7 Benefits of Butter

butter_webcropButter has been a staple of mankind’s diet since people first domesticated animals. The earliest written reference to butter discovered to date is instructions on how to make it that were etched into a limestone tablet that dates back to about 2500BC.

Even though people have been eating butter for millennia, concerns it may not be healthy took hold. Starting in the 1950s cases of hearth disease were on the rise, and butter was thought to be one of the causes. People began to replace butter with margarine. The margarine manufacturers promoted their product as a healthier alternative to butter, and consumers believed them. Consumers were gullible in the 50s and 60s, so much so they could be convinced that smoking a specific brand of cigarette was healthy. So it’s no wonder no one asked to see the science backing up margarine manufacturers’ claims.

The claims of the margarine manufacturers were given credence thanks to an American researcher, Ancel Benjamin Keys. At the time Keys was well know for having developed the famous K-rations for the US military. Keys proposed that saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet were to blame for the increase in heart disease. Subsequent research studies did not corroborate Keys’ assumption, but they were all but ignored by consumers.

Because consumers were misinformed they reduced the amount of natural animal fats they ate, such as butter and other dairy products, as well as meats. At the same time manufacturers of processed foods increased in both numbers and output. Of course the result was that since the 1970s Americans have reduced the amount of saturated fat they eat, while the number of cases of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease has skyrocketed.

The truth is, margarine is not better for your health than butter. In fact, margarine has little to no nutritional value and is potentially far more harmful to your health than butter. Margarine is a chemically processed food created by refining polyunsaturated oils, meaning it is not something human beings evolved to eat and digest.

7 Benefits of Butter

Butter is better because it does have nutritional value, not to mention it is an excellent source of…

1. Lauric acid, which helps the body ward of fungal infections such as Candida, or combat an infection if one occurs.

2. Lecithin, which is essential for cholesterol metabolism.

3. Vitamins D, E and K, and vitamin A, which is necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.

4. Anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage and weakening arteries.

5. The vital mineral selenium, and iodine in a highly absorbable form.

6. Wulzen factor, a hormone like substance that can prevent stiffness in the joints. However, Wulzen factor can only be found in raw butter and cream.

7. Arachidonic acid, which contributes to brain function and is a vital component in cell membranes.

By comparison, margarine is a source for… well, nothing your body needs? In fact, it contains what your body doesn’t need and what is potentially harmful.

Is Margarine related to Butter?

It’s assumed by many consumers that margarine and butter are somehow related. Wrong! Margarine was created in a laboratory, so is far from a natural product like butter. Margarine is been made out of trans fat, which now in known to be harmful to the body. To be clear on what the health risk is, the now dreaded trans fat is the artery clogging fat produced when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening. So, in effect, when you eat margarine you are eating the raw incredient needed to clog your arteries.

Besides clogged arteries, trans fat also increases blood levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, while at the same time lowering levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. Studies have found that trans fat also causes heart disease and Type II diabetes.

Soy Butter vs Real Butter

Soy is a healthy alternative to a great many processed food, and even some natural foods vegans or people with food allergies can not consume. Studies have proven that Soy helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and some forms of heart disease. This is because of the Soy protein isoflavoneas, which contain genistein and daidzein. Isoflavones in Soy protein has also been identified as an anti-carcinogenic.

There are butter replacement products made from Soy, and for sure they are a healthier choice than margarine. This is based on the fact that Soy protein is one of the only plant proteins that’s a complete protein, contains significant amounts of all 9 essential amino acids, and is rich in calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, B-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and fibre. However, the health benefits of Soy butter are based on the benefits of Soy itself, rather than studies. To date their have been too few studies and too little research done on Soy butter specifically to give details of which benefits are applicable, and to what extent.

What can be recommended now, based on hard science, is that real butter is healthy when consumed in moderation, as is the case with any food. Margarine is unhealthy, regardless of how little is consumed, and Soy butter is likely to be a healthy choice too, and is the only healthy choice vegans and anyone with food allergies should eat.

In This Together,

Coach Eric Hollingsworth
P90X, PiYo Certified Fitness Coach

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