The Benefits of Ghee in Growing Children
As a child, you would have been habituated to your mother being after you to eat healthy. When it came to eating responsibly, it meant milk, green and leafy vegetables, fruits and, if your family believed in the benefits of traditional food, then desi cow ghee was poured on your chapatis, parathas and rice during almost every meal.
Knowing the obsession of Indian mothers with ghee, it can be said that ghee is almost a staple during meals. Every child, from childhood up until they turned into an adult, benefited from the consistent inclusion of ghee as part of their meals.
Over the years, Ayurveda has strongly advocated the benefits of consuming ghee, which has been followed by generations of families. Ghee has some powerful benefits which, if made use of during the early stages of a child’s development, can imbue the immune system of children with nutrients in the most natural of ways. Since children are mostly in their growing stage till adolescence, ghee can be used as a natural nutrient and vitamin booster thereby aiding growth of the body.
When it comes to children and teenagers, nutrients and vitamins benefit them more than they benefit adults-
The brain, in general, requires fat since it is made up of 60% fat. To be specific, it requires Saturated fats more than any other kinds of fats. Thus, if fed to children from an early age, it will work in highly beneficial ways for them. Although the size of the brain in a child reaches 90-95% of the brain size of an adult by the age of 6, a lot of remodelling takes place up until adolescence.
Ghee contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which directly contribute to the creation of new brain synapses. Other sources do not contain as much of this essential nutrient as much as natural ghee does. Apart from Omega 3, Vitamin E is also present in ghee. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant for the brain and triggers synaptogenesis (creation of new brain connections) when it operates in tandem with Omega 3.
Calorie intake when it comes to children is not something one needs to be worried about, for it will relate to youngsters in more positive ways than it would to older people. A twelve year old generally needs around 1800 calories each day for a positive growth rate. From the age of 16 till adolescence (age 24) the requirement hovers around 2400 calories. Thus, Ghee can be a healthy source of calories – every 100 grams of ghee can deliver upto 900 kcal worth of energy.
Since children are more susceptible to the threats of seasonal cold, it makes sense to include warm ghee as a part of daily meals. Ghee warms your body from within. This is mainly because of the fat content present in ghee. The fat present in ghee is in the form of saturated, unsaturated and trans. During winters, the skin too tends to dry up and form cracks. Ghee can help rejuvenate the skin from within and can work as a natural moisturiser.
Desi ghee is lactose friendly. Children who have lactose intolerance can replace milk to get an even better amount of nutrition through ghee. During the preparation of ghee, the milk solids get separated from the final golden ghee. This very process allows ghee to be categorised as lactose friendly. Also, if the taste of milk does not appeal to some, ghee has its own aromatic taste which could compensate.
Children need their meals to be as per their tastes and preferences, else they easily lose interest in eating and shirk meals. For example, baked foods in the form of breads or simple cakes can be more palatable as compared to the more traditional meals at times. Here is where Ghee comes in as the healthy ingredient.
High Smoke Point
Ghee has a high smoke point. High smoke point refers to the point at which the oil begins to burn and smoke. Once the smoke point is reached, most important nutrients get broken down and this also leads to the formation of free radicals.
Ghee stands out from the rest of the cooking mediums because of its really high smoke point. At 458 degrees Fahrenheit, Ghee’s smoke point is much higher than butter (350 degrees Fahrenheit) or oil. Hence, even while baking, one could use ghee since it would be both healthy and essential nutrients would not get broken down.
Laden with Vitamins
Most of the fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K2 are present in ghee. Such vitamins promote bone and brain development in children. Apart from this, these vitamins also improve the overall immune system.
All these benefits surely go on to say a lot about ghee. However, at times the problem that arises is that some children tend to say no to ghee or healthy food altogether. In such situations, it becomes a challenge to include ghee in your child’s daily diet.
Here are some ways in which you can make use of ghee in your child’s diet –
Prepare steamed rice using Ghee –
Long grain steamed rice with added peas, carrots, jeera and some ghee can be a simple yet tasty meal. It is easy to prepare and can also be coupled with any other curry as required. You could add a spoonful of ghee to the curry as well.
Prepare Halwa and other sweets using Ghee –
Instead of using your usual oil in making your child’s favourite Gajar ka Halwa, you can use healthy dollops of ghee which would in turn make the sweet dish healthy. Ghee contains Saturated fats and extremely small amounts of Trans fats which are otherwise present wholly in oils. Trans fats are the category of fats which one should strictly avoid. This will take away the worry of absorbing the negative effects of fats consumption.
Prepare soups of different flavours –
Soups are easy to prepare and can be served in multiple forms. Soups are considered to be palatable and healthy because of their ingredients. Most are concocted using vegetables which are laden with vitamins. Adding a spoonful of ghee would both improve the taste of the soup and would mix in it the nutrients of desi cow ghee.
To summarise, being a smart parent, you would do your research and understand that organic cow ghee and desi cow ghee come with benefits like CLA, Vitamin A, E, K2, Omega 3, Calcium and Natural Antioxidants. Although such positives can be found in other foods as well, Ghee acts as a one-stop-shop for all such benefits combined. Due to the fact that Ghee is simple to consume, it also works as an ideal and easy supplementary food for children to consume on a daily basis. Now we can confidently say that Ghee is an authentic superfood with benefits unparalleled.