Every holiday “baking” season makes me think about an article I wrote a few years ago about the benefits of butter. It’s amazing how we once “bought into” the margarine scam, but the AMA was heavily involved in this “money-maker”, and doctors touted the health benefits of margarine at the same time they peddled new cholesterol meds.
Today, we’re figuring out that most processed foods are created for profit and not for long-term health and nutrition. Margarine was NEVER healthier than natural, organic butter. It’s nuts to think that we ever thought it was.
Pass The Butter
Butter is a cooking treasure as old as King Tut’s tomb, and as old as my grandparents. Grand-mommy and grand-daddy ate butter every day – lots of butter – and they lived to be over 100 years old.
Butter didn’t harm them, and it shouldn’t harm you.
Butter got a bad rap in the United States after WWI when margarine came out of the commissaries and onto the grocery shelves. Many products are born from war, and crafty marketing pushed good-ole-natural-butter off American tabletops.
It wasn’t because butter was unhealthy, either; it was because margarine had many marketing advantages over butter. Margarine could sit on the grocery shelves for months without spoiling, and margarine brought the manufacturers more profit.
Margarine was discovered in 1869 in response to Napoleon III’s request for a wholesome butter alternative. His primary aim was to supply food to the French army that would not spoil. This new discovery worked, and after WWI, manufacturers introduced this “new margarine wonder” to the American public, using the prevention of heart disease as its main endorsement.
The Cholesterol Scare – Was It All Manmade?
Heart disease was rare in America at the turn of the century – before margarine and the new cholesterol medications. Between 1920 and 1960, heart disease became America’s number one killer, and at the same time butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to merely four.
Today, heart disease is still a major health threat, so I think it’s safe to conclude that butter is not the cause. Research shows that trans fats found in margarine cause heart disease!
The Health Benefits Of Butter
In comparison to margarine, butter contains many nutrients that protect human beings from heart disease.
Vitamin A found in butter is a critical nutrient for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, which both play a role in heart and cardiovascular health. Butter is America’s best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A. Vitamins A and E in butter play a strong anti-oxidant role in human health.
Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat components. Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage that weakens the arteries.
Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant, containing more selenium per gram than herring or wheat germ.
Your immune system loves butter. Hydrogenated fats found in polyunsaturated oils, margarines, and many butter substitutes have a toxic effect on the immune system.
So this holiday season, dump the margarine and pass the butter.