Butter is better

Each Thursday Eleanor Ozich of Petite Kitchen will share her thoughts on healthy eating, with recipes and more. This week she recommends you take care what you spread on your bread.

The beauty of a little butter. Photo / Eleanor Ozich.

For years we have been convinced that low fat spreads and margarines are better for our health. Finally the truth is becoming more well known. These artificial, synthetic and chemically made spreads are indeed far worse and could even be detrimental to your health if consumed on a daily basis.

So how can butter be better? The nutritional gospel that saturated fat is unhealthy and fattening is finally starting to melt away.

In fact, there is no convincing evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease. Butter's health benefits are known to fight heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma and thyroid problems, among others. They also promote fertility and healthy growth and development in children.

Butter, being an all-natural dairy product, is in fact an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, which can aid in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, therefore promoting strong bones and teeth. Butter also provides large amounts of short and medium-chain fatty acids, which help to support immune function, boost metabolism and have anti-microbial properties, helping to fight bad bacteria in the intestinal tract.

It also provides the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

Arachidonic acid in butter is very important for brain function and skin health. When butter comes from cows that are grass-fed, it contains high levels of conjugated linoleic acid, a compound that gives excellent protection against cancer and also helps your body build muscle rather than store fat.

The man-made oils and fats in low-fat spreads are incredibly toxic and contain free radicals, artificial flavours, emulsifiers, preservatives, and solvents. These are extremely hard for the body to break down and can contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease. Synthetic vitamins are also added to margarine and spreads and can even have the opposite effect to the natural vitamins in butter.

The one thing that scares me the most, is that the natural colour of margarine and artificial spreads is a horrible dark grey. Bleach is added to make it white, yellow food colouring is then added to give it the appearance of butter.

The best butter that you can buy is raw butter from grass-fed cows, preferably organic. Next is pasteurised butter from grass-fed cows, followed by regular pasteurised butter from the supermarket. Even the latter two are still a much healthier choice than margarine or low-fat spreads.

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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