Cook with butter. Don’t cook with margarine or any other fake butter substitutes. Cook with butter.
Most people think butter is bad. It’s not. On the contrary, butter – from grass fed cows – is one of the most ultimate, nutrient dense foods one can consume. Butter is basically animal fat with slight traces of dairy proteins and sugar. However, the key here is: eat only butter from pastured, grass-fed animals.
Butter from factory-farmed animals that are fed grain contain an unhealthy balance of fatty acids and vitamins. And this, in turn, makes grain-fed butter not so healthy for you (in fact, these differences make grain-fed butter the likely culprit in inflammation and disease).
Let’s break down the health benefits of butter:
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid): This naturally occurring “good” trans-fat has been shown to reduce obesity, belly fat, suppress the growth of tumors and improve overall heart health. Interesting tidbit: there is 3-5 times more CLA in grass-fed butter than grain-fed butter.
Vitamin A: This fat soluble vitamin is imperative for an optimal immune system, vision, bone development and reproduction. It is only present in animal products; however, some fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, which your body can convert to vitamin A. When it comes to grass-fed butter, Vitamin A is the reason for its rich golden color (compare that to your Vitamin A-lacking, factory-farmed pale white butter).
Vitamin K2: Another fat-soluble vitamin that helps with calcium absorption. More importantly, Vitamin K2 has been shown to prevent, reduce and counteract arterial plaques (yes, counteract arterial plaques!). This amazing vitamin is found in healthy doses in the fat of pastured animals. You see, cows eat a lot of green grass that contains Vitamin K1; in a cow’s stomach K1 is transformed into K2 and then K2 is found in the dairy and fat from these cows.
FYI: the grain fed to commercially raised cows does not contain much Vitamin K at all. Hence, you’re not getting any Vitamin K2 from the butter these animals produce (and, that means you’re not getting any of the heart protecting effects of Vitamin K2.)
Omega 3 to 6 ratio: The ratio of these two essential fatty acids is really important. Ideally, we are ingesting them in a 1:1 ratio. However, the typical American diet – high in plant oils (like soy and corn oil) and processed, packaged foods – is very high in Omega 6s. It is estimated that most people following the SAD (standard American diet) consume a 10:1 or 20:1 ratio of omega 6s to 3s. Science shows that this excess of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is the main reason for inflammation and diseases like diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and all autoimmune diseases.
So, why am I telling you all of this?
Butter from grass fed cows has an Omega 6 to 3 ratio of 1:1. And, the ratio in butter from grain fed cows is upwards of 10:1. Now, you see that eating butter from grain-fed cows is actually detrimental to your health, BUT eating butter from grass-fed cows is actually beneficial to your health. AHA!
Take home: Eat grass-fed butter! I recommend consuming about 4 tablespoons per week. It tastes so damn good and is a major source of disease fighting nutrients. Don’t be afraid to put a pat of butter on your sweet potato or to cook with it. And, definitely don’t cook with Omega 6-heavy vegetable oils like corn, soy, safflower or canola oil (read this blog I wrote a while back on the best oils to cook with).
The best store-bought brands of grass-fed or pastured butter are Kerrygold and Organic Valley.
Also, most local farmer’s markets will carry some awesome butter from grass-fed cows. Yum!
**For all those who have dairy allergies or have children who have dairy allergies, cook with organic Ghee. Ghee is clarified butter and is dairy free. My favorite brand is Purity Farms.
Aimee E. Raupp is a women’s health and fertility expert, author, and founder of the Aimee Raupp Wellness & Fertility Center. Her focus is improving health and beauty, preventing disease, and increasing fertility among women whose health and wellness are challenged by the demands of Western culture. Aimee launched her new fertility-friendly beauty product line in Winter 2013. Find Aimee on Facebook and Twitter @aimeeraupp.
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