Why Butter is Better

by Stephen Byrnes, ND, RNCP

One of the most healthy whole foods you can include in your diet is butter.

“What?!” I can hear many of you saying, “Isn’t butter bad for you? I thought margarine and spreads were better because they’re low in saturated fat and cholesterol?”

Butter Health Benefits

Be not deceived folks!

Butter is truly better than margarine or other vegetable spreads. Despite unjustified warnings about saturated fat from well-meaning, but misinformed, nutritionists, the list of butter’s benefits is impressive indeed:

Vitamins

Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A, needed for a wide range of functions in the body, from maintaining good vision, to keeping the endocrine system in top shape. Butter also contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins (E, K and D).

Minerals

Butter is rich in trace minerals, especially selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Ounce for ounce, butter has more selenium per gram than either whole wheat or garlic. Butter also supplies iodine, needed by the thyroid gland (as well as vitamin A, also needed by the thyroid gland).

Fatty Acids

Butter has appreciable amounts of butyric acid, used by the colon as an energy source. This fatty acid is also a known anti-carcinogen. Lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid, is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal substance.

Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which gives excellent protection against cancer. Range-fed cows produce especially high levels of CLA as opposed to “stall fed” cattle.

It pays, then, to get your butter from a cow that has been fed properly.

Butter also has small, but equal, amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, the so-called essential fatty acids

Glycospingolipids

These are a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly. Children, therefore, should not drink skim or low fat milk. Those that do have higher rates of diarrhea than those that drink whole milk.

Cholesterol

Despite all the misinformation you may have heard, cholesterol is needed to maintain intestinal health, but is also needed for brain and nervous system development in the young. Again, this emphasizes the need for cholesterol-rich foods for children. Human breast milk is extremely high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Standing in direct opposition to all of these healthful qualities stands margarine and assorted “vegetable oil spreads.” While these  may be cheaper, you’d never eat them again if you knew how they were made.

All margarines are made from assorted vegetable oils that have been heated to extremely high temperatures. This ensures that the oils will become rancid. After that, a nickel catalyst is added, along with hydrogen atoms, to solidify it. Nickel is a toxic heavy metal and amounts always remain in the finished product. Finally, deodorants and colorings are added to remove margarine’s horrible smell (from the rancid oils) and unappetizing grey color.

And if that is not enough, in the solidification process, harmful trans-fatty acids are created which are carcinogenic and mutagenic. What would you rather have: a real food with an abundance of healthful qualities or a stick of carcinogenic, bleached and deodorized slop?

Some of you might be watching your weight and be rather hesitant to add butter into your diet. Have no fear. About 15% of the fatty acids in butter are of the short and medium chain variety which are NOT stored as fat in the body, but are used by the vital organs for energy.

When looking for a good quality butter, raw and cultured is best. This might be hard to find, however. Organic butter is your next best thing, with store-bought butter being the bottom. Remember what we’ve said about commercially-raised cows; it’s worth a few extra cents to get high quality butter for you and your family

Action Steps

  1. Clean out your refrigerator and throw away margarine, vegetable oil spread or any butter that is not raw or organic.
  2. Research how you can obtain raw butter in your area from www.realmilk.com.
  3. Continue to educate yourself and your friends and family about the truth about saturated fats.

Josh Axe

Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

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