A spoon of ghee full of health: 'Poses no danger to cardiac health' and could protect us from cancer
PUBLISHED: 23:23 GMT, 6 October 2012 | UPDATED: 23:24 GMT, 6 October 2012
Desi Ghee or clarified butter oil - often blamed for obesity and heart diseases - is not that bad after all.
Indian scientists have just discovered that cow ghee could protect us from cancer.
Cow ghee enhances the availability of enzymes responsible for detoxification of cancer-causing substances and decreases the availability of those responsible for activation of carcinogens, scientists from the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) have reported in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
The new finding, however, does not mean you can go ahead with liberal amount of ghee in your food.
Ghee poses no danger to cardiac health if the total fat intake is restricted to the prescribed limit, researchers said
One must ensure that the intake of total fat (including ghee) should not exceed the prescribed limit of fat consumption. In the experiments done in lab, scientists studied the effects of cow ghee compared to soybean oil on female rats which were artificially given breast cancer causing chemicals.
They observed that the initiation and progress of mammary cancer decreased in rats which were fed on cow ghee. However, there was a greater proportion of tumours in animals fed on soybean oil.
Researchers have deciphered the mechanism of ghee's protective properties.
'Feeding cow ghee decreased the expression of genes responsible for cell proliferation and raised regulated genes responsible for cell apoptosis', explained Dr Vinod Kansal, who led the research team.
One probable factor in cow ghee is the presence of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is known to possess beneficial properties.
Cow ghee is a rich natural source of CLA, whereas, vegetable oils lack this particular fatty acid.
Most vegetable oils contain high amount of unsaturated fatty acid as well as linoleic acid - which is considered pro-carcinogenic as it forms free radicals known to damage DNA.
The ghee available in India is mostly made from buffalo milk.
And though the study was done on cow ghee, scientists said buffalo ghee is also expected to be similarly effective because both contain CLA.
Dr Kansal said 'Ghee poses no danger to cardiac health as long as the total fat intake remains restricted to the prescribed limit.'
Moreover, ghee improves blood HDL level, which is good for heart, he added. 'I have serious reservation about doctors prescribing vegetable oil brands with highly unsaturated fat which is pro-carcinogenic,' the researcher said.