The Amazing Health Benefits of…Butter!!!

For a while now, I’ve been contemplating doing a post on the health benefits of butter. When speaking to groups, I always try to leave 10 – 15 minutes at the end for Q&A. One of the questions I am almost always asked is what kind of fats our family prefers and why. Two of the answers always surprise people: our love of butter and our avoidance of canola oil. After explaining why, people are usually really excited to learn that they can include moderate amounts of this tasty treat in their healthy diet.

Now, I have not always been a lover of butter. In fact, I used to be afraid of butter. As a child that grew up durning the fat-free era, I was tricked into believing that if I put fat in my belly, I would get a fat belly.

It turns out that I was very wrong. When sourced from cows that have the opportunity to graze on pastures, and not treated with dangerous growth hormones and antibiotics, butter can be a delicious and satisfying way to take the flavor and the health benefits of your diet to a whole new level.

Here’s why….

Heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids: By now, most of you have probably heard about the health benefits of containing a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. What you may not have known is that butter sourced from grass-fed cows is a great source of these omega-3’s. For optimal health, humans need to have an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of less than 4:1. Due to a diet rich in processed foods and oils (such as canola and vegetable oils), the average American has a ratio of around 20:1. Bringing down your ratio by eating less omega-6, and more omega-3, can help in the prevention and treatment of autoimmune disease, many types of cancer, obesity, and heart disease. Switching to grass-fed butter (and beef and dairy) is a simple way to bring your ratio back into balance. (There is more information on this in the ingredients section of my book, Feeding our Families: Bringing back the made-from-scratch family dinner.)

Lose weight and destroy cancer cells with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): Conjugated linoleic acid is another compound that grass-fed butter is rich in. Studies have shown that consuming naturally occurring CLA aids in weight loss and helps prevent cancer and immune disorders. (Lose weight by eating butter?!? Woot woot!)

Aids in brain development and prevents cognitive disorders: Healthy fats are crucial for the development of young children’s brains. Adding a moderate amount of butter to your children’s diet is an easy way to ensure that they are getting the fuel they need for proper brain growth. Butter is also rich in vitamins A, D, and K2. These vitamins will help keep your brain functioning properly as you age, aiding in the prevention of cognitive disorders of all kinds.

Lowers the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis: Both omega-3 fatty acids and CLA’s are excellent for fighting inflammation within the body. Additionally, a diet rich in healthy fats means that you will have better lubrication in your joints, lowering the overall amount of pain and stiffness associated with arthritis of all kinds. (Ironically, about six months ago, I mentioned to my husband that I thought my body felt better after we started intentionally using more butter. When I read a study confirming this fact and mentioning the “Wulzen” factor just last month, I was pretty impressed that my body had already noticed the correlation. More about my health journey here.)

Better absorption of the nutrients in your food: Many of the vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that make fruits and vegetables so healthful are fat-soluble. This means that your body cannot absorb them unless you consume them with a bit of fat. Most experts agree that six grams is an adequate amount. To put that into perspective, 6 grams of healthy fat from butter (or extra virgin olive oil) is about ⅔ of a tablespoon.

So there you go, these are the top five reasons that I’ve become a lover of butter, and why I am so passionate about purchasing it from grass-fed organic cows. Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of butter as well. When trying to read labels, remember that you are looking for the words “pastured” or “grass-fed” on the label. The two national brands of butter we purchase both for taste and nutrients are Organic Valley Pastured Butter and Kalona Supernatural Grass-Fed Butter. When possible, we like to buy local raw butter from grass-fed cows at our favorite farmer’s markets. They make the best tasting and most nutrient-rich butter we have ever tasted!

 

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Comments

  1. I LOVE butter!! Our favorite is the pastured Organic Valley butter that you have pictured above. I was amazed once I started learning about healthy fats and why traditional fats are so much better for you. We definitely use butter, bacon grease, coconut oil and lard in our house! Especially now that I’m pregnant, I know healthy fats are great for me and my developing baby.

    • healthnutfoodie says:

      I hear you Andrea! I shunned fat for years, now I save our bacon grease in the freezer! As far as coconut oil, have you ever tried it as a night cream?!? When my skin is extra dry, it is my go-to beauty treatment!

  2. Talk to me about canola oil… Why do you avoid it? I avoid it because I don’t know what a canola is, but I’d like to have some greater justification. 😉
    Thanks!

    • Yes…I will talk to you about it! However, it will be a big discussion. Give me a few weeks and I will put a post together. Basically, there is no such thing as a “canola”. The oil comes from a rapeseed plant which is most likely genetically modified. I will give you more as soon as I get a chance!!!

    • Sid Aust says:

      Canola is a processed oil and most of the oxygen has been taken out for long shelf.
      Processed oil interferes with the oxygen exchange to the cells…Processed oils in a supermarket are the major reason for cancer and heart disease…Use Palm oil or coconut..

  3. I have started buying this kind as well. My husband doesn’t like that it’s impossible to spread on things. He’s used to the tub butter and I am trying to stay away from it. Any ideas why it’s so hard and any ways to soften it up.? Also, my only option in organic is Ultra pasteurized or just regular pasteurized milk. Mainly for my toddler twins. Does the UHT bother you.?
    Thanks so much.!

    • I agree that it is definitely not easy to spread like tub butter. On occasions that we want it easy to spread, I just let it warm on the countertop for 30 minutes before our meal. It can even sit out all day and be fine! As far as UHT, I would pick UHT organic milk over non-organic regular pasteurized milk any day. Yes, it has been heated to a higher temperature, but it is also free of growth hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified animal feed. Hope that helps. I will do a “milk rating” post sometime in the future explaining what research has taught me. Hope that helps!

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Trackbacks

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