In 2016 heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of death in Canada. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented by adhering to a healthy life style (e.g. healthy diet, adequate physical activity). With various foods and supplements gaining media attention for their proposed health benefits, I thought it would be appropriate to share some information about ‘the golden liquid' aka Ghee. Ghee (pronounced guh-ee), a semifluid clarified butter that is widely used in Indian cuisine, has been publicized to have multiple health benefits (i.e. reducing inflammation, increasing metabolism). As a reader this sounds fantastic, right? What you don’t know is that most of the studies on ghee have been conducted on animals making it difficult to extrapolate the results to humans - there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the proposed health claims of ghee. Ghee does contain short chain fatty acids which may have some benefits (e.g. more digestible); however, it is a source of saturated fat which is linked to heart disease. Daily recommendation of saturated fat is less than 10% of total calories. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people who consume Indian cuisine often overconsume ghee. This results in an increased consumption of saturated fat which increases the risk of heart disease. My recommendation? Choose and prepare foods without ghee – use a vegetable oil (e.g. canola oil) with lower saturated fat to prepare your meals. If this is not an option, then like any other high saturated fat, consume ghee in a small amount while ensuring the rest of the diet remains balanced and nutrient dense.
Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potato)
Since this post featured Ghee I thought it would be appropriate to feature an Indian dish. There are various versions of Aloo Gobi available, but by making a few changes (i.e. using half the potatoes needed, increasing the amount of spices and coriander while decreasing salt, using vegetable oil in lieu of butter) I was able to reduce the calories, total fat (including saturated fat), and total carbohydrate per serving. This is an easy and flavourful way to increase your vegetable intake while protecting your heart.