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Olive Oil Substitute: can grass-fed organic ghee be used as an olive oil substitute?

Olive Oil Substitute is much needed these days because olive oil is not suitable for all cuisines, especially where you need a creamy texture and taste-enhancing aroma in the cooked dishes.  

olive-oil-substitute

How can olive oil be replaced with another cooking fat, nutritious and healthy like this herbal oil?

Cooking oil is a primary kitchen staple. It requires preparing any recipes from world cuisines, irrespective of food habits. Oils are a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA – healthy fats), and fat-soluble vitamins.

Unsaturated fats reduce the risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Fat-soluble vitamins are essential for healthy skin and immunity.

Thus, cooking oils are an essential component in a healthy diet plan according to USDA dietary guidelines. If we have to determine an olive oil substitute, the replacement oil should have all these advantages.

Healthy cooking oils are mostly a source of saturated fats. A high amount of saturated fat in the diet increases the total serum cholesterol level, precisely the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the blood.

LDL cholesterol leads to fatty deposition within arteries, creating plaques. The arteries become narrow due to plaques and reduce blood flow to the heart.

This is the primary reason for Coronary Heart Disease. We should check if ghee clarified butter, the olive oil substitute cooking fat, adheres to these advantages.

Pure cow Ghee is an ancient dairy product and a kitchen staple in the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, and Africa for ages. It is a form of clarified butter with a nuttier and caramelized aroma.

Presently, Ghee, especially grass-fed Organic Ghee, has gained lots of attention and acceptance throughout the world due to its excellent aroma and taste, nutritional benefits, and therapeutic properties.

On moderate consumption with a regular diet, the healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins of ghee provide many benefits to the body. Moreover, it has a high smoke point (482°F), hence suitable for high heat cooking, frying, etc.

These reasons are making health-conscious consumers using Ghee as a nutritious and flavorsome replacement for cooking oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and dairy oils like regular butter or butter oil.

Now let’s check how pure ghee fits in as an olive oil substitute. But before we start comparing, let’s check what the reasons behind the popularity of olive oil in cooking are.

What makes Olive Oil so popular?

  • Olive oil is predominantly used in Mediterranean cuisine. It is highly nutritious and is preferred by the heal freaks as a safe oil for reducing cardiovascular disease risk.
  • It is rich in monounsaturated fats or MUFA (about 73%). The major MUFA in olive oil is Oleic Acid (about 70%). It contains about 11% Polyunsaturated fatty acids and only 14% of saturated fat.
  • It is rich in Vitamin E and vitamin K. Pure olive oil has a higher smoke point (465 degrees F), hence suitable for high heat cooking, baking, and frying.
  • Extra virgin olive oil (325-375 degrees F) has a relatively low smoking point and is used for seasoning and drizzling. All these factors together make olive oil a popular choice among health-conscious people.

OLIVE OIL SUBSTITUTE

 Health benefits of olive oil:

  • Olive oil is high in MUFA, which may increase good cholesterol (HDL) and also can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • It is rich in vitamin E and vitamin K. Vitamin E improves immunity, while Vitamin K is essential for efficient blood clotting in the body.
  • Virgin and extra virgin olive oils are rich in phytonutrients.
  • Some studies have suggested that olive oil consumption reduces the risk of osteoporosis and improves gut microbiota balance.

  An Olive Oil substitute: why is it in demand?

Before finding the option, let’s discuss what an Olive oil substitute is. Olive oil substitute means we need to cherry-pick a cooking fat as nutritious as olive oil and safe cooking. Although olive oil has several nutritional and health benefits, it may appear a little flawed when the taste & flavor, and smoke point are concerned. The glitches are:

  • Olive oil contains flavonoid polyphenols, which is an antioxidant with several beneficial effects. But the compound contributes a tinge of bitterness to the oil. Often users have experienced a bitter aftertaste with olive oil use.
  • It has a spiciness and pungency, which is not that palatable.
  • It has a distinct flavor of olive or sometimes like raw nuts or hay, which is not globally appreciated.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is healthier than regular olive oil. However, it has a low smoke point, thus not suitable for high heat cooking. Heating extra virgin olive oil may destroy its nutritional compounds and may produce carcinogenic compounds.
  • Olive oil is not shelf-friendly: the oil may turn rancid after 18–24 months or 12–18 months.

Therefore, an “olive oil substitute” should have similar nutritional benefits, and it must have added benefits to cover the drawbacks of olive oil.

What is Ghee Clarified Butter?

Pure cow Ghee (organic or grass-fed) is prepared by boiling grass-fed butter till the butter’s moisture gets evaporated and the milk solids get removed, leaving the pure butterfat layer on the top.

A further cooking process results in the caramelization of ghee residues. This process gives the characteristics of nutty flavor and caramelized golden color of ghee. It is then filtered to remove all residues.

