire mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. (Don’t have cheesecloth? A few sheets of quality paper towels, like Viva’s Paper Towels, $39 for 24, will work too.) You can discard the chunks of milk protein after straining.
6. Enjoy the ghee!
Sharma H, Zhang X, Dwivedi C. The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation. Ayu. 2010;31(2):134-140. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.72361
Kumar M, Sharma V.I., Lal D, Kumar A, Seth R. A comparison of the physico-chemical properties of low-cholesterol ghee with standard ghee from cow and buffalo creams. Int J Dairy Technol. 2010;63:252–255. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0307.2010.00572.x
Cleveland Clinic. Ghee: 3 reasons it’s a better butter for your belly. Updated September 29, 2016.
Lehnen TE, da Silva MR, Camacho A, Marcadenti A, Lehnen AM. A review on effects of conjugated linoleic fatty acid (CLA) upon body composition and energetic metabolism. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:36. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0097-4