At the moment there is a lot of hype in the health and fitness world about drinking butter. Since Kourtney Kardashian credited her healthy skin, hair and figure to a small amount of butter every morning, the internet has become awash with people looking for answers. If you are feeling sceptical about these claims you are not alone, the combination of a celebrity fad diet and saturated fat does not make them very believable.
Even though butter is ridiculously high in cholesterol, it does contain some valuable minerals. Does that make it good for you? Many other people are starting to praise its merits, and there’s no smoke without fire, is there?
There is a scientific explanation behind all this; first of all you need to get the idea of just melting a pan of butter then drinking it, out of your head. While this may seem a rather appealing way of getting into shape, any benefits you experience will be far outweighed as this intake of saturated fat starts to settle in your arteries. The substance in question is ghee, a form of clarified butter.
Clarified butter has undergone a process which separates milk solids and water from the butterfat. Often served with seafood, it is common in south Asian cuisine and eaten by people who are lactose intolerant, so you may have come across it before. What are the health benefits though?
Despite having most of the proteins removed, clarified butter is still high in saturated fat, however, there is evidence to suggest that it actively reduces serum cholesterol. This is the cholesterol you have floating around your arteries, causing a range of health problems, suggesting that clarified butter performs the role of those cholesterol reducing spreads we see advertised.
Clarified butter also helps to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which allows the body to process the nutrition we eat more effectively, which result in healthy hair and skin alongside many other visible benefits. Digestive aids such as BioCare have a similar effect.
It is also high in antioxidants which protect your cells from unstable molecules called free radicals, which are released when your body breaks down food. The benefits are not yet fully understood. Many health food companies claim that they are key to fighting cancer, although medical research does suggest that they help rebuild healthy cells, there is not enough evidence to wholeheartedly support this claim.
Another, even less scientific, claim is that it helps memory and concentration. While improved memory and concentration can be a by-product of better nutrition and a healthier lifestyle, there is no confirmed link at present.
If you want to give clarified butter a chance simply melt butter in a saucepan at a low temperature. Do not stir it, instead allow it to settle and split into layers. A white foam will form at the top which you can lift off with a spoon. After you’ve done this, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool. The two remaining layers can now be divided with a cheesecloth, similar to the way that curds are separated from whey, the golden liquid left is clarified butter.
Although this has its health benefits, it should still only be drunk in tiny amounts. Chugging a glass will not rinse out your arteries and kick-start your digestive system. Butter still has its hazards and everyone is different so, if in doubt, ask a doctor first.
About the author:
Joe is a blogger and fitness enthusiast who writes about sport, nutrition and healthy living for Peak Nutrition.