Real Food Spotlight: Butter (is better)

Butter gets a bad rep in the health world.

I’ll give you the good news – butter is not responsible for clogging arteries.

Butter is a real food, which beats out all those enriched margarines or “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” No thanks, give me the real stuff.

butter

Yes, butter is better.

Butter is a stable fat (not a carb for you Regina George fans). You can leave it in your fridge or out on your counter without worrying about it going rancid quickly. Margarines are made up of a variety of vegetable oils that are highly refined and subjected to heat-processing during production. The problem is the vegetable oils are made up of highly unstable fats that easily go bad with heat or light.

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Butter has one ingredient and real vitamins – not margarine.

Leave a bottle of canola oil and a stick of butter on your counter for a week. At the end, taste and smell both. The canola oil is not going to taste or smell very great because the fats have oxidized and gone bad. The butter will probably be fine. When you eat those rancid fats, your body sees them as a toxin and stores them away in your fat tissue, as well as creating inflammation. Most of these margarines, especially stick margarine, contain some trans fat, which is the worst fat you can put into your mouth.

Margarines also contain numerous artificial colorings and flavorings to make it taste and look like real butter. Without these, it would be white or grey and not very appetizing. Butter is naturally yellow and delicious – just ask my sister who used to eat butter packets at restaurants.

Choose butter instead – it’s a nutrient dense food full of vitamins and minerals. Grass-fed butter will give you the most bang for your buck, and the popular brand Kerrygold is easy to find.

kerrygold

Butter (especially grass-fed) contains…

  • Fat soluble vitaminsA, D, K2 – and minerals – selenium, iodine, and more! It’s especially rich in vitamin A to boost your immune system and vision. Vitamin K2 protects your arteries against calcifications and hardening. Iodine is essential for thyroid health. The best part is these vitamins come packaged with fat to absorb it. You need fat to absorb fat soluble vitamins!
  • Short and medium-chain triglycerides (also found in coconut oil) are used for quick energy (not stored as fat) and strengthen the immune system.
  • Butyric acid (a short chain fat) is the main fuel for colon cells, and it helps feed good gut bacteria.
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) helps protect against cancer, helps build muscle, and boost the immune system.
  • Glycospingolipids can protect against gastrointestinal infections.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are heart healthy fats.

When you remove the fat from dairy products like low-fat cheese or yogurt, you remove the nutrients. In fact, full fat dairy has been associated with lower body fat and positive cardiovascular outcomes – sounds to me like butter could be heart healthy!

How to Incorporate more Butter

1.) Buy grass-fed butter and skip all types of margarines, even omega-3 enriched tub ones. Grass-fed butter will have all the health benefits, and it is easily accessible at stores (look for Kerrygold) or local farmer’s markets. You could also try ghee, which is clarified butter.

2.) Use it for cooking. Cook up some eggs in butter for breakfast, or top your veggies with it to better absorb all the vitamins and minerals.

3.) Watch the serving size. Although butter is nutrient dense, it is also energy dense. No need to use huge globs of butter with every meal like Paula Dean.

4.) Don’t be scared of fat! Fat is essential to every cell in our body, and our bodies thrive on fat and cholesterol.

Butter is a nutrient-dense, immune boosting food. Most importantly, it’s a real food that is not highly refined and processed like the fake butter products. It’s been highly regarded as nourishing and sacred for thousands of years all over the world, so why switch to margarine now?

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5 responses to “Real Food Spotlight: Butter (is better)

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