One stick of butter in 24 hours
I ate a quarter pound of butter today. Yep, that is one whole stick. If you want to know how that is possible, let me explain:
2 tbs. mixed into half a batch of Paleo Cornbread Muffins
2 tbs. slathered on top of said muffins
2 tbs. stirred into warm butternut squash pureé
2 tbs. tossed with steamed carrots, salt, and chopped fresh thyme
You may be holding back a gag reflex after reading that. Perhaps you are still staring at your computer screen mute shock. In either case, you are probably wondering WHY I committed this senseless act of nutritional suicide.
I eat butter because I am on a mission to heal my body. And, believe it or not, butter is a healing superfood. Here’s why:
1. It’s the highest source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
Yep, butter is the highest dietary source of this powerhouse fatty acid. Not surprisingly, CLA concentration varies on the animal’s environment. CLA concentration is 4 times higher in summer milk than winter milk, due to pasture grazing (Paroti, 1997).
What is so great about CLA? It inhibits cancer, according to one report in the Journal of Nutrition:
“In a number of studies, conjugated linoleic acid, at near-physiological concentrations, inhibited mammary tumorigenesis independently of the amount and type of fat in the diet. “
Additionally, this fatty acid has been shown to inhibit the growth of skin, colon, breast and lung cancer cells. Multiples studies reveal that CLA reduces the size of tumors in lab rats.
These studies also show why butter is so important for children to eat! CLA fed to rats before the peripubertal period prevented the growth of tumors, but when the rats weren’t fed CLA until maturity, they had to consume the fatty acid for the rest of their life to prevent tumor growth (Paroti, 1997).
2. Beautiful Butyric Acid
Butter contains 4% butyric acid, an anti-carcinogenic short-chain fatty acid. A couple of studies have explored butyric acids effect on tumors and found that it inhibits the growth of mammary tumors. Butyric acid is also a biological response modifier, a substance that arouses the body’s response to infection (Pouillart, 1998)
3. It does NOT make you fat
You can’t blame the butter when Paula’s recipes make your jeans a little tighter (that
would be the Crisco, white flour and sugar). Butter is a rich source of short and medium chain fatty acids, and these molecules “are not deposited to any extent in the adipose tissue” (Enig, 2000).
4. It has the X Factor! (Activator X, to be exact)
Weston A Price, an early 20th century dentist who studied the effect of diet on tooth decay, discovered the astounding therapeutic use of butter for treating illness. He credited its health-giving properties primarily to an activating substance. “For want of an accepted identification,” he wrote, “I have referred [to it] as Activator X” (Price, 1939). Now, we have discovered Activator X is vitamin K2 (source).
In his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Weston Price recorded his investigation of this vitamin. He found that butter high in the activator, combined with “a favorable selection of natural foods” successfully treated tooth decay. Interestingly, the concentration of the Activator X in butter varied greatly depending on the cow’s food with a prominent increase when the cows were pasture grazing (Price, 1939).
Scientists continue to explore the importance of K2 in diet. A recent study published by an European nutrition journal showed that an increased consumption of K2 may reduce the risk of prostrate cancer by 35 percent (Kresser, 2008).
5. Packed with Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Butter, a potent source of vitamins A, D, and E, is the perfect carrier for these vitamins because it provides the fat necessary for their absorption. As a matter of fact, it offers these vitamins to your body in the most assimilable form (source).
Take vitamin A, for example. All vitamin A must be converted by the body to create a useable form of vitamin. In animal sources, vitamin A is a retinol and requires little work by the body to make this conversion. On the other hand, the body is very inefficient at converting cartenoids from plant sources (like beta-carotene in orange veggies) into useable vitamin A. Read more about fat-soluble vitamins in Jenny’s excellent article here.
What about heart disease and cholesterol?
In the 1950′s, Ansel Keys formulated the diet-heart hypothesis which states that a diet high in saturated fat increased the risk of heart disease. His hypothesis and research skills, however, were a complete FAIL.
The diet-heart hypothesis has been proven false over and over. I am not going to list all the studies here, because books have been written on the subject. Put Your Heart in Your Mouth (Natasha Campbell-McBride, Cambridge: Medinform Publishing, 2007) and Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon, Washington DC: NewTrends Publishing, 1999) are great books that list numerous studies to prove the diet-heart hypothesis wrong.
Butter is a Superfood!
Life presents us with wonderful serendipities… like making this delicious food truly nourishing! So what are you waiting for? Eat well and heal!™
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