Ghee is a type of clarified butter used in the cuisines of India and the Middle East. Traditionally, it’s made by gently heating cow’s-milk butter until its water content evaporates and its milk solids can be skimmed and strained away, leaving behind only the liquid fat.
“Clarified butter is very similar [to ghee], but it’s sometimes made using high heat, whereas ghee is simmered at 100 degrees or less,” says Chandradhar Dwivedi, a distinguished professor emeritus of pharmacology at South Dakota State University.
While ghee takes longer to make than some other types of clarified butter, it retains more vitamins and nutrients thanks to its low-heat preparation, he says. Specifically, ghee is a source of vitamin E, vitamin A, antioxidants and other organic compounds, many of which would be broken down or destroyed if boiled at higher temps, he explains.
“Ghee is also a component of Ayurveda, a roughly 6,000-year-old form of complementary medicine that is still widely practiced in India and elsewhere. “Ghee is used as a vehicle for herbal medication,” Dwivedi explains.”
Ghee is also a component of Ayurveda, a roughly 6,000-year-old form of complementary medicine that is still widely practiced in India and elsewhere. “Ghee is used as a vehicle for herbal medication,” Dwivedi explains. “The thought process was that ghee is sacred, and when given with medicine, you get both the medical benefit and a spiritual benefit.”
Setting aside the spiritual aspects, Dwivedi says modern science shows that eating fat-rich foods like ghee can increase the “bioavailability” and absorption of some healthy vitamins and minerals. By cooking or eating vegetables or other healthy foods along with ghee, your body may have access to more of their nutrients, he says. Ghee also tastes good, he adds, and so it can make some healthy but unappetizing foods more palatable.