Ghee nutrition has all the nutritional benefits of milk fat. It has a long shelf life of up to 12-18 months from its manufacturing date without the support of refrigeration at your pantry.

The Ghee contains not less than 99.6% fat. It contains healthy fat, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), CLA, loads of butyric acid or butyrate, and beta carotene essential for the human body.

Ghee is free of lactose and casein. Therefore, it is safe for lactose intolerants.

People following the Keto diet or Paleo diet can include ghee in their diet, as Ghee is Keto and paleo-friendly.

It has a high smoke point (482°F), thus suitable for high heat cooking, baking, roasting, and frying. It is used as a flavor enhancer in cooking or seasoning various recipes from world cuisines.  Grass-fed and Organic ghee is highly nutritious and gained popularity among health-conscious people worldwide.

Ghee benefits:

The nutritional advantage of grass-fed ghee is wholesome. Moreover, olive oil can use high heat cooking, baking, seasoning, or direct consumption. Moderate consumption of ghee offers several benefits:

  • It helps in digestion, reduces the problem of constipation, improves immunity and internal inflammations.
  • Grass-fed organic Ghee contains loads of butyric acid or butyrate improves the digestive system and constipation. Moderate ghee in the diet reduces the irritation of chronic constipation.
  • Fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6 and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) in ghee are essential for immunity enhancement and anti-inflammatory support in the human body.
  • Helpful for maintaining skin & hair health and eyesight: Grass-fed or organic Ghee is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, which are essential for immunity, healthy skin and hair, improved eyesight, and calcium metabolism in the human body.
  • Ghee helps in detoxing.
  • The ghee diet acts as a natural cleanser of the body and keeps the digestive system clean.
  • Ghee helps in weight loss management.
  • With 64% saturated fat, ghee in the diet works as a filler food. It can be taken with morning tea or coffee for natural energy and keeps hunger pang away for longer than usual.
  • Ghee offers a higher smoke point and acts as a flavor and taste enhancer of food.
  • The smoke point of 482°F makes it extremely suitable for high heat cooking, baking, frying, sautéing, and roasting.
  • Ghee is used as a taste enhancer in cooking or seasoning. It has no bitter or pungent aftertaste like olive oil.
  • Ghee can also be consumed as a spread on morning toasts or added to coffee or other beverages.
  • Consumption of Ghee in moderation improves the ratio of high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol, to low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol in the body.
  • It is well acclaimed by Ayurveda as a natural medicine to improve physical and mental health.

Ghee vs. Olive oil: How can ghee clarified butter work as an olive oil substitute?

Olive oil is rich in unsaturated fat. It contains about 84% unsaturated fat (mostly MUFA) and only 14% saturated fat. Grass-fed cow milk butter made ghee contains about 62% saturated fat and 23-38% unsaturated fat.

So Olive oil and Ghee have a different fat composition, but ghee is a healthy alternative to olive oil due to more healthy saturated fats.

Moderate consumption of ghee is undoubtedly beneficial and may consider as olive oil substitute because of the following nutritional benefits:

Though ghee is rich in saturated fat, about 89% of it comprises medium and short-chain fatty acids with 3% linoleic acid.

Medium and short-chain fatty acids are easy to digest and do not cause fat deposition in the body.

The MCFA and the SCFA in ghee act as a fuel for energy in the body and significantly reduces total cholesterol levels by 10–25% in the serum and by 7–14% in the intestinal mucosal cells.

Several studies show that using the best quality ghee as a part of a balanced diet can reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels.

ghee vs olive oil

  • Ghee contains high concentrations of monounsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 supports a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
  • The short- and medium-chain fatty acids can rapidly oxidize, thus less conducive to fat deposition and natural fat loss.
  • Ghee contains 25% MCTs. MCTs rapidly help in digestion and get absorbed in the body, providing energy.
  • Like olive oil, ghee is also gut-friendly, helps in digestion, and reduces constipation’s irritation. Ghee is rich in butyrate or butyric acid (primary short-chain fatty acid in ghee) essential for digestive health, eliminated toxins from the body, and supports to improve the problems of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and is considered anti-inflammatory.
  • Just like olive oil, ghee is also loaded with healthy fats. Ghee is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fat), and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
  • Omega 3 reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It is beneficial to the heart, brain, eye, and other tissue functions and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), essential for immunity enhancement, increasing lean mass of the body, and anti-inflammatory properties in the human body. It keeps cholesterol levels in check. Good health effect of CLA also includes antiatherogenic effect, altered nutrient partitioning, improved lipid metabolism, anti-diabetic impact (type II diabetes), immunity enhancement, improved bone mineralization, and natural fat loss.
  • MUFA content in Ghee clarified butter is around 28.7%. MUFA is considered healthy as it helps in biochemical processes associated with nerves, the brain, the heart, digestion, and cell maintenance.
  • Like Olive Oil, Ghee clarified butter is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, essential for immunity, healthy skin and hair, improved eyesight, and calcium metabolism in the human body.
  • Ghee clarified butter is rich in beta-carotene, the antioxidant, which gets converted into vitamin A in the human body. Vitamin A is essential for retina function.
  • Ghee clarified butter helps balance high blood sugar if the ghee diet is coupled with exercise and an active lifestyle.

