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Ghee is like a “cheat code” for giving your gut a big health upgrade. Eat some, and not only will the friendly bacteria in your intestines rejoice at the feast you provided, but your colon cells will thank you for the energy boost.
And the best part:
Ghee is simple to get - or even make if you’d prefer.
Though ghee was once considered a somewhat exotic item, and you might have been only vaguely aware of its existence, nowadays it’s a staple at many grocery stores or online retailers.
It sounds strange to tout the gut health benefits of this simple substance that until recently has been best known in Ayurvedic circles, but the ghee benefits are substantial.
Let me explain.
So, What Is Ghee Anyway?
Ghee is clarified butter; that is, butter that’s had the solids removed via a clarification process which strips away the parts of butter that are the most difficult to digest, such as lactose, casein, whey proteins, and trace minerals.
What’s left is pure oil, which is the ghee. It’s been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic communities for cooking and religious ceremonies, as well as therapeutically.
The Main Ingredient Ghee Has Become Known For
Clarified butter doesn’t sound like much. But check this out:
Ghee has the highest concentration of a fatty acid called butyrate (butyric acid) than any other food.
Why should you care?
Because your colon thrives on butyrate.
I’ve described how microbes in your gut can make butyrate from the fiber. But here’s the thing: if you have colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, or have suffered other damage to your colon, your capacity to make or absorb butyrate decreases.
Which is why ghee is so beneficial to you if you have a gastrointestinal problem. You can simply eat it to fortify the butyric acid in your intestines.
How Butyric Acid Helps Your Gut Thrive
Now let’s dive into the variety of ways the butyrate in ghee can boost your health.
Ghee can help you:
- Increase your bile production. (Bile is like a detergent that helps your body break down fats and extract key nutrients from it.)
- Improve insulin resistance, to help normalize your blood sugar.
- Decrease inflammation because of its anti-inflammatory properties, which are enhanced if you’re also following ketogenic diet.
- Increase your energy, because colon cells prefer butyrate as their primary energy source
Several scientific studies have suggested other potential benefits of butyrate including:
- Prevention and inhibition of colorectal cancer.
- An antioxidant effect that helps neutralize free radicals that can cause damage in your body.
- Improvement of intestinal motility (the movement of contents through the intestines during digestion)
And that’s not all.
But Wait, There’s More
In addition to its unparalleled butyrate content, ghee contains many other beneficial substances. They are:
- Omega 3 fatty acids: They are essential - meaning, you have to get them from your diet because your body doesn’t make them. Omega 3s benefit the health of your brain, eyes, and heart, as well as help, reduce inflammation.
- Omega 9 fatty acids: They aren't strictly essential because your body can produce them. In fact, omega-9 fats are the most abundant fats in most cells in the body. But consuming them has the potential to reduce your triglycerides and very-low-density-lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and decrease inflammation.
- Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fats: MCTs go straight to your liver and can then be used either as an instant energy source or turned into ketones. Ketones, of course, are a primary benefit of the keto diet. They provide an alternative energy source for your body, including your brain, which ordinarily uses glucose for fuel. And because the calories contained in MCTs are more efficiently turned into energy and used by the body, they are less likely to be stored as fat. As well, MCTs are fat that goes easy on your gallbladder and liver.
- Vitamins A, D, E, and K: These are fat-soluble vitamins and provide a variety of health benefits; for example, for your heart, vascular system, eyes, and blood. Rather than take synthetic vitamins, you’d be better off consuming ghee.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): CLA is a healthy fat that helps you burn fat. CLA can also support athletic performance by increasing your endurance and muscle strength and building lean muscle mass. It supports your immune system and helps to stabilize your blood sugars.
But What If You’re Lactose Intolerant?
If you’re sensitive to or don’t tolerate lactose well, you may have already written off trying ghee. After all, it’s a dairy product. You already know your body can’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose - the naturally occurring sugar in dairy products.
And when you don’t tolerate it well, man, does your body ever let you know. Bloating and gas and diarrhea, oh my!
But because ghee contains far less lactose than other dairy products, many people who are intolerant of or sensitive to lactose find they can tolerate it very well. Give it a try - have a small amount at first - to see if you too can take advantage of ghee’s health benefits.
The Only Kind Of Ghee To Have
While ghee has these incredible benefits, there’s just one catch. If you’re going to eat it, make sure it’s always grass-fed and organic to ensure it contains the maximum range and amount of fatty acids, vitamins, and butyrate. Otherwise, you’re shortchanging yourself.
The Bottom Line On Ghee
That wish you’ve had of a simple way to support your gut health isn’t a silly fantasy.
It’s a completely achievable reality.
While it’s not as easy as pushing a magic button, now you have the knowledge to nurture your digestive health. And as a bonus, you can gain other substantial health benefits at the same time.
And the best news is that it’s so easy to get started. Get some grass-fed, organic ghee.
Eat it. Cook with it.
Make note of the improvements you experience.
And finally, be patient. Your efforts won’t necessarily pay off immediately, but with time your body will thank you for taking such good care of it.