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Why Butter Is Better

Posted by SoundHealth on Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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Butter is a natural food with many health benefits, and when eaten in moderation does not cause disease, in fact it contains many beneficial substances that protect the body against disease.

The scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic Medicine mentioned some of the benefits of butter. He said that butter:

  • Heals inflammations, including in the kidneys and mouth
  • Has a laxative effect
  • Calms the nerves
  • Can be rubbed onto children's gums, to assist in the formation and growth of their teeth
  • Is beneficial for a cough

Butter For Good health

Unlike margarine or other vegetable spreads, butter is a real, natural food. It contains beneficial saturated fats, which are essential for a healthy body, as well as a wide range of other nutrients including:

Butter and weight gain

Butter does not cause weight gain. This is because the short and medium chain fatty acids in butter are not stored in the adipose tissue (also known as body fat), but are instead used for quick energy. Fat tissue is composed mainly of longer chain fatty acids. [2] These come from olive oil and polyunsaturated oils as well as from refined carbohydrates.

margarine

Margarine is a man-made, processed food, created chemically from refined polyunsaturated oils. The process used to make these normally liquid oils into spread-able form is called hydrogenation.

Margarines are made by heating vegetable oils to extremely high temperatures. This insures that the oils will become rancid. After that, a nickel catalyst is added, along with hydrogen atoms, to solidify it. Nickel is a toxic heavy metal and amounts always remain in the finished product. Finally, deodorants and colorings are added to remove margarine's horrible smell (from the rancid oils) and unappetizing grey color. During the solidification process, harmful trans-fatty acids are created which are carcinogenic and mutagenic.

Margarine and similar hydrogenated or processed polyunsaturated oils are potentially more detrimental to your health than any saturated fat, as is explained elsewhere on this site.

What would you rather have: a real, natural food with an abundance of healthful qualities or a lump of processed and deodorized slop?

Choosing butter

When looking for good quality butter, raw is always best. But this can be hard to find, so organic butter from grass-fed cows is the next best thing. Most cows are grain-fed, and are given antibiotics and growth hormones, residues of which remain in their meat and milk. Butter from grain-fed cows is also very high in omega-6 fatty acids, and low in omega-3. A healthy diet is dependant on the correct balance between these two fatty acids, but the modern diet usually contains much higher levels of omega-6 already. This imbalance is thought to be one of the causes of inflammation which leads to disease. On the other hand, butter from grass-fed cows has a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids.

Remember that like all foods, butter should be eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy diet.

References

  • [1] Belury, MA Conjugated Dienoic Linoleate: A Polyunsaturated fatty acid with Unique Chemoprotective Properties (p 83-89). Nutrition Reviews, April 1995 53:(4) 83-89.

  • [2] Valero, et al Levels of linoleic acid in adipose tissues reflect the amount of linoleic acid in the diet. Annals of Nutritional metabolism, Nov/Dec 1990 34:6:323-327.


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