Breathe Deeply: Eat Butter


Grass fed butter full of nutrients

Misunderstood and maligned for the last few decades, butter is probably one of the healthiest fats you can eat. As studied and documented by Dr. Weston Price, many traditional cultures held butter up to be a sacred food. “Isolated Swiss villagers placed a bowl of butter on their church altars, set a wick in it, and let it burn throughout the year as a sign of divinity in the butter.” Butter made from the milk of properly raised grass fed cows is indeed sacred.

It is full of fat soluble vitamins A, D and E as well as the mineral activator K2 (previously termed by Dr. Price as Activator X). In fact, true vitamin A is more easily absorbed and utilized from butter than from other sources. Fortunately, these fat-soluble vitamins are relatively stable and survive pasteurization so that even conventional butter is still full of these nutrients.

Traditional cultures put butter on their vegetables because they knew that the vitamins and minerals in vegetables need the activators in fat to be absorbed properly by the human body. I’ll repeat that. Vitamins and minerals need fat in order to be absorbed properly.

Understanding that concept is critical to good health. As a result of the low fat craze of recent years, people are actually in much worse health. In the last three decades in which we have disparaged saturated fats, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are on the rise — in fact, the first three are in epidemic proportions.

Many of the studies indicating that saturated fats correlates to heart disease are flawed. The researchers did not separately test trans-fats and saturated fats. They lumped them together. We now know for sure that trans fats from partially hydrogenated rancid oils causes oxidation, free radicals and damage to organ tissues, like the arteries and heart.

Another flaw in these conclusions is that when they tested people eating beef, they used conventional grain fed beef. We now know that the beef from grass fed cows has less fat and more importantly, the fat has a lot of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that is actually really healthy for us to eat. Conjugated linoleic acid is also found in butter from grass fed cows.

Butter contains nutrients that protect us against heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Vitamins A, D, and E are  anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries and affects the heart. Butter is also a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant.

Beyond being potent antioxidants, the nutrients in butter protect many aspects of our health. Vitamins A and D aid in the mineral absorption necessary for healthy bones and teeth.

Butter also has the  Wulzen or “anti-stiffness” factor, a nutrient unique to butter. The Dutch researcher Rosalind Wulzen reported that it protects against calcification of the joints, or degenerative arthritis, as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland. Sadly, this particular substance is destroyed during pasteurization. It is only available in raw butter or cream.

Butter is very important for lung development and function. The alveoli are the tiny sacs that end the small airways and they are the structures responsible for gas exchange: carbon dioxide for oxygen. A substance called surfactant lines the alveoli. Lung surfactant is a special phospholipid with 100 percent saturated fatty acids.  If there are a lot of partially hydrogenated oils in the diet, the trans fatty acids are utilized in the phospholipids in place of saturated fatty acids and the lungs may not work as effectively. Some research has suggested that trans fatty acids are causing asthma in children. This is another example of how trans fats in place of good saturated fats can diminish health.

There are many other nutrients in butter such as: small amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids; lecithin, which aids in the metabolism of cholesterol and other fats; cholesterol, the building block of all hormones and a “repair” substance; glycosphingolipids which protect against gastrointestinal infections and diarrhea; and trace minerals which are incorporated into the fat membrane of butterfat.

The USDA tells us to eat 5 -7 servings of vegetables a day. But they fail to mention the butter. If your children do not eat their vegetables, put more butter on them. Eat butter. It’s good for you.


The Skinny on Fats

Why Butter is Better

This post is linked to: Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Foodie Friday, Seasonal Saturday, My Meatless Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Seasonal Sunday, Monday Mania, Midnight Maniac Monday, Mangia Monday, Meatless Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Tuesday at the Table, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Grain -free Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday. Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy2DayWednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Frugal Follies, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter

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  • Lori @ Laurel of Leaves

    “Vitamins and minerals need fat in order to be absorbed properly.”

    SUCH an important statement for our health! Right on!

  • Jill

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks for your comments!

  • Betsy

    I started sauteing my vegetables in butter a few months ago and I can’t believe how much better they taste. Just one more bonus for butter!

  • Jill

    Hi Betsy,
    Thanks for your comments. I heard a very good speaker a while ago talking about butter and she said when her kids were young and didn’t want to eat vegetables, she would say in response to “Mommy I don’t want to eat these” …

    “what, you didn’t get enough butter on them?” And promptly put more butter on them and they got eaten.

  • barbara goodman

    I like butter but was concerned about it for the usual reasons. Now I will enjoy it. Thanks

  • Jill

    HI Barbara,
    Yes enjoy your butter!

  • Cheryl

    where do YOU buy grassfed butter?

  • France @beyondthepeel

    Great post. I tweeted this so that this information gets a little extra reach. You stated it so well in an easy to understand way.
    Here from Monday Mania.

  • Jill

    Hi Cheryl,
    If you do not have access to a local farmer, the next best choice is Kelly Gold Pure Irish Butter. I actually get hits at Trader Joe’s, but many conventional grocery stores have it.

  • Jill

    Hi France,
    Thanks so much for the tweet! I love your latest post!

  • Danielle @ Analytical Mom

    What a great post! It’s good to hear that many of the nutrients in butter survive pasteurization, since raw butter is difficult to find, and very cost-prohibitive in my area. I will look for the Kerry Gold butter you mentioned in my local grocery store – I have heard of it, but didn’t realize it is from pastured cows. If I am unable to find it, is (unpastured) organic butter still better than no butter at all?

  • Jill

    Hi Danielle,
    ANY butter is better than no butter at all. However, there are many brands of butter. I would say organic is next best and/or cultured butter. But even grocery store butter is OK as long as it is real.

  • Shu Han

    i think it’s kerrygold (: great post. i LOVE butter. i either get kerrygold or farmhouse butter form the farmers’ market. sooo good. i can finish 2 blocks in a week, by myself. yum.

  • Betty

    We ditched all of those crazy spreads years ago and opted for simple, real butter. I decided that since I could make butter in my own kitchen if I chose to that it was a lot better than anything synthesized! I am so glad to read that I was right!! Thanks for the great post.

  • Jill

    Hi Betty,
    Thanks for our comments. It’s so cool that you have a farm in a city!

  • Reading (and chickens)

    Here, here! I love butter.

  • Jill

    Hi Reading,
    Your blog is so fun to read! Thanks for the comments!

  • Miz Helen

    Hi Jill,
    I remember Churning butter at my Grandmothers farm when I was a child. I have that Churn in my kitchen, and each of my children yes even the boys have made butter in that Churn. There is nothing like it. I always use butter and always did, even when it was not so popular. Your post is great and very informative. Thanks sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!

  • Papacheong


  • Jill

    Hi Miz Helen,
    Thanks for sharing that with us!

  • Where’s The Fat? — Real Food Forager

    [...] the USDA Nutrient Database. If you click the link, you will see the USDA nutrient breakdown for butter which shows plenty of nutrition: Vitamins A,D,E, K, choline, minerals, etc. Solid (or saturated, [...]

  • Jane

    Great read, Jill! Maybe Paula Deen was right after all! She has a generous amount of butter in a lot of her recipes. :)

    Thanks for sharing on Melt in Your Mouth Monday!

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  • christy larsen

    fabulous article…my husband and i were just talking the merits of butter this afternoon!

  • Jill

    Hi Cristy,
    Thanks so much! Great topic of conversation!

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