Mankind today, is engrossed in quick-fix solutions and shortcuts. With the advancement in technology, this seems to have taken a frenzied approach. ‘Fads’ seemingly appear to be the ‘in’ thing nowadays…And the fad presently making waves, is adopting unnatural diets to lose weight and going to any extent to achieve this target. From abstaining from carbohydrates (the energy providing foods), to switching to unnatural protein powders and fat burners, to bizarre liquids-only or baby-food diets, desperate measures are being adopted to superficially lose body fat. Being from an industry that has coined the term ‘size zero’, I can safely say that it is hazardous to one’s health and is sending out a wrong message to the younger generation, who being in awe of film actors/models and in a misguided effort to emulate them, end up wrecking havoc with their health.
Ayurveda defines the physical body or the Annamaya kosha as the ‘Dosha dhatu mala mool hi shariram’ i.e. the body is a composition of doshas, dhatus and malas. Fat is one of the 7 dhatus and is therefore, an important component of the body. However, all diets prescribed today are aimed at drastically reducing the fat element in the body, without realising that eliminating fat from one’s dietary intake is an isolated approach to weight loss. This creates an imbalance in the body, which further leads to disease and accelerates the process of ageing.
A common myth these days is that consumption of ghee leads to weight gain and is therefore an unnecessary dietary ingredient. On the contrary, ghee made from cow’s milk is regarded as the most integral and superlative component of one’s nutrition. Taken in moderation, ghee provides wholesome nutrition and numerous health benefits. It is said that the older the ghee, the better it is. Ghee that has aged 10 years or more has tremendous healing properties.
Ghee is the only substance that enhances the ojas or sukra – the essence of all bodily tissues. This is responsible for immunity, vitality and strength in the body. Not only does it promote physical strength, but also improves mental faculties by improving concentration and memory.
Ghee rekindles the digestive fire, without aggravating the Pitta – the dosha responsible for the fire element within the body. Thus it stimulates appetite and digestion. Ghee is also a natural laxative. When ingested, it lubricates the intestines thereby facilitating bowel movement and relieves constipation. When taken with a glass of warm milk at bed time, it is known to soothe the nerves and induce relaxation and sleep.
Those with dry skin, usually find winters to be a trying time. Extreme cold can cause the skin to crack, also causing chapped lips. Ghee is bestowed with nourishing, healing and moisturising properties. Since ghee is an efficient carrier and is essential for insulating the body organs, frequent application of 2 – 3 drops of ghee in the navel, can greatly reduce dryness. This should also take care of severely chapped lips. If not, ghee can also be used directly on the lips to soften them.
The moisturising and healing properties of ghee also find their way in curing nose bleeds. 2-3 drops in each nostril will moisturise the nasal passage, prevent nose allergies and nose bleeds. This may also relieve frequent headaches. Ghee also promotes healthy gums and teeth. Its application to affected areas can cure mouth ulcers and inflamed gums.
Panchakarma – the Ayurvedic cleansing/detoxification therapy involves the use of ghee. Every cell in the body produces energy and as a result, toxins/ama are also produced. In Panchakarma, a spoon of ghee is consumed on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. The ghee oleates the internal organs and dissolves the ama/toxins allowing them to be carried to the digestive tract for elimination.
Having a high smoke point compared to other oils, ghee doesn’t burn easily. Thus it is a preferred choice for cooking. Fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K are better absorbed in ghee, adding to its nutritional and health value.
If the above reasons don’t motivate you to include ghee in your daily food intake, just have it for taste. Everything tastes delicious with ghee!
However, it should be kept in mind that the ghee you are using is ethically harvested. The cows providing the milk for the production of ghee should be given pure, unadulterated feed that is free from chemicals. They should not be injected with chemicals or hormones like Oxytocin to increase yield and neither should adulterants be added to the milk after extraction. It should also be kept in mind that the cows are not separated from their babies. The calves should get their share of the mother’s milk.