The origin of butter
The word butter derives from the Latin butyrum.
Butter is one of the most natural foods on the planet and has been a delicious part of the human diet for thousands of years. Made with 100% natural ingredients, it takes 10.2L of fresh wholesome cow’s milk to make 454g (alb) of butter.
- Butter was used as food by ancient tribes of Asiatic India, as well as for burning in primitive lamps and smeared on skin to protect from the cold. In early times, unlike today, butter was so costly it was used in religious ceremonies. It still is today in India and Tibet.
- In ancient Rome, butter was valued cosmetically. Not only was it used as a cream to make skin smooth but Greeks and Romans massaged it into their hair to make it shine.
- The ancient Egyptians perceived butter as having tremendous healing properties and butter was used in poultices to fight skin infections and burns. The Egyptians also valued butter as a cure for eye problems.
- During the Tang Dynasty in China, Clarified Butter represented the ultimate development of the Buddha Spirit.
- The ancient Irish, Scots, Norsemen and Finns loved and valued butter so much they were buried with barrels of it
- In Northern Europe, in centuries past, butter was credited with helping to prevent kidney and bladder stones as well as eye maladies. (This was probably thanks to butter’s Vitamin A content).
Is Margarine better than Butter?
No! This is a tragic myth. Butter is a completely natural food essential to your health – especially when it is organic as well as raw. Margarines, on the other hand, are a processed food, created chemically from refined polyunsaturated oils. The process used to make these normally liquid oils into spread-able form is called hydrogenation. Margarine and similar hydrogenated or processed polyunsaturated oils are potentially more detrimental to your health than any saturated fat.
Butter, Margarine and Olive Oil: A brief comparison
Butter has no more calories or fat than margarine or vegetable oils such as olive oil
One serving (10g or 2tsp/10mL) Fat(g) Calories
Butter 8 72
Margarine 8 72
Olive Oil 10 88
The Anti-Ageing Benefits of Saturated Fats
Saturated fats have an extremely important role to play in body chemistry:
- Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cell membranes the necessary integrity so that cells do not collapse and start sticking to one another.
- They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of our dietary fat intake should consist of saturated fats.
- Saturated fatty acids lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. They help protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.
- Saturated fats enhance the ability of the immune system function.
- They are needed for the proper utilisation of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
- Saturated fats contain trace minerals such as manganese, zinc, chromium and iodine.
- Saturated fats such as butter contain anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.
Butter and your health
Butter contains many nutrients that protect against heart disease including vitamins A, D, K2 and E, lecithin, iodine and selenium. A Medic Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine. (Nutrition week 3/22/91, 21:12).
The short and medium-chain fatty acids in butter have strong anti-tumour effects. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in butter from grass-fed cows also gives excellent protection against cancer.
Vitamins A, D and K2 in butter are essential for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorous and hence necessary for strong bones and teeth.
Butter is a good source of iodine, in a highly absorbable for,. Butter consumption prevents goiter in mountainous areas where seafood is not available. In addition, Vitamin A in butter is essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland and health of the adrenal gland.
Glycospingolipids in butterfat protect against gastrointestinal infection, especially in the very young and the elderly.
Growth and Development
Many factors in the butter ensure optimal growth of children, especially iodine and Vitamins A, D and K2. Low-fat diets have been linked to failure to thrive in children – yet low-fat diets are often recommenced for youngsters!
Saturated fats in butter are critical to lung function and help protect against asthma.
Butter and Weight-Gain
The notion that butter causes weight gain is a sad misconception. The short and medium chain fatty acids in butter are not stored in the adipose tissue, but are used for quick energy. Fat tissue in humans is composed mainly of longer chain fatty acids. These come from olive oil and polyunsaturated oils as well as from refined carbohydrates.
CLA and short and medium chain fatty acids in butter help control weight gain.
Many nutrients contained in butter are needed for fertility and normal reproduction.
The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol, but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils, and hydrogenated fats; excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly of vitamin C, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and, finally the disappearance of antimirrobial fats from the food supply – namely animal fats and tropical fats such as coconut oil. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart disease.
Serum cholesterol levels have been shown to be an inaccurate indication of future heart disease, rather a high level of a substance called homeocysteine in the blood has been positively correlated with pathological build up of plaque in the arteries and the tendency to form clots – a deadly combination. Folic acid, vitamin B12 and choline are nutrients that lower serum homocysteine levels. These nutrients are found mostly in animal foods.
The best was to treat heart disease, then, is not to focus on lowering cholesterol – either by drugs or diet – but to consume a diet that provides animal foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12; to bolster thyroid function by daily use of natural sea salt, a good source of usable iodine; to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies that make the artery walls more prone to ruptures and the build up of plaque,; to include the anti-microbial fats in the diet; and to eliminate processed foods containing refined carbohydrates.