Everything You Want to Know About Ghee
Much is said about the types of fats and oils related to cardiovascular health. We have already talked about the best fat for cooking and today I will talk about the clarified butter - now gourmetized, called ghee.
How everything started... Originally from the Asian continent, this ancient food can still be found in homemade productions, but of course, like all fashion, big industries take advantage and start producing and selling on a large scale - and not always with the same quality.
Traditionally, buffalo or cow's milk, after exposure to the sun for one hour, receives the addition of plants that contain enzymes that coagulate the milk and give to it a pleasant odor. After standing more 24-48 hours at room temperature, the the whey is separated from "cream", which is then collected and heated until the fat becomes separable. The same, upon cooling, crystallizes, and thus the clarified butter/ghee, is obtained.
It is a yellowish-white, highly viscous product and contains up to 99%-99.5% milkfat and ~0.05% water. Because of the different sources of animal milk and the way of production, ghee contains different levels of Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA), Cholesterol and Trans Fatty Acids (TFA), all of which can be up to 60% of the total product.
And what benefits are found in the literature that justify this food as the new sensation?
1. A study by Rani and Kansal (2012) comparing the diet of rats with ghee and soybean oil found that the ghee produced with cow's milk reduces the enzymatic activities responsible for the activation of carcinogenic in the liver and increases detoxification activities of carcinogens in liver and breast tissues.
2. A study by Chinnadurai et al. (2013), whose objective was to evaluate the effects of the diet composed of ghee rich in conjugated linoleic acid in rats, showed an increase in antioxidant and antiatherogenic effects, suggesting greater cellular protection against oxidizing agents, decrease cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoproteins, indicating that their consumption may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. A more recent review study by Khosla and Khosla (2017) investigated the understanding of fats with the simplistic relationship to cardiovascular disease. Evidence suggests that the effects of SFA on lipids and lipoproteins are modulated by the food source. It further emphasizes that observational studies suggest that dairy consumption is associated with improvements in cardiometabolic factors, concluding that not all SFAs (which include butter, ghee, coconut oil and palm oil) are atherogenic and may form part of a healthy diet.
Finally The results on ghee do not mean that you have to drink/eat gallons for benefits, nor that these are absolute truths - even because science is mutable and influenced by the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Benefits are seen when food is used in a moderate way and especially when associated with a balanced routine, composed by leisure, physical and social activity.
SURONO, Ingrid S. Traditional Indonesian dairy foods. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, Indonesia, v. 24, n. 1, p.26-30, 2015.
IQBAL, Mohammad Perwaiz. Trans fatty acids – a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Pakistan Journal Of Medical Sciences, [s.l.], v. 30, n. 1, p.194-197, 31 dez. 1969. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences. http://dx.doi.org/10.12669/pjms.301.4525.
RANI, Rita; KANSAL, Vinod K.. Effects of cow ghee (clarified butter oil) & soybean oil on carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes in rats. Indian J Med Res, v. 136, n. 3, p.460-465, set. 2012.
CHINNADURAI, Kathirvelan et al. High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats. Lipids In Health And Disease, [s.l.], v. 12, n. 1, p.121-130, ago. 2013. Springer Nature. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-511x-12-121.
KHOSLA, Ishi; KHOSLA, Gayatri C. Saturated Fats and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: a review. J Clin and Prev Card, New Delhi, v. 6, n. 2, p.56-59, fev. 2017.