For many years, thanks in part to the low-fat diet trend, butter was touted as being bad for your health. Many were advised against eating butter due to the preconceived notion that it increased a person’s risk for heart disease.
But, as it turns out, the saturated fat found in butter may not be as harmful as previously perceived.
Numerous scientific studies have come out in support of this creamy ingredient. Articles published in scientific journals like Harvard Health and the Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE) all point to evidence to the fact that butter, it seems, may actually be good for you.
While butter might now be a staple in many diets, quality determines its health benefits. Like meat or produce, there are superfoods in butter form, specifically, grass-fed butter.
What is grass-fed butter?
Grass-fed butter is the Rolls-Royce of butter. When compared to your average, run-of-the-mill stick of butter, organic, grass-fed butter is a superfood. Grass-fed butter is produced when dairy cows consume a diet rich on nutritious green grass.
Grass is the preferred diet of dairy cows. Not only is it the best food source for them, as it contains phytonutrients, but it also allows them to produce grass-fed dairy, which becomes grass-fed butter.
The average stick of butter you find at your local grocery store is created by dairy cows who feed on a less-than-optimal diet of commercial feed. While this diet has healthy ingredients (corn and grains), it is also filled with things like miscellaneous high starches, hormones, and antibiotics.
But that’s not the only thing differentiating the two.
Grass-fed butter has a deep, rich yellow hue to it. It also has greater flavor and a rich texture. Regular or grain-fed butter has a waxy texture and looks pale yellow. The color of the butter is determined by the diet of the dairy cow.
The dark, rich color of grass-fed butter also denotes more nutritional value than that of grain-fed butter.
The health benefits of grass-fed butter
Speaking of nutritional value, grass-fed butter has a significant advantage over its grain-fed counterpart. For those who follow a specific diet, such as the ketogenic diet, grass-fed butter provides nearly all of your necessary dietary fats.
To explore the health benefits of grass-fed butter further, we look at five ways grass-fed butter contributes to a healthier and better you.
It is a good source of dietary fats
Grass-fed butter is mainly composed of dietary fats. This means it contains zero carbs, sugars, and protein. And if you’re concerned about consuming too many saturated fats, there are studies showing that the intake of saturated fats reduces the risk of myocardial infarction.
Grass-fed butter is a healthy source of saturated fats. Its fatty acid composition contains several complex fatty acids that make it nutrient-dense. In fact, research shows that grass-fed butter has 400 different fatty acids.
This extensive fatty acid profile includes:
Essential amino acids
- Vitamins (A, B6, B12, D, E)
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
The list above, while not exhaustive, highlights certain fatty acids that are beneficial to your overall well-being.
CLA, for example, is a magic ingredient found in grass-fed butter and is known to boost physical performance. Micronutrients such as iron and zinc are essential for the improvement of the immune system.
It supports good heart health
When joined with a low-carb diet (think ketogenic), grass-fed butter can support better heart health. That’s because natural sources of fatty acids, like grass-fed butter, are rich in antioxidants and good cholesterol.
While it was previously thought that saturated fats contribute to clogged arteries, research now indicates that unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the actual culprits when it comes to increased risks of strokes and heart attacks.
It reduces the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in many westernized countries. In the United States, heart disease is the cause of 1 in every 4 deaths annually. To further compound the issue, about 735,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack every year.
Heart disease prevention requires certain lifestyle changes. Nutrition is an important strategy in preventing heart disease.
There is a direct correlation between reducing the risk of heart disease and the consumption of grass-fed products.
Alongside the other aforementioned vitamins, grass-fed butter is also densely packed with Vitamin K, specifically, Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is responsible for optimizing your body’s calcium metabolism.
What this means in relation to heart disease is that it dramatically reduces the risks of calcium plaque deposits leaching into the arteries. Calcium deposits in the arteries can narrow the artery or plaque deposits could burst, resulting in a blood clot.
Vitamin K2’s protective nature not only reduces the risk of heart disease, but it’s also an important nutrient in the battle against osteoporosis.
It fights inflammation
While inflammation is a biological response to harmful stimuli against the body, excessive inflammation can become problematic. Acute or chronic inflammation is a problem that plagues many.
What’s more, chronic inflammation is a signal of other diseases and disorders such as heart disease, stroke, and lupus.
A diet that’s rich in anti-inflammatory properties can resist acute or chronic inflammation. Grass-fed butter boasts high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and a short-chain saturated fatty acid called butyrate or butyric acid.
Omega-3s may be well known in the health community for their anti-inflammatory function, but few know about the health benefits of butyrate. Butyrate is a health-promoting acid that’s been scientifically proven to decrease inflammation.
Increasing your intake of saturated fats, like grass-fed butter, directly improves your body’s ability to combat acute and chronic inflammation.
It supports improved eye health
Lastly, the high omega-3 fatty acid content in grass-fed butter not only fights inflammation, but also contributes to improved eye health. But that’s not the only ingredient in grass-fed butter that provides nutritional value for the eyes.
In addition to fatty acids, grass-fed butter contains significant levels of beta-carotene and lutein. The levels of beta-carotene and lutein found in butter depends on how grass-rich a dairy cow’s diet is. The more grazed grass a dairy cow eats, the more fat-soluble vitamins are present.
And as our body cannot produce carotenoids like beta-carotene, as this is exclusively found in animal products, grass-fed butter is a great source for your your daily intake of beta-carotene.
One way to tell how densely packed butter with beta-carotene and lutein is, is through its color. A butter that’s a rich, golden yellow, like grass-fed butter, contains more nutrients that support eye health than your standard, grain-fed butter, which is pale yellow in comparison.
Everything’s better with butter
For so long, the consumption of butter was heavily discouraged. The prevalent myth that saturated fat was the main cause of heart disease forced many to forgo butter as part of their healthy diet.
Fortunately, this has since been debunked and many are now enjoying the health benefits of butter.
When enjoyed as part of a healthy diet, grass-fed butter can significantly boost your health. The fatty acids and powerful nutrients found in these edible gold bars make butter a delicious addition to any diet.
And of course, grass-fed butter has an undeniable, unique flavor.
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.”
Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison.
Helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.