Butter and Ghee – better then other alternatives



         “Butter”, this word probably scares many of us but  Jonny Bowden Ph.D., C.N.S. states that butter, especially from pasture-fed, organically raised cows is indeed a wonderful and healthy food (Bowden, 2007).

It is true that butter contains saturated fat and it is also true that saturated fat is linked with the increase of cholesterol and other heart ailments but researches show that all saturated fat is not created equal.  The short-chain saturated fat is shown to offer important health benefits that lack in the long-chain version. Butter contains butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid which constitutes about 10% to 15% of all fat found in butter. Dr, Haas recommends butter as a better choice over most of the margarines. Margarines contain hydrogenated oils and trans fats and lack the short-chain fatty acid, butyric acid. Butter is also a rich source of vitamin A as well as other fat soluble vitamins, E, K and vitamin D. According to the experts, butter coming from the grass fed cows is rich in the type of fats proven to be healthful for example omega 3 fatty acids which are known to be absent in the grain fed counterparts. Mary Enig Ph.D., our country’s respected lipid biochemist points out that the fat present in butter has shown to inhibit pathogen growth and butter is a source of several kinds of antimicrobial fats, including lauric acid ( Haas, 2006, pg 67; Bowden,2007).

GHEE- The Clarified butter:

Ghee is basically butter with the milk solids removed. Ayurvedic medicine, a tradition in india that dates back nearly 5,000 years considers ghee as a medicinal and healing food. Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, the author of “Food as Medicine”, states that ghee is highly regarded in the yoga nutritional therapy, where it is valued as a nutrient as well as a preservative of food and medicine. According to Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is believed to strengthen the OJAS, “the vital energy cushion at the root of our well-being and immunity.” (Bowden,2007, pg 178).

Amanda Morningstar, in her book “Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners” explain the following about the cow-  “her milk and her butter, clarified as ghee, are like mother’s milk in Ayurveda, absolutely essential for health and well-being. They must be pure to do this. Many westerners are concerned that the use of ghee will increase their cholesterol or add unnecessary amount of fat to their diet. Used within the context of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, this is unlikely to happen.” (Bowden,2007, pg 178).  Dr. Annemarie Colbin, in her book Food and Healing, mentions that “ghee is one of the three best quality fats to use.” (Bowden,2007, pg 178). 

According to Ayurveda, ghee helps stimulate the healthy flow of fluids throughout the body. Ayurvedic medicine considers ghee as an important rejuvenating tonic for the mind, brain and the nervous system. Since ghee has all the milk solids removed it is said  to be used for cooking at even higher temperatures. Ghee is described as one of the “finest” cooking oils by Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine believes that ghee increases the digestive fire thus improving assimilation and enhancing the nutritional value of food. Ghee is shown  not to go rancid like many other oils and fats. Ghee, like butter contains butyric acid, the short-chain fatty acid (Bowden,2007).

Recipe to make ghee at home by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa (Bowden 2007, pg 178):

Simmer organic, unsalted butter over medium-low heat for 10 to 20 minutes  until an almost transparent crust forms on the top. Now, skim of the crust and strain te golden liquid that remains into a container. Discard the white segment found at the bottom. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated.

So, now that we know so much about the benefits of butter and ghee, i hope we all will worry less to include these in our diet. Remember, experts still recommend “moderation” as the key in all areas of life including diet.


1. Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,

Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

2.Haas, E.M, Levin, B. (2006).  Staying healthy with Nutrition. Berkley: Celestial Arts.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.**


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bhavna Patel on February 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    This was helpful, I always thought Gee is better then butter but this artical help me with my question…


  2. I love them both..:)..hate oil..!!


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