Ghee vs Olive oil: How ghee offers some unique advantages

  • Ghee offers long shelf life at ambient condition (shelf-stable)
  •  Ghee in the diet helps in skin and hair care.
  •  Due to its fat content, pure ghee is suitable for the Ketogenic diet (Keto diet/ no carbs diet) and Paleo diet. 
  • Ideal for seasoning food or even for direct consumption due to its unique flavor and taste
  • Unlike olive oil, Ghee gives an extra advantage in high heat cooking and enhancing the taste of food:
  • Ghee has a higher smoke point, about 482 degrees F. Thus, ghee is suitable for high-temperature cooking, frying, baking, and roasting. Due to high smoke points, ghee produces much less toxic compounds than olive oil while cooking on high heat.
  • Moreover,  desi ghee has a unique taste and aroma. It enhances the taste of a cooked dish when added as a seasoning or used as a taste enhancer.  Ghee facilitates its users with versatility. It can be used to cook all types of foods from multiple cuisines, whereas olive oil is predominantly used for Mediterranean cuisines.
  • Ghee butter is recommended to consume with bulletproof coffee, a high-calorie fatty coffee, as a replacement for an energy-packed breakfast. The saturated fat in ghee provides sustaining energy and works as a filer food, thus restricts calorie intake.

Therefore, although the composition of fat in ghee, brown butter, is different from olive oil, healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins make ghee, the unique dairy staple, healthy.

It is suitable for regular use and making delicious meals. Olive oil is good at low-temperature cooking, while ghee gives the freedom of high-temperature cooking like baking, slow cooking, etc. So, ghee can indeed be used as an olive oil substitute.

According to Ayurveda, moderate inclusion of Organic grass-fed cow ghee in the everyday diet helps in natural improvement of memory power, immunity, boosting the energy level,  impacting rejuvenating effect to the body, supporting natural weight loss program and help in improving hair and skin health, etc.

Olive oil substitute: How to replace coconut oil with ghee in cooking:

  • You can use ghee as an Olive oil substitute while baking a cake.
  • You can use ghee for bulletproof coffee.
  • During the deep-frying process, ghee( cultured and non-cultured ghee) offers a higher smoking point than olive oil. Hence, it is a healthy replacement for cooking oil/fat.
  • Extra Virgin olive oil is always considered healthier than regular olive oil. But the smoke point of extra virgin oil is 325-375 ° F. In contrast, pure organic or grass-fed ghee offers 482 ° F.

 Summing up:

Olive oil is a healthy choice due to its high amount of MUFA content, but it has some disadvantages.

  • Extra virgin olive oil is healthier than regular olive oil. But it has a low smoke point and not suitable for high heat cooking.
  • It has a slightly bitter and pungent after taste.
  • It has a distinct flavor of olive or sometimes raw nuts or hay.

These are the premium reasons people often look for olive oil substitutes.

Ghee, the dairy delicacy, is a great choice for cooking needs. It is a tastier and equally nutritious option. It is a superfood considering its beneficial effects and therapeutic usages.

  • Ghee contains butyrate. Butyrate is known for healthy support to the digestive system and releasing constipation.
  • It contains omega 3, which is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Just like olive oil, Ghee is rich in fat-soluble vitamins.
  • It is suitable for individuals with lactose intolerant/ allergic to casein.
  • Unlike olive oil, it is ideal for high-temperature cooking.
  • It has a nutty taste and a pleasant aroma. 

You may go for Milkio Grass-fed ghee or organic ghee from Milkio Foods Limited New Zealand;

Milkio ghee is prepared from 100% grass-fed dairy butter.

It has no added additives or preservatives. Milkio organic grass-fed ghee is certified “Non-GMO & Organic (USDA Organic) by BioGro NZ Ltd, New Zealand.

It is a natural product and does not contain lactose, casein, gluten, and sugar.

Milkio grass-fed organic ghee is storage-friendly. You may store the ghee for 12-18 months post-manufacturing in your kitchen without refrigeration support. It offers a high smoke point. It is Keto and Paleo-friendly. 


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Grass fed cow ghee: proven Ayurvedic home remedies for improved health


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Experimental and theoretical investigation of packaged olive oil


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