Butter; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits

Butter; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits

Butter is a dairy product containing up to 80% butterfat (in commercial products) which is solid when chilled and at room temperature in some regions, and liquid when warmed. It is made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk to separate the butterfat from the buttermilk. It is generally used as a spread on plain or toasted bread products and a condiment on cooked vegetables, as well as in cooking, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying. Butter consists of butterfat, milk proteins and water, and often added salt. Butter may also be sold with added flavourings, such as garlic.[1]

Nutritional Value of Butter

Nutritional Value per 1 US Tbsp (14.2g)
Energy 101.8 kcal (426 kJ)
Carbohydrates
0.01 g
Sugars 0.01 g
Fat
11.52 g
Saturated 7.294 g
Trans 0.465 g
Monounsaturated 2.985 g
Polyunsaturated 0.432 g
Protein
0.12 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.
12%

97.1 μg

Vitamin A 355 IU
Vitamin B12
1%

0.024 μg

Vitamin E
2%

0.33 mg

Vitamin K
1%

0.99 μg

Other constituents Quantity
Cholesterol 30.5 mg
USDA 01145, Butter, without salt.
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. [2]
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Health Benefits of Butter

  • Powerful Antioxidant – Natural butter contains high levels of carotene, an unusual and essential nutrient for human beings. [3] Carotene contributes to human health in two ways, either turning into antioxidants or converting into vitamin A. In terms of antioxidants, about 60% of carotene taken in by the body is changed into these disease-fighting compounds in the body. These antioxidants are anti-infectious and can provide a boost to your immune system. Since vitamin A is fat-soluble, it can benefit those parts of the body that have fat-soluble membranes, like the skin, eyes, mouth, throat, as well as the urinary and digestive tracts. There, it can promote cell regrowth and repair, protecting it from vulnerability to infectious substances.[4]
  •  Boosts the immune  system – by stimulating the production of lymphocytes, the immune system’s defensive cells that protect against viruses and various diseases. [5] High levels of vitamin A can improve your defenses against respiratory infections, as well as autoimmune diseases like AIDS.
  • Anti-cancer Properties – High levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene have also been widely studied, and positive connections between these two nutrients and lower chances of colorectal and prostate cancer have been found. More research is still being done on vitamin A’s impact on breast cancer, but studies so far have been promising. The benefit comes from the antioxidant capabilities of vitamin A because they actively defend against cancerous growth and promote apoptosis (spontaneous cell death) within tumors, slowing down the metastasis of cancerous cells.[6]
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – has also been found in significant levels in butter and has been connected in studies as a cancer prevention method. [7] [8] All in all, butter, when consumed in moderate quantities, can reduce your chances of developing cancer! However, higher intake of vitamin A when combined with smoking has been shown to increase the chances of lung cancer, so smokers should turn towards vitamin C for their antioxidant needs, rather than vitamin A.
  • Butter is the highest source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – Yep, butter is the highest dietary source of this powerhouse fatty acid. Not surprisingly, CLA concentration varies on the animal’s environment. CLA concentration is 4 times higher in summer milk than winter milk, due to pasture grazing.It inhibits cancer, according to one report in the Journal of Nutrition – In a number of studies, conjugated linoleic acid, at near-physiological concentrations, inhibited mammary tumorigenesis independently of the amount and type of fat in the diet.Additionally, this fatty acid has been shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer (910).
  • Butter Boasts Butyric Acid- Butter contains 4% butyric acid,  an anti-carcinogenic short-chain fatty acid. Butyric acid actually inhibits the growth of mammary tumors. Butyric acid is also a biological response modifier, a substance that arouses the body’s response to infection. Studies show that it boasts numerous healing and soothing properties on the intestinal tract. (11, 12)
  • Butter does not make you fat – You can’t blame the butter when Paula Dean’s recipes make your jeans a little tighter (that would be the Crisco, white flour and sugar). Butter is a rich source of short and medium chain fatty acids, and these molecules “are not deposited to any extent in the adipose tissue” [13] Second, the fats in butter slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. Carbohydrate consumption should always be paired with a source of healthy fats, like butter, to improve blood sugar stability. When our blood sugar is stable, rather than jumping from super high to low, we feel full and do not experience sugar cravings.[14]
  • Butter has the X Factor – Weston A Price, an early 20th century dentist who studied the effect of diet on tooth decay, discovered the astounding therapeutic use of butter for treating illness. He credited its health-giving properties primarily to an activating substance. “For want of an accepted identification,” he wrote, “I have referred [to it] as Activator X”. Now, we have discovered Activator X is vitamin K2 [15]
