Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Butter is Better for Your Health



Butter has gotten a bad reputation in the last hundred years as being bad for your health.  But is that really the case?  As it turns out, the truth about butter is emerging:  Butter benefits your health in many ways while margarine, long touted as a healthier option, is the real health menace!

Margarines are made of vegetable oils which have been heated to extremely high temperatures, causing them to become rancid.  Nickel (which is known to be harmful to human health) and hydrogen atoms are added to the oils in order to solidify them, along with deodorants and colorants to mask the unappetizing smell and gray color of the product.  The final solidification process creates carcinogenic trans-fatty acids.  Margarine contains many more harmful ingredients such as sterols that cause endocrine system problems and the preservative BHT, linked to abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea and liver problems. 

Butter, on the other hand...
- is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.
- contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida.
- Contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.
-  contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.
- as anti-oxidants that protect
against weakening arteries.
- is a great source of Vitamins E and K.
- is a very rich source of the vital mineral selenium.
- contains special saturated fats that have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
- contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
- is a good source of Vitamin D, essential to absorption of calcium.
- protects against tooth decay.
- is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.  (This is found in butter made from raw, unpasteurized cream only.  The anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal or "master" gland in your brain.)
- is a source of Activator X, a substance which helps your body absorb minerals.
- is a source of iodine in highly absorbable form.
- may promote fertility in women.
- is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue.
- contains cholesterol, which is essential to children's brain and nervous system development as well as adults' intestinal and brain health
- contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
- protects against gastrointestinal infections in the very young or the elderly.

What about the cholesterol in butter?  The Cholesterol Myths Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD and many other publications to date have shed light on the important role cholesterol plays in good health.  Cholesterol is actually a powerful anti-oxidant, used by our bodies to repair tissues, including damaged arterial tissue in the heart.  Though it is 'on the scene' when a person has heart disease, it is not the cause of the heart disease but part of our natural internal healing mechanism.

At the turn of our century, heart disease in America was rare. By 1960, it was our number one killer. Yet during the same time period, butter consumption had decreased - from eighteen pounds per person per year, to four.  Margarine consumption as well as refined sugar and flour consumption skyrocketed during that same period.  Coincidence?  Probably not!

Sources:
"The 20 Health Benefits of Real Butter," by Donna Gates, available from www.bodyecology.com.
"Myths and Truths about Cholesterol," The Weston Price Foundation, www.westonaprice.org.
"Why Organic Raw Butter will Benefit Your Health," by Shona Rotes, www.naturalnews.com.

Butter Buying Tips:

Choose organic, cultured butter, preferably from Grassfed (pastured) cows:















If you can find it, RAW butter (made from unpasteurized cream) is even better:  Go to www.realmilk.com for more information on local farmers who may offer it in your area. 

Two good books that reference the healing power of traditional foods, including butter, are The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  On-line, go to www.westonaprice.org for more information and articles. 

3 comments:

  1. This is a great post! I never knew that butter has so many beneficial effects. Is there a limit to how much butter one should consume in a day?

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  2. Thanks for all the info on butter, I do use it as opposed to margarine which of course is what I grew up eating. Simply the taste is so so much better,plus it is natural, I buy organic to avoid pesticides and hormones. If it was good enough for grandma, it's good enough for me.

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  3. Re: Subhash...

    Yes; With all beneficial substances, even water, there is an optimal range that it will be beneficial for you. With butter, raw is best because it has its full array of enzymes, which makes it readily assimilated in the body for healing purposes. Most people are 'good fat' deficient and actually benefit from a lot of fat to rebuild and repair their cells after going on low fat diets for years (or eating poor quality oils); At the Optimal Health Healing Center and in her book, 10 Days to Optimal Health, nutritional Christina Amelong, for example, says that she has helped people recover from candida, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other disorders, while including up to a stick of raw butter into their healing program a day. See www.optimalhealthnetwork.com for more information.

    If you are NOT in this type of situation or when your body is more in balance, then it depends on your body type (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) how much butter is optimal for you. The BEST and really only way to know in any given moment is to read your body's signals of comfort and discomfort as you eat. With processed foods, it's easy to get false signals to eat more and more. But with natural foods, your body will general clue you in to how much is the perfect amount for you.

    Hope that helps-
    Bridget

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