You’ve probably heard from countless people that you’re not supposed to eat butter as part of your diet. Many people have it ingrained into their brains that eating butter just once is going to make you fat and give you a heart attack on the spot. Some of those claims make sense as butter is mostly comprised of fat that was churned from milk or cream. Still, a lot of people around the world continue to eat butter on a regular basis.
But is butter really that bad for you? We see it used on a wide arrange of foods that include bread, vegetables and meats. Well, today, we’re going to get rid of some of the negative stigma that surrounds butter. That’s because butter actually has some great health benefits that it brings, as long as you’re eating butter in moderation. While that sounds impossible, wait to be surprised. Here is what you’ll find in each serving of butter, and what health benefits you get by including a small amount in your diet.
Nutrition of Butter
Looking at the nutritional value of butter, you might not think that there’s anything there that’s going to help you. In each tablespoon of butter, you’ll find 100 calories, and almost all of those are from fat. You’d hope for a lot of protein if you’re eating that much fat, but that’s not the case here, and there’s also no fiber. So what’s the good news? Well, for starters, there are at least no carbohydrates in butter!
What about the vitamins and minerals you’ll find? Vitamin A is the most abundant, even if there’s only around 10 percent of your daily value. Others that come in at around five percent include vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K and sodium. There’s 30 milligrams of cholesterol in each serving of butter, too. There are some omega-3 fatty acids, but 44 milligrams is not quite as much as one would hope for. Despite these unenthusiastic numbers, there are some benefits. Let’s take a look.
Truth About Heart Health
We’re told that because of the cholesterol and saturated fat content in butter that you’re damaging your heart just by looking at a stick of butter. Saturated fat has gotten a bad reputation in the health world, though, but it seems to be improving. Saturated fat has been studied more in recent years, particularly in butter. What’s been found is that butter (in small amounts) is actually beneficial for your heart.
The main component of this conclusion is that the saturated fat from butter is likely to raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. While it won’t really affect your LDL (bad) levels, it’s still better than nothing. Butter also has a rare nutrient known as vitamin K2 that has been linked with the prevention of heart disease. Nutritionists even suggest that you eat butter instead of margarine, which is something that would have sounded crazy 20 years ago.
Vitamin K2 isn’t just good for helping your heart, it can also prevent several other diseases that even include cancer. Vitamin K2 and other vitamins (as well as carotene) found within butter are all great for helping you to prevent diseases. Carotene is the big one here, as it allows your body to fight off free radicals that attack your cells. Free radicals can cause minor diseases like the cold or flu, but can also lead to chronic diseases.
The nutrients in butter have been linked with a lower risk in many different forms of cancer, especially colon and prostate cancer. Of course, there are other healthier options that are higher in cancer fighting vitamins and minerals, but it’s hard to find vitamin K2 and carotene in some of those foods. While it shouldn’t be an everyday thing, it’s nice to know that butter has your back!
As we age, our bones start to lose density and strength. This can lead to some pretty severe pain in your joints, which is known as arthritis. Interestingly enough, butter has been shown to help strengthen your joints and lower the pain that you could feel from arthritis. Butter and a few other dairy products contain what’s known as the Wulzen Factor, allowing your body to increase joint strength that you won’t get from any other foods.
Even if you don’t have arthritis and just want to build stronger bones so that you don’t develop problems in the future, butter helps with that. While it isn’t packed with minerals, butter contains many important ones that you might not be getting enough of otherwise. This includes zinc and copper, which are building blocks for your bones.
Now you might be wondering, “Just how in the world is butter going to not make me gain weight?” It’s a valid question, but one that can be answered. Some of the saturated fats that you find in butter are actually beneficial for helping you to lose weight instead of gaining it, since they are short to medium chain types of fat. These specific fats have been shown to burn body fat efficiently, even in stubborn areas.
Another fatty acid that helps you avoid weight gain is called butyrate, which you can actually find in a lot of weight control supplements already. Lastly, butter contains CLA, which is short of Conjugated Linoleic Acid. This is one of those fatty acids that helps you to prevent diseases, and is linked to an overall lower body fat percentage. So while butter gets a bad rap from people, it’s not linked to weight gain or obesity at all when taken in healthy amounts.
Lactose intolerant people won’t find any benefit for their digestive systems when eating butter, but those that don’t have the allergy will. The fatty acids in butter that contain glycosphingolipids stimulate your digestive system by helping create more mucus in your intestines. What this means is that you’re less likely to have harmful bacteria causing infections. Combining butter with a high fiber diet will provide a great one-two punch that keeps your digestive system healthy and efficient.
Summing it Up
Reading some of those benefits that you get from butter might have been a bit surprising to most people. You probably know more about the negatives of butter already, but it’s worth a refresher to see what’s really negative. Of course, butter isn’t lactose intolerant friendly, as many are allergic. Butter can also make your skin breakout into acne if you’re eating too much because of a hormone called IGF-1. Not everyone experiences this problem, however.
Eating too much butter is also going to bring a lot of calories per ounce, more than a lot of different foods. Eating more butter than what’s suggested can also raise your cholesterol due to the saturated fat numbers. If you can’t get enough butter, you’re better off eating a replacement like margarine. Butter is going to be great for you as long as you eat a healthy amount and don’t overdo it. Moderation is always key, especially when it comes to health benefits.