Butter has been demonized by the media and the medical community as being bad and unhealthy. We’ve been told for decades to avoid it at all cost and instead use margarine, which is supposedly much “healthier”. But butter is not as unhealthy as it has been touted to be….much healthier than margarine could ever hope to be! But with major hospitals and clinics touting margarine as a heart healthier option, it still keeps getting a bum rap.
So what are some of the benefits of eating butter and forgoing that tub of margarine? Here is a great article from the Weston A Price Foundation that was featured on Mercola.com that answers that question.
The Weston A. Price Foundation provides accurate information about nutrition and is dedicated to putting nutrient-dense foods back on American tables.
Members receive a lively and informative quarterly journal and email updates on current issues and events.Visit their website at www.westonaprice.org .
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. It 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). It 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. It 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).
- Cancer 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.
- Arthritis 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.
- Osteoporosis 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.
- Digestion 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!
- Asthma Saturated fats in butter are critical to lung function and protect against asthma.
- Overweight CLA and short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter help control weight gain.
- Fertility 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 fatTrans 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.
To read more and to see Dr. Mercola’s response to this article, please visit http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/07/why-is-butter-better.aspx