It already has a loyal celebrity following including Miranda Kerr, Kourtney Kardashian and Jasmine Hemsley; it’s able to rival coconut oil as a healthy cooking fat and can be used to boost the flavour of your favourite dishes from curries to toasties. But what actually is Ghee, and why should you be using it?
Here nutritionist Cassandra Barns lists her top 5 reasons for why you should make this new super ingredient a kitchen staple:
It’s safe to cook with at high temperatures
If you thought that vegetable oils were the healthiest option for cooking, think again. Although polyunsaturated fats, as they’re naturally found in food are essential for our health, in their refined liquid form they’re very fragile and easily turn into damaging fats when heated. Ghee contains primarily saturated fats, which – before you run for the hills – are actually the safest and healthiest fats for high-temperature cooking such as roasting, frying or stir-frying, as they’re stable and have a high smoke point.
It’s rich in fat-soluble vitamins
High quality Ghee such as GHEE EASY [RRP £6, Sainsbury’s] is a good source of vitamins A, D and K2 – nutrients that are often lacking in the average person’s diet.
Vegetables are often said to provide vitamin A, but listen up: they don’t. They provide beta-carotene, which the body can convert to vitamin A, but often doesn’t do so very efficiently. True vitamin A is only found in animal fats. And vitamin K1 is found in abundance in green vegetables, but not K2, which has greater benefits for our bones and heart.
It provides good saturated fats
Ghee provides some especially beneficial saturated fats such as the fatty acid butyric acid, which actually acts as a fuel for the cells lining the intestine, helping to keep them healthy.
Both digestion and immunity benefit, as a healthy gut wall helps ensure only the right things are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Butyric acid also has anti-inflammatory properties.
It tastes delicious
Let’s face it, vegetable cooking oils don’t exactly tantalise our tastebuds. Even coconut oil’s smell and flavour are only appropriate for a small range of dishes – such as. Ghee, on the other hand, can lend a delectable flavour to everything you cook. Not convinced? Try coating ‘boring’ steamed greens such as broccoli in it, and watch everyone devour them!
It doesn’t burn like butter
Butter can have some of the same benefits as ghee – but it doesn’t work as well for roasting or frying, as the proteins in butter (that are removed when making ghee) cause it to burn. But ghee is ideal for these types of cooking, as well as everything else you’d use butter for.