  • Butter is Packed with Fat-Soluble Vitamins – Butter contains vitamin K2, an important fat-soluble vitamin. Butter also provides a potent source of vitamins A, D, and E, is the perfect carrier for these vitamins because it provides the fat necessary for their absorption. As a matter of fact, it offers these vitamins to your body in the most assimilable form. Take vitamin A, for example. In animal sources such as butterfat, vitamin A is a retinol is ready to be used by the body. On the other hand, the body is very inefficient at converting cartenoids from plant sources (like beta-carotene in orange veggies) into useable vitamin A. In infants, individuals with thyroid disorders and those on a low fat diet, this cartenoid-to-retinol conversions is virtually insignificant [16]. As a result, we should only consider true vitamin A foods as sources of this key nutrient.
  • What about butter and cholesterol – Studies show that a low fat diet increases triglycerides and lowers HDL cholesterol. A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that there is no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease. As a matter of fact, the cholesterol and saturated fat in butter is uniquely important to health.Science tells us that cholesterol does not cause athersclerosis. As a healing agent in the body, levels of cholesterol rise during periods of stress or when inflammation is present. Providing cholesterol through good quality fats, such as pastured egg yolks and grassfed butter, allows the body to use cholesterol to help address the inflammation.[17]
  • Reduced Intestinal Conditions – Among the many components of butter, it also contains glycosphingolipids. This special type of fatty acid can protect your body against a number of gastrointestinal issues and conditions, by contributing to the mucus layers along the membrane and making it more difficult for bacterial infections to bind to functioning receptors. [18] Butter has a high level of glycosphingolipids within it, primarily because it is derived from another animal, so adding butter to your diet can increase your defenses in your stomach and digestive tracts.
  • Improved Cardiovascular Health Many people are shocked to hear that natural butter can actually work to improve the health of your heart, rather than reduce it! Butter contains HDL cholesterol, also considered “good” cholesterol. [19] This omega-3 fatty acid actually reduces the presence of omega-6 fatty acid (“bad” cholesterol) which can clog up arteries and lead to atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. However, the reason that butter gets a bad name is due to the presence of both types of cholesterol. That being said, organic butter does have good cholesterol, and also higher levels of good cholesterol than what is found in processed butter and margarine.
  • Better Thyroid Health – Our thyroid gland is arguably the most important part of our endocrine system and one of the essential relationships that it has is with vitamin A. Most people that have hypothyroidism or other thyroid related diseases are also deficient in vitamin A. [20]This helps the proper functioning and regulating of hormones to be created and secreted throughout the body. Butter has more vitamin A than any other type of vitamin, so if you have thyroid issues, or want to prevent them from occurring, be sure to include butter in moderate amounts in your diet.
  • Healthy Sexual Performance – Many of the fat-soluble vitamins that can be found in butter are essential to human health because they are necessary to take nutrients out of water-soluble vitamins. Studies have shown that many of these fat-soluble vitamins can even improve sexual performance. Both vitamin A and D are important for proper brain and nervous system developments, but they are also needed for sexual development. Without those fats, as well as vitamin E, all men and women can experience a type of nutritionalsterility, where their sexual characteristics don’t appear properly. It is no surprise that rates of sexual dysfunction and sterility have increased dramatically in the recent decades since butter consumption has declined. [21] Butterfat is the best source of fat-soluble vitamins we have, yet many people are completely losing that part of their nutritive intake.
  • Eye Care – Beta-carotene, which is found in such high levels in butter, has long been known as a booster for eye health. [22] It contributes to the protection of the eyes, as well as in stimulating additional cellular growth, retarding the onset of cataracts, and reducing the chances of macular degeneration. It also decreases the risk of angina pectoris and other eye-related conditions.
  • Arthritis Prevention – Butter contains a rare hormone-like substance that can only be found in butter and cream. It is called the Wulzen Factor, and it protects people from calcification of the joints, which leads to arthritis. [23] This same factor can also protect humans from hardening of the arteries, calcification of the pineal gland, and as mentioned above, cataracts. This is only found in animal fats like cream or milk, but pasteurization eliminates the Wulzen Factor, so butter substitutes and margarine lose that vital benefit. Studies have shown that baby calves that are given substitute formula without the Wulzen factor do not survive until it is replaced with organic butterfat.
  • Improved Bone Health – Aside from the anti-stiffness factor explained above, butter is also rich in essential minerals, like manganese, zinc, copper, and selenium. These are all important elements in maintaining bone health and stimulating bone repair and regrowth. [24] Without a steady intake of these minerals, both essential and trace, you will develop osteoporosis, arthritis, and suffer from other symptoms of premature aging.

Butter

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