Contrary to what you might think, there are reasons why you should eat butter. While I’m not going to sit here and tell you to eat copious amounts of it, when eaten in moderation, there are reasons why you should consume butter, over other fats. Butter has received much negative attention in recent years, partly due to it being seen as a major source of saturated fat (and therefore one of the main contributors to coronary heart disease). However, with the recent controversy surrounding trans fats (found in margarines, baked goods and ice creams), which raise your bad cholesterol levels and lower you good cholesterol, I hope I can convince you of some reasons why you should eat butter instead!
One of the reasons why you should eat butter over margarine is the simple fact that it’s a natural food item. While butter is usually processed in a factory, there are literally only two ingredients that ever get added to it, cream and salt (and sometimes there’s no salt). I’m sure that some of you will disagree with me on this, but I definitely like the taste of butter too. I grew up in a family that used butter over margarine at the dinner table, so I can definitely tell when I’m eating margarine. It is one of those personal preference things though.
Butter has been around for millennia and its origins go back to when our ancestors first started domesticating animals. The first written reference to butter was found on a 4,500-year old limestone tablet illustrating how butter was made! Numerous cultures use butter, for instance Indians use clarified butter (ghee) in their cooking, because it's known for its purity. It has also been used as an offering to the Hindu Gods for over 3,000 years.
Margarines and shortening spreads that claim to be like butter are not always healthier options. First off, they are heavily processed and usually contain hydrogenated vegetable oils (known as trans fats), which scientists claim are worse for your heart than saturated fats. Trans fatty acids are banned in some European countries, and food manufactures in the U.S. must list all trans fats in their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have taken steps to phase out trans fats, but it's still unclear how long it will take the food industry to completely reformulate their products. I say, stick with butter until that’s the case.
There are considerably fewer elevated fats in the bloodstream after eating butter versus olive, canola and flax seed oils. High blood fat levels typically raise cholesterol levels in the blood, which can increase your risk of coronary heart disease. Researchers at the Lund University in Sweden concluded that 20 percent of the fat in butter consists of short and medium-length fatty acids, which is directly burned as energy, and doesn’t linger in the body affecting blood fat levels.
Butter is one of the most readily absorbed sources of Vitamin A (known to support the thyroid and adrenal glands), Vitamin E (benefits the skin), Vitamin K2 (which protects against cavities and builds strong bones), Selenium and Iodine (both necessary for proper thyroid function) and dietary cholesterol (important for the development of the brain). These vitamins and minerals (including dietary cholesterol), are all antioxidants, which help repair the damage from free radicals caused by rancid fats, vegetable oils and trans fats.
The saturated fat in butter consists of short and medium chain fatty acids, which actually have anti-tumor properties and have been known to strengthen the immune system. These same short and medium chain fatty acids are burned quickly, and aren’t stored in the body, therefore any excess body fat is rarely caused by butter. Butter can also give you that feeling of being satisfied, decreasing the need to over-eat.
The most benefits can be found in raw butter made from grass-fed pasture-raised cows. In its raw non-pasteurized state, butter has an anti-stiffness property called the Wulzen factor, that protects against arthritis, cataracts, hardening of the arteries and prevents certain cancers. Also, raw butter tends to have a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids (something most people are deficient in). Note: Raw butter is banned federally in the USA, although you can purchase it in five states at farmers' markets and each state has their own laws around the sale of it. Canada and Australia also ban raw butter.
I hope I’ve been able to give you some reasons why you should reach for that stick of butter over margarine, or other type of fat. As mentioned earlier, as long as you’re not eating massive quantities of butter, and have a healthy-balanced diet, you should be fine. Do you eat butter? What are some reasons why you consume it?
Source: greenmedinfo.com, businessinsider.com, bodyecology.com, humaneitarian.org, ncsl.org
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