Natural fats are found in a vast majority of the things we eat, although even they have developed a bad reputation over the years. This encourages people to cut fats out of their diets as much as possible. However, they are wrong to do so!
Not all fats are bad, in fact, many can be extremely beneficial to our health.
‘Good Fats’ and Their Health Benefits
‘Good fats’ can be beneficial to both our bodies and our brain’s health. Being essential for storing ‘energy in the body, keep[ing] our skin soft, insulat[ing] our body and transport[ing] fat soluble vitamins throughout the blood system’(1). They can improve the risk of heart disease and increase levels of good cholesterol. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ‘a higher intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats is associated with reduced risk’ of coronary disease.
Omea-3 is considered a ‘good fat’ and can be found in a vast amount of natural sources.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Diets ‘rich in omega-3 fatty acids is garnering appreciation for supporting cognitive processes in humans’, omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best forms of fat to help with brain evolution. ‘Evidence from observational studies suggests that diets high in omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may protect people from cognitive decline and dementia’. (3)
With positive results between the decline of dementia symptoms and the intake of omega-3 fatty acids in observational trials shows how the two are correlated. However, more long-term studies do need to be conducted on the relationship between the two for more conclusive results.
Omega-3 fatty acid levels are said to be linked to depression as well; it has been related to the defense against post-Partum depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal defective disorder (4) in epidemiological studies. Due to the results of these studies as well as ones conducted on animals encouraged the conclusion that ‘all mental health professionals should at least ensure adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids among patients with MDD‘ (major depressive disorder) (5).
However, the clinical trials they did were inconclusive; larger studies need to be conducted before an official connection between depression and omega-3 can be found.
Great natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds and of course, butter!
Benefits of Butter
Butter is delicious; it’s used in tons of baked and cooked goods but has also developed a bad reputation with nutritionists. Yes, butter is a saturated fat, but it contains a myriad of properties which are great for our health. According to certain research, ‘it’s the overconsumption of carbohydrates, sugar, and sweeteners that are chiefly responsible for the epidemics of obesity and Type 2 diabetes’(7). This is due to people cutting fat out of their diets thinking that’s what they should be doing and replacing it with excess carbohydrates and sugars that their bodies crave.
Butter contains a substance called Butyric Acid, which is a component of milk fat from animals. Butyrate, a form of Butyric acid, is linked to reducing the symptoms of inflammation in the digestive system and used as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.
Butter is also super rich in conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) which have been found to support weight loss.
Vitamins Found in Butter
- Vitamin A:– the most abundant vitamin found in butter. Healthy levels of vitamin A can help reduce the chances of measles, cancers and Age-related macular degeneration(9).
- Vitamin D:– helps absorb calcium in the body for strong bone maintenance (10).
- Vitamin E: -Helps prevent cancer and coronary heart disease as well as eye problems and cognitive decline (11).
- Vitamin B12:– ‘is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis’(12)
- Vitamin K2:– can help with osteoporosis and coronary heart disease (13).
Which Butter Is Best?
Grass- Fed Cow Butter
Information on where you can find grass fed, organic cow butter in North America can be found in the video above!
The type of feed dairy cows has had a huge effect on the butter that is produced. Grass fed butter comes from cows that have fed on, you guessed it; grass! It is ‘higher in many nutrients than butter from cows that are fed processed, grain-based feeds or conserved grass’(15). Some fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants are also higher in grass-fed butter. This means your body will be supplied with many significant health benefits just from using grass fed butter rather than standard processed fed cow butter.
Omega-3 Enriched Butter
This omega-3 enhanced butter binds to cells which help regulate genetic functions. Providing proof that ‘omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions’(16).
CLA Enriched Butter
Many studies have shown the benefits CLA enhanced butter has on animals (17, 18, 19). And a few studies conducted on humans have demonstrated that ‘CLA has been shown to exert various potent physiological functions such as anticarcinogenic, antiobesity, antidiabetic and antihypertensive properties’ (20). However, there are yet to be many specific studies that look at the human benefits of CLA-enriched butter on people’s health. But it is undeniably clear that CLA has a myriad of health benefits we sure could use!
