Butter Is Better
Stephen Byrnes, ND, RNCP
you thought butter was bad for you? Silly people!
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?"
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:
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
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).
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.
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.
Despite all of 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.
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 insures 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
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. (Fats you should
watch, though, are all vegetable oils and olive oil.)
looking for 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 at the bottom. Remember what we've said about commercially-raised cows;
its worth a few extra cents to get high quality butter for you and your family.
A brand of butter available in many markets is Anchor, imported from New Zealand.
In this country, all cattle are grass-fed, thus insuring a high nutrient content
of their milk, butter, and meat.
more information on how to obtain quality dairy products, including Anchor Butter,
check out the following web pages: http://www.realmilk.com and http://www.westonaprice.org.
Throughout this entire website, statements are made pertaining to
the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat,
cure or prevent any disease.