butterExtra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has tremendous health benefits — studies indicate that extra virgin olive oil may promote cardiovascular, bone, digestive, and cellular health.  It’s full of vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, and a number of antioxidant phytochemicals.   These qualities make EVOO difficult to top in terms of a healthy fat source, but if there was any other fatty food that came close, I’d say that butter from grass-fed cows would be it.

Butter isn’t traditionally considered a healthy food.  It’s been given a bad rap because of its high fat content, but don’t let that stop you from missing out on butter’s amazing nutrient content!  Just because a food is high in fat doesn’t mean that it causes people to gain excess fat (refined and engineered foods do that).  While butter from unpastured cows lacks important nutrients (and for that reason should be avoided like all empty calories), butter from pastured cows (grass-fed) contains nutrients that support a healthy cardiovascular system, strong bones, a healthy metabolism, and that reduce inflammation and prevent “leaky gut syndrome.”  Here are a few of the incredible nutrients contained in butter from grass-fed cows and what they do for your body:

  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) — is only found in meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals.  Studies indicate that CLA promotes lean muscle mass and healthy metabolic function.  CLA also has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
  • Vitamin K2 (MK-4) — is different than the more commonly known vitamin K1.  It was recently discovered that vitamin K2 has an important role in preventing calcification in the arteries and, at the same time, promoting strong bones and teeth.  Vitamin K2 accomplishes this by activating osteocalcin to deposit calcium where it belongs.  Butter from grass-fed cows is one of the best known sources of vitamin K2, a vitamin that we don’t produce internally.
  • Vitamin A — is a crucial, fat-soluble antioxidant.  Vitamin A is important for eye function, cellular health, red blood cell production, bone health, and maintaining a robust immune system.
  • Butyric Acid — is found in such high quantities in butter that it borrowed butter’s name. This little known nutrient is one of the body’s preferred sources of energy.  Butyric acid is rapidly digested in the intestines and used by the body as fuel.  It’s known to decrease intestinal permeability, which is good because that means fewer harmful molecules or organisms are absorbed into the bloodstream.   Butyric acid also reduces inflammation and improves metabolic function.
  • Saturated fat — isn’t nearly as bad as most people think it is.  Saturated fat is one of best sources of energy (which is why this is the form the body stores fat in). It’s easily burned by the body’s cells and doesn’t cause an insulin spike.  Saturated fat is also a good source of fat energy because it doesn’t throw off the body’s omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio.  Saturated fat only becomes problematic when it’s consumed from refined foods or meat and dairy products that aren’t from grass-fed animals.

Cows were meant to eat grass on the open pasture.  When they eat nutritious food (it doesn’t get much healthier than grass), they produce nutritious milk.  The cream from nutritious milk makes the healthiest, nutrient-dense butter.  Happy cows = happy people.  EAT real food.

References: Effects of CLA on Fat-MassCLA affects MitochondriaK2 Improves Bone StrengthButyrate Attenuates Inflammation

Originally posted 2013-03-13 22:34:36.

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