Let’s talk about our favourite ingredient, butter. The origin of butter goes way back to the first domestication of animals, and people have loved it ever since! Throughout history many civilizations have prized butter for its health benefits and life sustaining properties. Societies that don’t use butter obtain the same nutrients from foods like organ meats, fish eggs, fat from marine animals, and insects... We don’t like eating these things as much.
Butter is a creamy rich dairy product made by churning the curd produced from fresh or fermented cream. It is used as a condiment, in baking, in frying, and in sauces. But is it healthy?
There has been much confusion and controversy about whether margarine is healthier than butter. Heart disease was not a common problem until after 1920, when it started rising to become America’s number one killer by 1960. In the same period of time, butter consumption decreased from 18 pounds per person per year to four. Research done in the 1940s indicated increased fat intake caused cancer, which contributed to the “unhealthy” image of fats; however, the press did not stress that the “saturated” fats used in the experiments were not naturally saturated fats (like in butter), but partially hydrogenated or hardened fats (like in margarine).
Recent studies have shown that evidence does not clearly support the usual cardiovascular guideline of eating more unsaturated fats and less saturated fats.
In fact, butter contains many heart healthy nutrients. It is an excellent and easily absorbed source of vitamin A, which is required for healthy thyroid and adrenal glands, which help maintain the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. The linoleic acids (which build muscles) and antioxidants in butter - vitamin E, selenium, and cholesterol - also protect against heart disease and cancer.
It is a great source of vitamin K, which has been found to play a role in bone health, prevention of liver cancer and treatment of prostate cancer, as well as nerve cell health. It contains lauric acid, believed to have antimicrobial properties, and important in treating fungal infection and candida.
It contains vitamin D (essential for calcium absorption), iodine (important to the thyroid and basic metabolic functions of the body), activator x (vitamin K2, which helps the body absorb minerals, present in butter from grass-fed animals), and protects against tooth decay.
Its glycospingolipids (special fatty acids) protect against gastro-intestinal infection, especially in the very young or elderly. Unpasteurized butter is a source of the Wulzen ”anti-stiffness” factor, found only in raw animal fat, that protects against degenerative arthritis, hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.