Why are we so wary of butter, the natural alternative? Mostly, from misinformation and propaganda over the past 40 years, about saturated fats and cholesterol – some of it well-intentioned, some of it the sinister result of a long standing conspiracy to dupe the public into opting for refined and processed fats over animal fats, in the mistaken belief these are better for their health. Why the conspiracy? Because powerful conglomerates have fortunes to lose when the public gets wiser about what’s good for them! Fortunately, there is at last a startling reverse in the barrage of misleading information about fats, as people gain access to much greater, more readily available information sources such as the Internet, and as consumers become ever more alarmed about the health risks associated with modern living and its food technologies. Cholesterol is not only naturally manufactured in our own bodies, it is also essential to life. Human breast milk is extremely high in saturated butterfat and cholesterol. This cholesterol is crucial to the development of the brain and nervous system. Children who are fed skimmed milk suffer from malnutrition, fail to thrive, and get frequent diarrhoea. The modern epidemic of heart disease and cancer started only AFTER most people stopped eating butter – which was more expensive than widely touted margarine, and denigrated as a dietary evil.
What, then, is good about butter – other than it is made from all natural dairy ingredients which the human body has been happily processing for millennia? Butter is a rich source of vitamin A, essential to a healthy immune system and needed for a wide range of functions in the body, from maintaining good vision, to keeping the endocrine system in top shape, and is essential to the thyroid gland. It supplies iodine, needed for thyroid function, and the thyroid and adrenal glands both assist in the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. Butter contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins, E, K, and D, and is rich in trace minerals, especially selenium, a powerful antioxidant – as are vitamins A and E. Vitamins A and D in butter are essential to the proper absorption of calcium. Butter contains butyric acid, the fatty acid used by the colon as an energy source, and a known anti-carcinogen, and lauric acid, the medium chain fatty acid which is antimicrobial and antifungal. Butter helps prevent and control candida overgrowth, and protects against tooth decay. It contains linoleic acid which protects against cancer, small amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, the essential fatty acids, and Glycospingolipids, a special fatty acid which protects against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly.
So, you think butter is more fattening than margarine? Wrong. The short and medium chain fatty acids in butter are not stored in the adipose tissue, but are used for quick energy by our vital organs. And because butter is rich in nutrients, it leaves you feeling satisfied. One recent theory holds that consuming processed fats containing trans fatty acids leaves us craving to eat more food, and then we binge – because our bodies are not getting what they need!
Butter also contains lecithin, which helps us metabolise cholesterol and other fat constituents properly, and other anti-oxidants besides those already mentioned, including selenium. Anti-oxidants protect us from free radical damage which weakens the arteries, and can lead to heart disease and cancers. Cholesterol itself is in fact a potent anti-oxidant, keeps the intestinal walls healthy and protects against cancer of the colon. Raw butterfat also protects against calcification of the joints, hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland.
So, if butter is better, which butter is best? Fresh, farm-made butter is the winner – butter made from milk on the farm straight from range fed cows. Not butter which has been in deep frozen storage for as much as five years. It might shock you to know how much of the butter currently on our supermarket shelves is not just months old, but several years old! Old, rancid butter, of course, is NOT good for you. Keep this delicious, pure, fresh butter refrigerated until shortly before you want to use it. It comes salted and unsalted, in bulk or in handy tubs, from The Cheeseman. Unsalted is preferred by some for its taste, and is also the best to use for cooking as it’s the salt in butter which can burn. Tuck in to butter, and throw guilt out of the window – it’s the healthiest choice!