For decades, people have had contrasting opinions on ghee. While one party denounces ghee as harmful to health, the other praises its many health benefits. Is ghee good or bad? A look
By Ashwin Dewan
Shajil Kumar, a journalist, loves to recall a fond childhood memory, which involves Ghee. During childhood, lunch and dinner consisted of several dishes made with Ghee. Shajil also remembers dollops of Ghee being sprinkled on top of steaming hot rotis or rice. That he or his family members hardly fell ill and had glowing skin and lustrous hair can only testify to the goodness of Ghee at a time when many people are avoiding Ghee for being unhealthy.
Ghee, the Indian style of clarified butter, is one food item you would normally associate with many fond childhood memories. Poured over on top of rotis, in the making of many sweets like Ladoos, Ghee is wonderfully aromatic and serves many other functions also. It is considered sacred and used as the main ingredient in some Ayurvedic medicines.
Dr Ashok Kumar says the consumption of a spoon of Ghee every day can be beneficial. However, it can be harmful if one consumes Ghee in excess quantities. He adds that Ghee has certain properties that can even improve memory.
However, along with the many benefits of ghee, there are many myths surrounding Ghee. It is harmful to health, itis fattening, eating too much Ghee can lead to blocked arteries, etc. are some common myths that many of the people have about ghee. But, are they true? Find out by going through this article.
Myth #1: Desi Ghee is harmful to health
Fact: Although there is a widespread notion about Ghee being harmful to health, it is not true. Only a few fatty acids present in pure Ghee lead to a rise in cholesterol levels. Around 32 per cent fat in pure Ghee is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which is a good form of dietary fat – the kind that olive oil is rich in. In fact, desi Ghee scores over many polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) rich oils like sunflower, corn and cottonseed oil.
Myth #2: Ghee will lead to obesity and weight gain
Fact: People often associate consumption of Ghee with a gain in weight. However, it is lipolytic by nature, which pertains to the chemical breakdown of fat. Ghee is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which is not only good for the heart but aids in weight loss. So, unless you take Ghee in extreme amounts and daily, there is no need to worry about weight gain.
Myth #3: Ghee damages the health of joints
Fact: Joint pain is a major health problem and can lead to swollen joints, red bruises and excruciating pain. Do you suffer from knee pain? If so, including small amounts of Ghee in your diet may help. The benefits of Ghee on the body both inside and out are numerous, which includes lubrication of the joint health. In fact, pure Ghee has been used since ages for the treatment of joint pains as it is nourishing and provides strength to the body and the muscles.
In fact, Dr Ashok says that Ghee is used in the treatment of many degenerative diseases including neuro and bone-related diseases.
Myth #4: Ghee is bad for the heart, may lead to stroke
Fact: Ghee is often looked down by many people as something that is unhealthy and bad for the heart. However, it is loaded with antioxidants, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and fat-soluble vitamins like A, E and D due to which Ghee can potentially be used in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Myth #5: Ghee is extensively used in preparing Ayurvedic medicines
Fact: Ghee is one of the main components in many Ayurvedic medicines. It's ability to reach the deepest regions of the human body makes it ideal and effective in treating many diseases. It is well-known for its ability to cancel the harmful effects of toxins in the body as well.
Ghee has a property called Ayusham in Ayurveda, which is believed to prolong the lifespan of an individual. Ghee also aids in cellular repair and regeneration.
Famous for its aromatic smell, Ghee is used in a number of Indian dishes. Apart from imparting flavour and taste, Ghee has many health benefits as discussed in this ClipBook.
With inputs from Dr Ashok Kumar, M.D.(Ayurveda) and Associate Professor at Dharma Ayurveda Medical College & Hospital, Chennai.
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