Sage Health Benefits
Sage is a delicious green leaf that you can use dry or fresh. It creates a whole new dimension to the dish being both sweet and salty. It is high is a rosmarinic acid which can be quickly absorbed once inside the body. It reduces inflammatory responses as well as acting as an antioxidant.
The combination of ‘flavanoids, phenolic acids, and oxygen-handling enzymes- give it a unique capacity for stabilizing oxygen-related metabolism and preventing oxygen-based damage to cells,(21)‘ this keeps the cells functioning properly. This study also shows the cognitive effect sage has, as it improves memory.
With both butter and sage being excellent sources of vitamins, antioxidant properties, and memory enhancers, a mixture of the two would be of great benefit to our bodies! Find a delicious recipe for sage butter that you can make and freeze for the future or slather on a piece of bread right there and then!
Sage Butter Recipe
- 1 Pound grass-fed organic butter
- 1 Ounce of fresh sage, finely chopped
- A deep skillet pan
- Wax parchment paper
- Put butter in a deep skillet over a medium heat.
- The butter will begin to foam, don’t worry this is normal and you need it to do this before it turns a nice nutty brown color. You will start to hear a slight hissing noise from the butter. Then white milk solids will form at the bottom of the pan, and a brown butter will appear on top.
- Once the air is filled with a nutty aroma and you see the correct color and white solids, drop in all of the finely chopped sage.
- It will make a loud hissing noise. Immediately remove the skillet from the heat and pour the contents into a deep electric mixing bowl, scraping out every last ounce.
- Put the bowl back into the mixer and put onto a medium pace, whipping the mixture until it is light and fluffy.
- Scoop out the fluffy butter mixture onto sheets of wax parchment paper, spreading it out evenly, about 8 ounces onto each piece of paper. Roll the paper up into cylinders for easy storage.
- Then transfer the cylinders into freezer bags and place in freezer.
- Keep in freezer until you want to use them! Then take them out and let them warm up to room temperature, serve and enjoy!
Enjoy this delicious form of butter for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Here are a few more great butter recipes to give a try!
(1)Healthy Fats.http://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1452.pdf Published: May 8, 2008. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(3)Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/ Published: November 20, 1997. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(4+5)Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional http://www.uppitysciencechick.com/logan_omega_3_mdd_lipids.pdf Published: November 20, 1997. Accessed: November 9, 2004.
(7)Ending the war on fat http://www.mahlanen.com/varasto/Ending%20the%20War%20on%20Fat.pdf Published: June 23, 2014. Accessed: November 9, 2004.
(9)Vitamin A https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/Updated: August 31, 2016. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(10)Vitamin D. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/ Updated: April 15, 2016. Accessed:November 21, 2016.
(11)Vitamin E https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/ Updated: November 3, 2016. Accessed:November 21, 2016.
(12)Vitamin B12 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/ Updated: February 12, 2016. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(13)Vitamin K https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional/#h7 Updated: February 11, 2016. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(15)Butter 101: Nutrition facts and health benefits https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/butter/ Published: N/A Accessed: November 21, 2016
(16) Omega 3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/ Updated: 2016. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(17)Conjugated linoleic acid-enriched butter improved memory and up-regulated phospholipase A2 encoding-genes in rat brain tissue.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25913570 Published: April 26, 2015.Accessed:November 21, 2016.
(18)High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-12-121 Published: August 7, 2013. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(19) Conjugated Linoleic Acid–Enriched Butter Fat Alters Mammary Gland Morphogenesis and Reduces Cancer Risk in Rats http://jn.nutrition.org/content/129/12/2135.full Published:December 1, 1999. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(20) Health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25434907 Published: November 5, 2013. Accessed: November 21, 2016.
(21)Sage http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=76 Updated: Nove,ber 21-27, 2016. Accessed: November 21, 2016.