Is Butter Healthy or Unhealthy?
Over 70 years ago butter became known as an unhealthy food choice because it was believed to be a cause of heart disease and many other health conditions. In fact, this belief has continued right up to the present day. Many attempts have been made to find a healthy butter alternative. Margarine has become the popular, healthy replacement for butter.
Unfortunately, nearly all margarines available on the market today contain hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hydrogenation is a chemical process that damages the natural form of the oil and creates trans-fats. Trans-fats are the most dangerous types of fat that can be consumed. Studies show that if your daily food intake contains as little as one percent tran-fats you are at high risk for heart disease and many other serious health conditions.
As more people are becoming aware of the dangerous of trans-fats, companies have rushed to produced non-hydrogenated butter replacements. However, these spreads are now coming under fire because they have been refined and contain artificial additives and preservatives.
Now, many people are beginning to wonder if it is possible to find a spread that will not have serious health effects. Butter is not an option because everybody knows it’s bad for your health. Or is it? Although the belief that butter is unhealthy has been a popular one for many years there is no concrete scientific evidence to support it.
In fact, statistics reveal that as the rate of butter consumption has decreased, the rate of heart disease has increased. Before food processing, refining and fat manipulation brought about by food technology, heart disease was rare. In those days, the only kind of food spread available was butter.
How did the rumor that butter is unhealthy get started in the first place? History reveals that after World War 2 women returned to being full time homemakers and corporations were looking for something to sell to these women. Food technology was the answer. Finding a butter replacement would bring in huge profits.
Campaigns were launched against butter claiming it contained unhealthy fats that would lead to disease. The idea was sold to physicians who, in their ignorance, told patience to stop eating butter and begin eating margarine. It wasn’t long before everybody believed that margarine was much healthier than butter. The truth is that there have been hundreds of motivated studies performed, which have failed to show any link between butter and disease.
Butter is loaded with nutrients. It contains many essential vitamins and antioxidants which come in their most absorbable form. It is a better source of vitamin A than carrots, particularly for individuals who have difficulty transforming beta carotene into vitamin A.
Vitamin A is known to be a key factor in maintaining the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. Butter contains vitamin E and selenium, which together with Vitamin A protect the heart from free radical damage known to weaken arteries. It also contains lecithin, essential for proper usage and metabolism of cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is considered to be our enemy, but the fact is cholesterol is essential to human health. Without it, cells could not function properly.
The health concern with butter has been it’s fat content. Butter contains mostly medium and short chain fatty acids which are known to boost immunity and protect against cancer. In contrast, hydrogenated margarine contains long chain fatty acids which suppress the immune system.
Medium and short chain fatty acids also have anti-fungal properties. When consumed in proper quantities, medium and short chain fatty acids are broken down for energy rather than stored as fat in the body. In contrast, long chain damaged fats found in margarine are difficult to break down and easily store as fat causing rapid weight gain.
Can butter consumption lead to cancer? The medium and short chain acids found in butter have strong anti-tumor properties and reduced levels of inflammation associated with a decreased risk of cancer.
Other health benefits of butter include prevention of tooth decay, promotion of healthy thyroid function, helps treat candida overgrowth, protective against gastrointestinal infection, helps protects children against diarrhea, promotion of proper bone structure and optimal growth in children.
When choosing butter, organic butter is the only healthy choice. Organic butter is free from antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, chemicals and solvents which are found in conventional butter. Organic butter comes from cows that are fed one hundred percent organic feed.
Farming techniques are practiced that insures that soil is rich in nutrients. Butter is particularly susceptible to pesticide which is another big reason to choose organic. When looking at all the facts, the choice is simple. It’s time to go back to butter.