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You have probably heard by now that grass-fed is better than grain-fed when it comes to your meat or dairy products. Well, the differences might amaze you! Cows grazing grass pastures with no supplemental feed had a whopping 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in milk fat than cows fed typical dairy diets. (4)
When ghee is organic from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows, it is one of the highest sources of CLA on the planet. CLA has numerous health benefits including boosting immunity, supporting healthy liver function, bone mass, glucose metabolism, optimal weight, cardiovascular health and antioxidant activity. (2) Perhaps CLA’s most well-documented benefit is its ability to help the body burn fat. (1,2) Numerous studies suggest that the ingestion of CLA, short term or long term (1 year), significantly reduced the body’s fat mass index. (4)
Our previous grass-fed supplier, Purity Farms, was bought out by a larger corporation and we can no longer guarantee the percent of grass fed or the farms from which the cows come from. So we’ve found a new source of ghee from the absolute best, organic, traditionally-made Ayurvedic ghee company in the US, Ancient Organics. Not only can you taste and smell the difference, their ghee:
- Comes from grass-fed*, pasture-raised, happy cows.
- Is organic and free of pesticide, antibiotic and hormone soil residues.
- Is cooked in small batches over an open flame according to Ayurvedic standards.
Ghee is one of the crown jewels of Ayurvedic medicine. It is a delicate, aromatic saturated fat that is solid at room temperature and melts into a liquid as it warms. Ghee is made by boiling off the milk solids (casein, whey, and lactose) from unsalted butter, leaving a very unique blend of heart-healthy short, medium and long fatty acids.
Worried About Saturated Fat?
Sadly, much of the science telling us for the past 30 years that saturated fats were bad for us was flawed. Cholesterol turns out to be good for us in the general “total cholesterol” sense. It is the size of both the good (HDLs) and bad (LDLs) particles that determines cardiovascular risk. Study after study has now negated any association between healthy saturated fats, such as ghee, and cardiovascular issues. (3)
The World’s Best Cooking Oil
With one of the highest flash points (485 degrees Fahrenheit) of any cooking oil, the creation of free radicals and oxidized molecules from high-temperature cooking is prevented.
While we think of ghee as a food, according to Ayurveda it was a powerful medicine. Ghee is also loaded with heart, brain and skin-healthy Omega-3 and Omega-9 essential fatty acids, along with all the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, minerals and at least nine phenolic antioxidants.
The Ghee-Producing Microbe
Butter got its name from a fatty acid called butyric acid, and ghee, which is concentrated butter, is the highest known food source of butyric acid. Butyric acid is the primary fuel for the cells of the colon, boosts immunity, feeds the good microbes and much more.
As is turns out, the body loves ghee so much that the microbes in our intestinal tracts make their own! Scientists have discovered a microbe that actually produces ghee or butyric acid in the gut. This microbe, Clostridium butyricum has been used in Asia as a probiotic since the 1940s. It lives naturally in the small and large intestine of healthy folks. Those with less than great digestion were found to have less butyric acid production in the gut. (5)
Some of the benefits of butyric acid: (7)
- Helps digestion, maintains the integrity of the gastrointestinal mucosa
- Blocks the growth of bad bacteria in the gut
- Interferes with the growth of highly toxic bacteria
- Helps the growth of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium
- Helps loose bowel function and regulates abnormal bowel movements
- Helps adjust water and electrolyte concentration of the intestinal tract
According to one study, the highest sources of Clostridium butyricum are potato skins, yogurt and cream. (8)
In another study, the short chain fatty acid (butyric acid) produced by Clostridium butyricum supported the health of the intestinal mucosa and normal bowel function in inflammatory bowel conditions. (8)
In another very comprehensive study, butyric acid production in the gut was found to deliver a host of remarkable benefits that extend far beyond the gut: (9)
- Increases insulin sensitivity
- Supports healthy levels of both good and bad cholesterol
- Increases energy production and efficiency of energy utilization
- Reduction in fatty tissue
- Reduction in hunger levels
- Increases thermogenesis in the body
This study also reminded us that we can make our own butyric acid in the intestinal tract by feeding the microbes, such as Clostridium butyricum, who make it. This can be achieved by including good amounts of fiber in the diet. Try to get more than 50 grams per day.
Lately I have been making some not-so-subtle reminders to increase our intake of healthy fats (like ghee) and fiber. This is another one to be added to that bank!
The Science of Ghee in Ayurvedic Detox
Environmental toxins, such as pesticides, preservatives, heavy metals and industrial toxicants, are all fat-soluble or “lipophilic” (lipo = fat, philic = like). Such lipophilic toxins have been associated with hormone disruption, immune system suppression, reproductive disorders, several types of cancer, and other diseases. (10,11)
Ayurveda detoxifies these fat-soluble toxins by using a “lipophilic-mediated” detoxification procedure, where ghee is ingested to pull (detox) or chelate fat-soluble toxins from the body.
Based on the Ayurvedic approach of using ingested fats to detoxify environmental toxins, there have been studies showing impressive results. In one study with 88 subjects, 48 of them underwent a 7-day detox of ingesting ghee while on a no fat, meat or dairy diet. The researchers measured 9 different environmental PCB toxins and 8 pesticide toxins. They saw a decrease in 46% of the PCBs measured and a 56% of the pesticides measured. (6,7) These results suggest that lipophilic-mediated detoxification may be effective in reducing body burdens of fat-soluble toxicants. (10,11)
Interestingly, there many Ayurvedic practices including daily oil massage, mouth swishing with oil (oil pulling), ear oil and other techniques based on the idea of lipophilic-mediated detoxification that demand further investigation. Ghee can be successfully used for all of these practices listed.
* The butter source for Ancient Organics Ghee comes from small family farms in Northern California. The sweet grasses and wildflowers of this coastal prairie create a unique diet for the cows which graze year round. This environment has one of the longest growing seasons in the US allowing for maximum grass and pasture consumption. While the cows are out to pasture a majority of the year some organic grain is used during the winter months to supplement the dried grass and silage provided. Their diet consists of about 75-80% forages, which include fresh grasses, silage and hay. The other 20-25% consists of a variety of certified organic grains. All feed is non-gmo, organic and both soy and corn are not used.