Butter is milk fat or butterfat, but butter is better for you than you ever could think. The French include a lot of butter in their diet, especially those who come from Brittany (Bretagne). Most Americans are not aware of why butter is good for them, thanks to the efforts of governmental propaganda supporting margarine for the last 50 years. We’ve been eating better for thousands of years before heart attacks were a problem. Butter is essential to health for many reasons. Helping your bones, decreasing sugar, providing essential fatty acids and maintaining hormone levels just to name a few.
Butter is highly complex as it contains about 400 different fatty acids, and a decent amount of fat-soluble vitamins. The milk is basically fermented making it rich in vitamins and fats. Butter gives you natural sources of vitamin K2, A, D, and others. Vitamin K2 is essential for life! Grass-fed butter contains five times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than butter from grain-fed cows. Fatty acids are actually more than just energy sources, some of them have potent biological activity and affect our physiology and biochemistry.
Butter contains saturated fat, but butter itself doesn’t make you fat. That’s what excessive carbohydrate intake is for. The saturated fat myth has recently been debunked and recommendations are changing. Good fats like butter decrease insulin and glucose. It also helps to decrease the rate of carbohydrate absorption in the gut.
The in butter is high in saturated fat (about 60%), and saturated fats are the ones that improve your lipid profile compared to polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oil, worsening your lipid and inflammatory profiles. The saturated fat in butter has been found to raise HDL, lower triglycerides, and improve the LDL pattern from small dense LDL to large fluffy LDL particles in most people.
Gras fed butter is loaded with vitamin K2, Vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting, whereas vitamin K2 helps keep calcium out of your arteries and into your bones. Other good sources of vitamin K2 are egg yolks, organ meats, dark green vegetables, and natto (fermented soy beans). Cows feeding on grass produce milk that has an omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of about 3 to 1, which is optimal for most people.
The Rotterdam heart study showed that vitamin K2 showed that people who eat a lot of butter had more than a 50% decreased risk of dying from heart disease.
Butter is also loaded with a short chained fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate helps decrease the type of inflammation associated with heart disease. Inflammation is important for recovery and infection, but an excess can damage our cardiovascular system. Furthermore, butyrate heals the lining of your intestines.
Butter from grass fed cows is what humans should consume. Cows are naturally herbivores and not meant to be fed tons of grain and soy. Studies show that milk and better from grass fed cows contain higher amounts of vitamin K2 and omega 3 fatty acids. So get your butter from humanely raised grass fed cows in your diet. The benefits of this type of better will help your wellbeing and makes your eating experience more enjoyable.
Consider including butter three times a week, about 1/4 – 1/2 stick per person. If you eat too much butter, your body will let you know most likely with stomach upset or mild diarrhea.
Salted versus unsalted butter – generally the question of salt doesn’t matter if your diet is well balanced or the recipe calls for a specific amount of salt. But bakers will tell you that poorly made butter is easier to hide if its salted.
Buy your butter from reputable companies that specialize in making dairy products or even consider your local farmer if that is a possibility. There are many companies that produce butter such as Kerrygold and Organic valley who advertise to be grass fed and organic, but realize that anything which is a national brand or is mass produced is not 100% of what they advertise. For example, Kerrygold is produced from cows that re 90% grass fed, 10% grain fed, and almost completely GMO free. These companies can do this thanks to the laws set by their respective agriculture political committees. Consider asking a local farm for butter, this way you can know exactly what is in it. Also realize that not all areas in Europe and the USA are ideal for cows to be grass fed year round. Farmers will tell you that it is unrealistic to feed an animal grass when the ground is frozen! At the end of day all you can do is give it your best effort. I live in Las Vegas, and there are not many organic, grass fed dairy farms in the area, so I indeed use Kerrygold from my local market.