Let us bust some myths about having ghee during pregnancy.
By Payal Kothari
The complicated relationship with fat, or ghee, has been on for the longest time now. The idea of abandoning ghee because it makes us obese has, in fact, gotten us all fat and sick. It has made that odd stepchild “margarine”—and other not so good fats that nobody likes to mention—step in to complicate, manipulate and raise cholesterol levels. Today, most pregnant women are also afraid to consume ghee, fearing it will make them fat, when in the past, our moms and grandmothers ate ghee like it was going out of fashion.
I remember my grandmother cooking and preparing all our traditional sweets in ghee. It was a must for all pregnant women in the past to consume at least two tablespoons of ghee every day to make sure the baby and mommy were healthy and happy. Luckily, I ate ghee consciously during both my pregnancies and I have two tough, sharp children. I lost all the additional weight in four months post-delivery. Proof enough!
I fail to understand since when and why ghee became labelled as bad fat for us Indians, when it is considered the healing oil in the West now. Allow me to bust some myths and see how beneficial ghee is for us and for a pregnant lady to go through her pregnancy healthily and smoothly.
The Charaka Samhita, an ancient centuries old Ayurvedic text says, “Out of all oils fit for human consumption, ghee is the best to eat.” This healthy fat is great for multiple purposes. Firstly, it tastes really good. It heals and repairs our organs, which expand during pregnancy to develop the baby within the womb while simultaneously repairing tissues, flushing out toxins, lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system and finally preventing and slowing down the aging process.
Human brains are made up of fats, so the mommy-to-be consuming foods made in ghee would aid in the baby’s brain development. We all crave delicious foods during pregnancies. Ghee adds flavour and is satiating, keeping pregnant moms off cravings for junk food and sugar.
There is no scientific proof that ghee aids during labour by lubricating the vagina. We, however, have enough proof from our very own grandmothers and midwives as to how easy their deliveries were and how easily they shed the excess weight off without having to worry about lower back pain because they were able to bounce back post-delivery thanks to all the ghee they consumed.
Ghee has the right amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It is one of the most natural ways to nurture the bodies of expecting mothers and the baby inside the womb. Remember that a moderate consumption is what we should be aiming at. An excess could lead to obesity and complications during delivery. So, consuming no more than two tablespoons of ghee should be fine.
Our moms and grandmothers, who have naturally glowing skin, never showed any signs of exhaustion and enjoyed the aroma and the flavour ghee added to many Indian dishes. Eating chapattis smeared with ghee, cooking certain vegetables in ghee and applying ghee to chapped lips in winter has been the Indian traditional way of using it in multiple ways through centuries, thanks to India’s rich heritage of Ayurveda.
(The writer is an Integrative & Functional Nutritionist.)