Everything is better with butter.
Short and sweet. This is the subject of today's blog post.
It's true, everything really is better with butter. And there is good reason! The idea behind this next in the series of Monday Health Basics is meant to inspire you to reach for this super food more often, in order to support your very best self. Allow me to go over some of the good stuff.
Why I love butter
- butter protects against many diseases
- it is a rich source of those all important fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)
- you need vitamins A + D to help take up calcium in to the bones, so eating butter will help keep osteoporosis and tooth decay at bay
- good source of antioxidant vitamins + minerals, warding off free radical damage (think heart protective, liver protective, skin protective, lung protective, brain protective, warding off cancers, whole body protective)
- excellent way to get more of the animal version of vitamin K (K2!) shown to protect our hearts, our noggins, our teeth + bones and showing promise of helping protect against cancer
- excellent source of the animal version of vitamin A, integral to the intestinal lining and all mucosal linings (think respiratory- good to protect against asthma!), also helping support your immune system
- vitamin A is also integral to thyroid and adrenal health, so important in metabolism and your response to stress!
- Selenium is also part of the nutritional profile here, further supporting your thyroid and also contributing to butter's antioxidant prowess (liver loving!)
- provides a good hit of B12, the 'energy' vitamin
- butter is a good source of iodine, a mineral integral to the function of your thyroid
- a good source of saturated fats, helping to protect our heart and liver
- helps to balance blood sugars, leveling them out which means staving off spikes and dips which is supportive to our mood, adrenals and energy levels
- consuming vegetables cooked in butter (or steamed, then adding in a pat of butter) will ensure we are better able to assimilate the minerals found within the vegetables (fat supports this!)
- butter provides your intestines with butyric acid, which has been shown to help bring down inflammation in the gut lining, protecting your digestive system
- you'll get a good hit of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which has been shown to protect against some cancers
- other good fats found in butter have been shown to kick candida in the patootie
- butter provides you with short and medium chain fatty acids that have been shown to have strong anti-tumour effects and immune supportive
- butter has a good amount of cholesterol (the good kind I assure you!) necessary to proper brain development in our littles, maintenance of cognitive function as we age
- that cholesterol is also important in the development of a child's reproductive system, as well as supporting a healthy reproductive function in those looking to have babies (yay fertility!)
- as if that wasn't enough, butter has the right ratio of omega 3 fatty acids to the omega 6 fatty acids, which helps our bodies keep inflammation at bay (which is really at the root of just about every chronic disease out there)
- you'll also find lecithin in butter, an important nutrient essential to liver function and fat digestion
- oh man, it's just delicious (did you really need another excuse?)
Good thing to know is that the lactose content in butter is much lower than that found in other dairy products. Some people with lactose intolerance can tolerate butter. If casein is a problem for you, or if you find it tough to stomach butter, you may want to try your digestive prowess with some clarified butter, also known as ghee. This clarified butter is only the butter fat content; all milk solids (proteins) have been taken out in a low/slow cooking process.
While researching the health benefits of butter, you'll come across the Wulzen factor. This refers to keeping stiffness out of the body. Consuming butter will help protect against the calcification of certain tissues in the body; think joints, glands, arteries, cataracts. Unfortunately this factor is deactivated when the milk or cream is pasteurized. Keep this in mind.
When it comes to choosing your butter, it's a question of good – better – best. Good = conventional butter. Better = organic butter. Best = butter from grass-fed cows. When the cows are out on the pasture consuming the diet they have evolved to eat, they are able to properly store those all-important fat-soluble vitamins in their fat, hence making them accessible to us. The better the quality of the butter, the more the quality and quantity of the nutrients found within.
Can you switch to butter from margarine? Are you able to alternate one week conventional butter, the other week organic butter, and maybe get one block a month of the grass-fed butter?
Incidentally, the butter coming from organic cows around this time of year in Canada will sometimes have a sticker on the packaging indicating the product is from grass-fed cows. Look for these, and stock up. The blocks of butter freeze beautifully! (It really is impossible to expect that all butter in our northern climate come from grass-fed cows all year long; it just isn't practical nor has it ever been done.)
Butter is the newest super food. Add a pat of the good stuff to your next bowl of soup or stew. Slather on a bit to your steamed veggies. Cook your vegetables in butter. Melt some butter and coat your next chicken before roasting. Put more butter on that snack/baked good/popcorn. Swap out the oils or margarines called for in your recipe and use butter instead. Mix 1 tbsp of butter with 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup, and call it frosting for fruit. Cook your eggs in butter! Add some butter to your morning coffee (butter coffee, anyone?)
I invite you to do some further reading, if you're still not convinced.
Here is a good all-round write up on the importance of including butter in your diet from the good folks at the Weston A. Price foundation, along with lots of scientific sources to back up the ideas presented