The Health Benefits of Butter

Article by: Organic Beth

Butter is Back!

Butter has been used for centuries and valued by many people around the world for its life-sustaining properties. When Dr. Weston Price studied native diets in the 1930’s, he found that butter was a staple in the diets in many of the supremely healthy people. In the early 1900’s butter consumption was at 18 pounds per person per year and heart disease rates were below 10%.

In 1955 at the World Health Organization, Dr. Ancel Keys presented his lipid hypothesis, which claimed dietary fat raised cholesterol and therefore increased risk of heart disease. From this point forward butter and other foods high in saturated fat became demonized. Today, butter and saturated fat consumption is at its lowest (butter: less than 4 pounds per person per year), and heart disease is at its highest. In the United States, 610,000 people die of heart disease every year—that is 1 in every 4 deaths. It is the number one cause of deaths in both men and women in the United States.

Fortunately, the tides are slowly changing, and more and more research is emerging showing that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. Traditional diets that are high in fat, moderate in protein, and lower in carbohydrates (especially processed sugar) prove to be healthy and packed with heart healthy nutrients. So folks, butter is back!

Here are some of the reasons butter is good for you:

  • Vitamin A: A fat soluble vitamin that ensures the optimal growth of children. It is vital in bone growth, eye, skin, reproduction and immune system health.
  • Vitamin K2: A fat soluble vitamin that helps decrease risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, and called the anti-aging vitamin.
  • Antimicrobial fats: Butter has short chain fatty acids that stop the growth of dangerous fungi and medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid that stops many viruses from spreading in the body.
  • Butyrate: A short chain fatty acid that is used as food for the good bacteria in our gut. Great for gut health!
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): A long chain fatty acid that has anti-cancer properties.

When I’m talking about butter, I’m talking about butter that comes from grass-fed, pasture raised animals. It is higher in omega-3’s, CLA, beta-carotene, vitamins A, K, D, and E, and antioxidants. You can see the difference in its color and texture. Grass-fed butter is dark yellow to orange, and it’s softer even when just pulled from the refrigerator. So, don’t be afraid, add butter back into your kitchen routine! Cook with it, bake with it, or add it to your morning cup of Joe!

References:

Archive of Internal Medicine, “A Systematic Review of the Evidence Supporting a Causal Link Between Dietary Factors and Coronary Heart Disease”, 2009.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fat with Cardiovascular Disease”, 2010.

Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol by Mary G. Enig Ph.D, Bethesda Press, 2013.