Butter has been eaten since Biblical times and even before: In Mesopotamia, butter from goats and sheep has been eaten since 9000-8000 BC, and cows were domesticated for such use a thousand years later. The first reference to butter in written history was found on a 4,500-year-old limestone tablet illustrating how butter was made. Although butter was part of the human diet for tens of thousands of years, a series of misleading studies in the 1950s and 1960s vilified it.
At the turn of the 20th century, heart disease in America was so rare that medical students from all the New York City medical schools were summoned to see a heart attack. By 1960, it was our number one killer. Yet during the same time period, butter consumption had decreased – from eighteen pounds per person per year, to four. A researcher named Ancel Keys first proposed that saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet were to blame for coronary heart disease but numerous subsequent studies costing hundreds of millions of dollars, have failed to conclusively back up this claim. In fact a Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.
Still heavy lobbying from the processed food industry proposed dangerous fat sources like margarine and low fat diets as healthier, advice that persists to this day despite considerable evidence to the contrary. As a result, since the early 1970’s, Americans’ average saturated fat intake has dropped considerably, while rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, have surged.
The notion that butter causes weight gain is a serious 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 from polyunsaturated seed oils. While excess fats of any kind can eventually convert, the more saturated fats confer satiety so people eat less.
What are the benefits of butter? Ingrid Naiman who has spent hours watching videotapes of cells through a dark field microscope (instead of the more common still shots) finds that clarified butter (ghee) helps stabilize the cell membranes in our bodies, adding resistance to microbial damage. The change in cell membrane integrity can be seen within a few weeks of switching dietary fats.
- Butter is rich in short and medium chain fatty acid chains that have strong anti-tumor effects.
- Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid which gives excellent protection against cancer.
- Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
- Butter contains many anti-oxidants that protect the arteries from free radical damage: Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, selenium, and even cholesterol, nature’s bandage for inflamed arteries.
- Butter is a good source of absorbable iodine which protects the thyroid.
- Butter has anti-cariogenic effects, which protect against tooth decay.
- Butter is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.
- Butter contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida
- Saturated fats in butter have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
- Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
- Short and medium chain fatty acids protect against pathogens and have strong anti-fungal effects
- Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium for healthy bones.
- Butterfat contains glycospingolipids, a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastro-intestinal infection, especially in the very young and the elderly
- Raw butter is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.
- Anti-stiffness factor in raw butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
- Is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals
- May promote fertility in women.
- Is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue.
- Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children’s brain and nervous system development.
- Butter contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
I recommend only using organic butter since toxins are easily stored in fat. Susun Weed has said that the organic value of one pound of butter is the equivalent of five years of organic carrots. Grass fed milk is the best source of good butterfat. Grass fed butter and probiotic butter can be found at the Park Slope Food Coop, as well as health food stores and specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods. However you can make your own fermented butter from starter obtained from BodyEcology.com by adding it to organic cream, leaving overnight in a warm place and whipping it into butter in the morning.
Raw butter prevents the body from developing arthritic stiffness. The Wulzen or “anti-stiffness” factor is a nutrient unique to butter, but is destroyed by pasteurization. In New York you can only purchase raw milk products from farm stores like the Hawthorn Valley Farm store. The farmers are not permitted to transport the milk. However cow shares or goat shares may be available where you can obtain raw milk.
- Wikipedia. Butter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter#Worldwide
- Nutrition Week Mar 22, 1991 21:12:2-3
- Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. Why Butter is Better. http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/butter.html
- Ingrid Naiman, Immunity. http://www.moldmisery.com/medical_mycology/immunity.html
- Donna Gates. http://www.bodyecology.com/07/07/05/benefits_of_real_butter.php
- Levels of linoleic acid in adipose tissues reflect the amount of linoleic acid in the diet. Valero, et al Annals of Nutritional Metabolism, Nov/Dec 1990 34:6:323-327; Felton, CV et al, Lancet 1994 344:1195-96
- Fertility Awareness, Food, and Night-lighting http://www.westonaprice.org/women/fertility.html and High Fat Dairy May Boost Fertility