Truth always Triumphs
Ghee, the ancient ayurvedic wonder has seen a rise in popularity with the end of “fat phobia” as more and more evidences are built around the numerous benefits of ghee being a part of our daily diet. The fact that it contains high nutritional elements like proteins, iron, sodium, calcium, vitamin A, D, E, and omega fatty acids makes it one of the most valued food items.
Ghee being clarified butter, it is made by heating the butter to separate the water, salt and milk solids which leaves us with the golden butterfat. The residual golden butterfat is an easily digestible fat that is highly nutritious with a subtle caramelly aroma and flavour.
With tons of benefits to offer and an irresistible taste, ghee naturally becomes a superfood for our body. If you still are not convinced, below are the advantages one can enjoy with daily consumption of this superfood:
- It is nutritionally dense, meaning it’s packed full of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and health-benefiting nutrients, key players in overall health.
- It is a versatile and proven effective carrier of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It can be used in nearly any dish and can be consumed as it is.
- The cholesterol-rich saturated fats in ghee provide the components needed to produce testosterone, oestrogen and other hormones.
- It is made from butter which is an important source of butyrate a.k.a. butyric acid, a detoxifier known to have many positive health benefits.
- Lastly, ghee is a super-food because it can be stored at room temperature and has an incredible staple shelf life, it is highly useful in warmer areas of the globe.
The game of numbers
Now that all the benefits of this superfood are stated, let’s take a look at how it is not just popular in India but is globally known and consumed. The market situation of this clarified butter is that based on usage of ghee, the B2C segment generated a revenue of USD 1035.9 million in 2019. Growing popularity of ghee across the globe for its calibre to add a distinctive flavour to food is expected to drive the market among household consumers. The B2B application segment is expected to exhibit the fastest CAGR of 10.2% from 2020 to 2027 owing to the use of the product as an essential ingredient in some of the most coveted gourmet foods, including biryani, in restaurants and hotels across the globe. Online channel is expected to expand at the fastest CAGR of 12.1% from 2020 to 2025. The growth is attributed to increased importance of e-commerce channels among millennials as convenience friendly shopping options. India emerged as the largest consumer of clarified butter and generated a revenue of more than USD 400 million in 2019. The product is considered an essential ingredient to the Indian cuisine in household and commercial spaces.
Globalization of Ghee
This clearly indicates that our very own desi favourite has made its mark on the dinner plates of gourmands and health nuts in many parts of the world. Whether you’re Paleo, Keto or simply chugging back Bulletproof coffee every morning, if you lurk around the Wellness web, you will inevitably stumble upon multiple fitness coaches gushing about the benefits of ghee. And a plethora of voices, from New York to Nairobi, talking about ghee and its benefits.
When you finally decide to buy ghee, Amazon alone lists about 300 options, starting from ₹75 to a 15-litre tin of Shree Radhey Certified A2 Gir Cow Ghee for ₹14,300. The variety is both fascinating and overwhelming but choosing the right ghee is all about purity. Let us now educate the ones who don’t know how ghee is made using the traditional methods, ghee is made from forest cows, indigenous cows and buffaloes. You can source your ghee from Uthukuli, famous for its milk, or from a gaushala. Of course, much of the small-batch ghee is hand-churned by artisans. But that’s not all. Vrindavan milk even has a version that is hand-churned, made on a full moon night on a cow dung fire following a traditional “vilona bilona method (alternate direction churning)”.
While Indians believe in the traditional taste and ghee making methods, American market focuses on ghee made from the milk of grass-fed cows (as opposed to cows raised on grain-based feeds with soy and corn, which may contain GMOs) and offer a variety of flavoured ghee like the “Himalayan Pink Salt Grass-Fed Ghee Butter… Pasture Raised, Non-GMO, Lactose Free,” in addition to the Madagascar Vanilla Ghee, Californian Garlic Ghee and even — hold your breath — a Chocti Chocolate Passionfruit Ghee Cacao Spread.
You must have heard the famous “Serve it hot with a spoonful of ghee” whenever there was a dish being prepared at home. Long gone are the days when items like ladoos, halwa and puran poli were considered to be unhealthy. Thanks to the young nutritionists and increasingly media-savvy Ayurvedic spas, ghee and dishes made with ghee have now become India’s favourite health food.
But still there are some people who blame ghee for their obesity or other weight issues. For such people we only have one thing to say, take a look at the most fit and fabulous Bebo a.k.a Kareena Kapoor Khan who has spilled her weight loss secret which is dal, rice and ghee!
Time to know what the professionals have to say, starting with Chef Kunal Kapoor, he says that “The properties of ghee are constant, provided one is consuming the right kind. Grandmas routinely recommend it for children and they would not have done so had it been harmful,” He talks about how ghee is one of the earliest cooking mediums, dating back thousands of years. Neutral oils are the resultant of what man discovered once he began to cultivate crops. “When cooked in ghee, both meat and vegetables taste better,” he says, cautioning that the superfood can also be counterproductive if consumed indiscriminately. He adds, “Ghee isn’t the culprit, it is our lifestyle and the quantities we consume that are a problem. Any superfood can go against us, if we do not lead an active life.” Thus, our lifestyle and how much food we intake matters more than anything.
Celebrity dietician and author, Rujuta Diwekar, has brought joy to many by giving ghee a superfood tag. In her book Indian Super Foods, Rujuta says, “The reason why there are such combos as dal-chawal-ghee, roti-shakkar-ghee, puran-poli ghee, modak-ghee etc in our culture is that ghee reduces the glycaemic index of these meals. The magic of ghee isn’t just that it’s the world’s most high-functioning fat. It’s also that it’s a wonderful partner to other foods, complementing them to work better and harder for us.” Promoted by influencers like her, ghee now has great market potential. However, as brands have a habit to sell less pure items, consumers need to be able to identify pure ghee from the cheap adulterated versions of ghee.
To understand the difference one must know that “Pure ghee doesn’t have an overpowering smell or flavour. Neither is it neutral in taste. This remarkable anti-ageing food, when adulterated with hydrogenated or animal fat, becomes a dangerous substance,” says Ayurveda practitioner, Sharad Kulkarni. He adds that besides several beneficial properties, pure ghee comes with a unique advantage: “Ghee is samskara anuvartana, which means it retains its own goodness along with the health benefits of whatever it is cooked with,” he explains. He adds that, according to Ayurveda, the food can improve your skin, memory and strength. It helps you detox and is even a centuries-old aphrodisiac.”
So many benefits to talk about and vouched by world’s top nutritionists, ghee indeed is a superfood some of us have been overlooking. But if you are in the search for a superfood which can help you fight any and every body related problem and tastes heavenly, then you definitely have to start consuming ghee from today itself!