Our mornings often begin with a humble spread of butter on toasted bread. But it is often pitted against margarine and demonised. We have become increasingly health conscious and aware about the cholesterol in blood and ischaemic heart diseases corroborating them to the consumption of fats and oils. But a growing number of scientific research has proved that butter is good for health, when taken in moderation.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, interventional cardiology specialist and registrar in Croydon University Hospital, UK, observed that the saturated fat in milk is protective to cardio-vascular diseases as opposed to the diet where saturated fat has been excluded from diet by incorporating margarine. He added that it may depend on the kind of foods the saturated fat comes from. Dairy products contain vitamin D, a lack of which is linked to heart disease, calcium and phosphorus, which may have blood pressure lowering effects.
Butter not only tastes better, it is also a natural product vis-a-vis margarine which is synthetic and often laced with additives, added colour, flavours and refined oils.The milk fat present in butter gives it a smooth taste and adds flavour. Milk fat is the carrier of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and comprises a large variety of lipid compound (sphingolipids etc) and fatty acids (myristic acid, oleic acid, rumenic acid, etc). Whether saturated, trans or conjugated, the fatty acids should no longer be considered as single entity. Each of them has its own specific physiological properties that make milk fat in the right quantities an integral part of a balanced diet. Raw, organic butter is a superfood that consists of short chain fatty acids and medium chain fatty acids which are not significantly stored as fat but easily used as energy. Even at the bottom of the pyramid, butter is better than margarine, which is a lab created plastic food-like substance. It is cheap to make, lacks nutritional merit, and damages health. But it has a longer shelf-life and a higher profit margin than real butter.
Here are some of the health benefits of consuming butter:
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): Raw organic pastured butter has anti-tumour CLA. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the skin, colon, breasts and lungs. It’s anti-fungus and it stimulates muscle growth while preventing weight gain.
Butyric Acid: Butter contains 4 per cent butyric acid—a short chain fatty acid that inhibits tumours. It signals the immune system when infections brew up.
Vitamin K2: Raw, organic, pastured butter and cream contains vitamin K2—a necessary co-factor in Vitamin D synthesis. K2 also ushers calcium out of bloodstream and into bone cells, which increases bone density instead of calcifying arterial and heart tissue.
Fat-soluble Vitamins: Butter is a good source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and a vehicle for their assimilation.
Wulzen Factor: Raw, unpasteurised butter, cream and milk contain the ‘Wulgen Factor’, an anti-stiffness agent. It protects against calcification of the joints (osteoarthritis) as well as cataracts, and the calcification of the pineal gland. Pasteurisation destroys this Wulgen Factor.