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Are you still shunning butter from your diet? You can stop today because butter can be a very healthy part of your diet.
Why Butter is Better
- Vitamins ...
Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A, needed for a wide range of functions, from maintaining good vision to keeping the endocrine system in top shape.
Butter also contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K2), which are often lacking in the modern industrial diet.
- Minerals ...
Butter is rich in important trace minerals, including manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant). Butter provides more selenium per gram than wheat germ or herring. Butter is also an excellent source of iodine.
- Fatty Acids ...
Butter provides appreciable amounts of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which support immune function, boost metabolism and have anti-microbial properties; that is, they fight against pathogenic microorganisms in the intestinal tract.
Butter also provides the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Arachidonic acid in butter is important for brain function, skin health and prostaglandin balance.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) ...
When butter comes from cows eating green grass, it contains high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound that gives excellent protection against cancer and also helps your body build muscle rather than store fat.
- Glycospingolipids ...
These are a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly. Children given reduced-fat milks have higher rates of diarrhea than those who drink whole milk.
- Cholesterol ...
Despite all of the misinformation you may have heard, cholesterol is needed to maintain intestinal health and for brain and nervous system development in the young.
- Wulzen Factor ...
A hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in your body is put into your bones rather than your joints and other tissues. The Wulzen factor is present only in raw butter and cream; it is destroyed by pasteurization.
Butter and Your Health
Is butter really healthy? Let us count the ways …
- Heart Disease
Butter contains many nutrients that protect against heart disease including vitamins A, D, K2, and E, lecithin, iodine and selenium. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine (Nutrition Week 3/22/91, 21:12).
The short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter have strong anti-tumor effects. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in butter from grass-fed cows also gives excellent protection against cancer.
The Wulzen or "anti-stiffness" factor in raw butter and also Vitamin K2 in grasss-fed butter, protect against calcification of the joints as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland. Calves fed pasteurized milk or skim milk develop joint stiffness and do not thrive.
Vitamins A, D and K2 in butter are essential for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus and hence necessary for strong bones and teeth.
- Thyroid Health
Butter is a good source of iodine, in a highly absorbable form. Butter consumption prevents goiter in mountainous areas where seafood is not available. In addition, vitamin A in butter is essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
Glycospingolipids in butterfat protect against gastrointestinal infection, especially in the very young and the elderly.
- Growth & Development
Many factors in the butter ensure optimal growth of children, especially iodine and vitamins A, D and K2. Low-fat diets have been linked to failure to thrive in children -- yet low-fat diets are often recommended for youngsters!
Saturated fats in butter are critical to lung function and protect against asthma.
CLA and short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter help control weight gain.
Many nutrients contained in butter are needed for fertility and normal reproduction.
Why You Should Avoid Margarine, Shortening and Spreads
There are a myriad of unhealthy components to margarine and other butter imposters, including:
- Trans fats: These unnatural fats in margarine, shortenings and spreads are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid fat
Trans fats contribute to heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalance and skin disease; infertility, difficulties in pregnancy and problems with lactation; and low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in children.
A U.S. government panel of scientists determined that man-made trans fats are unsafe at any level. (Small amounts of natural trans fats occur in butter and other animal fats, but these are not harmful.)
- Free radicals: Free radicals and other toxic breakdown products are the result of high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils. They contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease.
- Synthetic vitamins: Synthetic vitamin A and other vitamins are added to margarine and spreads. These often have an opposite (and detrimental) effect compared to the natural vitamins in butter.
- Emulsifiers and preservatives: Numerous additives of questionable safety are added to margarines and spreads. Most vegetable shortening is stabilized with preservatives like BHT.
- Hexane and other solvents: Used in the extraction process, these industrial chemicals can have toxic effects.
- Bleach: The natural color of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is grey so manufacturers bleach it to make it white. Yellow coloring is then added to margarine and spreads.
- Artificial flavors: These help mask the terrible taste and odor of partially hydrogenated oils, and provide a fake butter taste.
- Mono- and di-glycerides: These contain trans fats that manufacturers do not have to list on the label. They are used in high amounts in so-called "low-trans" spreads.
- Soy protein isolate: This highly processed powder is added to "low-trans" spreads to give them body. It can contribute to thyroid dysfunction, digestive disorders and many other health problems.
- Sterols: Often added to spreads to give them cholesterol-lowering qualities, these estrogen compounds can cause endocrine problems; in animals these sterols contribute to sexual inversion.
How to Purchase Butter
The BEST butter is raw butter from grass-fed cows, preferably organic. Next is pasteurized butter from grass-fed cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter from supermarkets. Even the latter two are still a much healthier choice than margarine or spreads.
For sources of raw butter, visit www.realmilk.com.
The unfortunate result of the low-fat diet craze has been the shunning of healthful fats such as butter, and public health has declined as a result of this folly.
Good-old-fashioned butter, when made from grass-fed cows, is a rich in a substance called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is not only known to help fight cancer and diabetes, it may even help you to lose weight, which cannot be said for its trans-fat substitutes.
Much of the reason why butter was, and continues to be, vilified is because it contains saturated fat. If you're still in the mindset that saturated fat is harmful for your health, then please read this past article to learn why saturated fat is actually good for you.
In fact, by now many have realized that it's the trans fat found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that is the true villain, causing far more significant health problems than saturated fat ever could.
Get Over it -- Saturated Fat Does Not Cause Heart Disease!
The demonization of saturated fat began in 1953 with Dr. Ancel Keys' publication of a paper comparing fat intake and heart disease mortality. His findings were flawed, but his theories quickly caught on and the misguided belief that saturated fat causes heart disease has continued ever since, despite the evidence to the contrary...
For example, a recent analysis of published studies on saturated fat and heart disease again failed to find any clear link between the two.
The reality is that most people -- about two-thirds of the U.S. population -- can include grass-fed butter in their diets and thrive! Those who may do better with lower fat choices are mainly carb nutritional types.But there is one caveat.
Ideally, your butter should be raw (unpasteurized), otherwise you'll run into all the health issues associated with all pasteurized dairy.
Want to Get Back to Basics? Try Making Your Own Butter!
As mentioned above, www.realmilk.com can help you locate a source of raw butter. But, if you want to try your hand at making it yourself, you can do that too!
Positron.org has an excellent web page with step-by-step instructions for making your own butter from scratch, using raw, grass-fed milk.
Sure, it'll take some elbow grease to churn your own butter at home, but the butter you get will be vastly superior, both in taste and nutrition, to anything you'll find in a store.
If you don't make your own butter you MUST get organic butter as just today it was reported that regular butter is contaminated with flame retardant or a chemical called polybrominated diphenyl ether, or PBDE.
About the Weston A. Price Foundation
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a terrific resource and I thank them for allowing me to repost this valuable information.
I've been a member of their organization for a number of years now, and I encourage anyone interested in healthful eating to consider joining. I find their quarterly journal enormously helpful, and I always read it from cover to cover. To sign up, see this link.