Butter is healthier than margarine. In fact, butter is just healthy overall. As I type this, I can hear dozens of people exclaiming, “What? I always thought butter was the enemy? Butter makes you fat and margarine is the healthier option because it is low in saturated fats, and cholesterol”. As it turns out, we’ve been misled. Compared to other spreads, and margarine, butter may actually turn out to be the best, not to mention, healthiest choice!
What’s wrong with margarine?
Margarine actually has a pretty interesting history. If you’re thinking that margarine and butter are closely related, you may be in for a surprise. Margarine is nothing like butter! For starters, there’s nothing natural about it. Margarine was first created inside the lab of French scientist Michel Eugene Chevreul.
In 1813, Emperor Napoleon III thought that his lesser to do subjects, as well as his navy could benefit from having a cheaper substitute for butter. He then offered a prize to anyone who could create that substitute. Scientist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès came up with a patented process for churning milk with beef tallow to create something of a substitute for butter. He successfully took home the emperor’s prize.
Fast forward to 1871, Mege-Mouries collaborated with a Dutch company to help improve his margarine producing methods. They realized that for margarine to substitute butter, it had to look like it, so they started dying their margarine yellow. It was also the same Dutch company that helped market margarine internationally.
Ever since it was created, margarine has been made out of trans fat. It was only recently that doctors and scientists realized how harmful trans fat is to the body. In fact, today, trans fat is known as the artery clogging fat formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening.
Trans fat has many more ill effects. It is known to increase blood levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol. Not only that, it also lowers levels of HDL or good cholesterol. Studies have found trans fat to cause heart disease, Type II diabetes and other more severe health problems. Trans fat is also the culprit as to clogged arteries.
Margarine was created as a cheaper substitute for butter. If you’re still not convinced, here are the 8 reasons why you should throw out the margarine, and revert back to butter!
The 8 Health Benefits of Butter
1. Butter is an excellent source of Vitamins. One of the many beneficial vitamins we get from butter is Vitamin A, which has a wide range of function for our bodies. Vitamin A is needed to maintain good vision. It also keeps our endocrine system functioning well. Aside from Vitamin A, butter also has other fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D, E and K.
2. A great source for minerals. Trace minerals are found in butter such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium, which is incidentally, a powerful antioxidant. Butter contains more selenium per gram compared to herring or wheat germ. What’s more, butter is also a great source of iodine.
3. Contains healthy fatty acids. You can get your dose of short and medium-chain fatty acids from butter, which are great for supporting your immune system and boosting metabolism. It even has anti-microbial properties- excellent for fighting pathogenic microorganisms that live inside the intestinal tract.
4. Perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. The arachidonic acid found in butter helps with brain function, skin health and prostaglandin balance.
5. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). If your butter is sourced from cows that feed on green grass, it can contain high levels of CLA. This is a compound that can help provide protection against different types of cancer, and helps the body store muscle instead of fat.
6. Butter also has Glycospingolipids. These are fatty acids that have a specific function to protect the stomach from gastrotestinal infections.
7. An excellent source of good cholesterol- which I’ve posted before about why your body needs cholesterol. Basically, Cholesterol is needed for healthy cellular function. It also plays a part in brain and nervous system development.
8. Lastly, butter contains the Wulzen Factor- This is a hormone like substance with many functions. It can prevent stiffness in the joints, as well as arthritis. It is also responsible for ensuring that calcium is deposited in the bones rather than in the joints. Note that the Wulzen factor can only be found in raw butter and cream.
Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to make the switch to butter!
When buying butter, always remember to look for the raw kind. I buy mine from local farmers, which you can do or head to your farmers market. For more information on how to obtain quality butter, check out these links: http://www.realmilk.com and http://www.westonaprice.org
Where do you get your butter?
If you have a great source for raw, grass-fed butter, share it with us in the comments!