The debate on which is healthier between ghee and butter has been raging for ages. There are staunch supporters on both sides who will vehemently argue the benefits of either butter or ghee. But what do people in the medicinal field have to say? Is one indeed better than the other?
Butter – Preparation and Benefits
Butter is made by churning milk and separating the solids (butterfat) from the liquid (buttermilk). Butter contains a high concentration of fat that gives it its rich and creamy texture. Butter is often used as a substitute for oil in cooking, especially when it comes to sautéing vegetables because it adds a unique and pleasing flavour to foods. It is an indispensable ingredient in baking as well.
Despite being used extensively all over the world, butter as always been at the centre of controversy. Some claim that its fat content will amp up your cholesterol level, but did you know that it is not as villainous as it is portrayed to be?
The benefits of butter include –
- Butter contains some important nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, anti-oxidants, riboflavin, phosphorus, and calcium.
- It can protect your cells from free radicals, boost your immunity, improve your vision, and increases your chances of preventing the onset of breast and stomach cancer.
- It contains mostly saturated fats, which contrary to popular notion have no link with heart conditions. In fact, new research shows that fats in butter may actually drag down your chances of contracting heart diseases.
Ghee – Preparation and Benefits
Ghee is actually a derivative of butter. It is clarified butter. When butter is heated, it allows milk to break away from the fats. The milk portion then caramelizes and the oil that is left behind is ghee.
It is a staple of sub-continental cuisine. It even finds mention in ancient ayurvedic texts. Like butter, ghee too has faced its share of backlash. But ghee too has several benefits-
- When you cook with ghee, it ensures that you are not exposed to carcinogens. Most oils when heated produce free radicals that can trigger cancers of different kinds.
- It hydrates your skin and hair.
- It boasts of anti-inflammatory properties.
- Since it is free of milk solids, people who are lactose intolerant can consume it.
- Like butter, ghee too contains Vitamins A and E. It also contains Vitamins D and K.
If both butter and ghee are nutritionally similar, which should you opt for?
Ghee vs. Butter –
There are slight differences between the two products other than how they are produced. Ghee contains fewer milk proteins than butter. So, if you are relying on dairy products for your source of proteins, butter would be a better option for you. On the other hand, people who are allergic to milk cannot consume butter, so ghee is something they can opt for.
Ghee has a higher fat and calorie content. But the difference is marginal.
Essentially, you have to look beyond the nutritional profile of the two to figure out which is more suitable for you.
First of all, the two have very distinctly different flavours. Go for the one whose essence you prefer.
Secondly, ghee has a higher smoking point (252 degrees Celsius) than butter (177 degrees Celsius). So it can withstand more heat and would not stick to the bottom of your cooking pan, which makes it ideal for sautéing.
What we can conclude is that both butter and ghee are a more preferable substitute to most other cooking oils as they both produce less acrylamide when heated- a chemical that ups risk of cancer.
So, analyze your taste and culinary requirements to decide which to opt for.