There seems to be a growing trend on Facebook and other social media sites touting the use of butter. This is one band wagon that I would jump on whole-heartedly. In my daily clinical practice, I treat a wide variety of conditions from auto-immune diseases, to weight loss, to brain dysfunction, and hormone imbalance. My arsenal for treating these conditions is equipped with hundreds of different supplements and herbs. Yet, I recommend grass-fed butter more than any other product in my collection.
There are a variety of reasons why this grass-fed butter has such great medicinal qualities and I will try to outline some of the most useful benefits.
Grass-fed butter is a great Anti-inflammatory
Uncontrolled inflammation is at the root of most chronic disease. Conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, or any chronic injury all have inflammation as a major component. Getting inflammation under control often requires a combination of healthy fats, fat soluble vitamins, anti-oxidants, and antimicrobials.
Guess what??? Grass-fed butter has all of these qualities in a convenient, tasty, and inexpensive product.
The Fat Profile of Butter
Two-thirds of the fat in butter is saturated fat. Despite the negative connotation of saturated fat, I consider it a healthy fat. Too much of anything can be detrimental, but saturated fat is a very stable fat and does not break down easily. Therefore, it can resist damage from free radicals (which are cancer and inflammatory driving chemicals).
Grass-fed butter is also a source of EPA and DHA, the fatty acids found in fish oil. The main reason for taking a fish oil supplement is for the positive effect it can have on our fatty acid balance. Inflammation, especially the type that benefits from Ibuprofen and NSAIDs, is the result of an imbalance in our polyunsaturated fatty acids. Our current diet causes Americans to consume too much Omega 6 fats (often from vegetable oils) and a lack of omega 3 fats (from cold water fish). Grass-fed butter contains both (Omega 6 fats and Omega 3 fats) in a balanced product that helps to lower inflammation. The same cannot be said for grain-fed butter.
Arachidonic acid is another fat from butter. Many practitioners claim that arachidonic acid is only pro-inflammatory and by eating foods high in this substance leads to inflammation. I used to think this way, until I learned that arachidonic acid has a very important aspect with regards to healing, preventing free radical damage and maintaining healthy nerve tissue. It is all about balance when it comes to the fats in our diet. Arachidonic acid becomes a problem when it is being over produced from too much vegetable oils combined with high insulin levels (think of a potato chip). Arachidonic acid is very beneficial for developing babies and toddlers (they put it in baby formula). I will often see a need for it in athletes who are constantly needing to rebuild connective tissue. In fact, endurance athletes would have a hard time eating too much grass-fed butter.
Grass-fed butter also contains beneficial fats such as CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and Medium Chain Triglycerides (the healthy fats touted in coconut oil).
Balance is the key and butter offers a wide variety beneficial fats in a way nature intended.
The Fat Soluble Vitamins
Grass-fed butter is a great source of Vitamin A and K(especially K2). Vitamin A is one of the most common deficiencies I see in practice, mainly due to the high number of patients with inflammation in their gut. Vitamin K2 is essential for preventing and correcting arterial plaque and it may be great for reducing joint stiffness. Also, many people take Vitamin D, yet, they never consume it with fat or are afraid to eat fat. Vitamin D is much better absorbed with a fat like grass-fed butter, so if you struggle to increase your vitamin D levels try taking those supplements with butter.
Lastly, I am always trying to improve the fat burning capacity of my patients. Due to stress, diet, and exercise routines most people are poor fat burners. This is a major reason why people cannot lose weight and why there are so many people with hormone imbalances. The first step to improving fat burning is to eat fat, so you might as well eat a fat with all of these other benefits.
So, eating the butter will actually not make you fat or clog your arteries, it will actually do the opposite because it will improve fat burning and reduce inflammation.
The brand I recommend most is Kerry Gold but Organic Valley is not a bad option. Put it in your coffee, load it on your vegetables, slap it on a Kind bar, or eat it by the spoon. Just start using it on a regular basis and I am sure you will thank me for it.