When I was a little girl I was given a thin little cookbook called “The Secret Ingredient Cookbook”. It was published by the Australian Dairy Corporation and the introduction was written by a famous Australian culinary figure, Peter Russell–Clarke. I followed the recipes and baked cakes and tarts using butter. I still have this cookbook.
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This is when I fell in love with butter and it still remains one of my favourite foods. I add it to most dishes because not only does it taste so good it’s good for me.
My grandfather worked for a well-known margarine manufacturer. Years before I was given this book I remember him bringing home margarine samples at various stages of manufacturing. Coming from a Mediterranean background our choice of fat was Olive oil but we were mystified by this strange new spread. Why not just eat Butter?
Peter Russell -Clarke’s introduction answers this best.
“Some things are natural aren’t they. For instance you get butterflies in the stomach, not margarine flies. And its not margarine flies that flit from flower to flower…
The ancient Arab cantered his camel over the sand dunes to invent butter. The morning before the great ride he had filled his goatskin saddlebags with milk….
The undulating dunes combined with the undulations of the camel’s anatomy caused the milk to agitate into curds and whey. So 4,000 years BC, camel riding herdsmen were washing down bread and butter with buttermilk. And the world has been buttering itself up ever since. Maybe we don’t canter about on camels anymore, but we do follow the same methods of making butter that were mentioned in the Scriptures.
We simply churn fresh dairy cream, pour off the buttermilk, and then use the results, butter, for spreading or cooking. It’s what I call the secret ingredient.”
The following is my simple take on why butter is healthy.
Its rich in quality fats which include fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, short and medium chain fatty acids, Wulzen factor, healthy cholesterol, lecithin, minerals such as Selenium and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – if it is made from the cream of healthy and pasture fed cows.
1. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body against pollutants and free radicals, hence against cancer and heart disease. It stimulates the secretion of gastric juices needed for protein digestion and plays a vital role in building strong bones and rich blood. Individuals who have been deprived of sufficient vitamin A during gestation tend to have narrow faces and skeletal structure, small palates and crowded, crooked teeth.
2. Vitamin D is commonly associated with calcium and bone metabolism including the prevention of osteoporosis, but it has several other functions of equal importance. Inhibits cancer cell growth. Epidemiological evidence strongly suggests that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the blood markedly decreases the incidence of colon, breast, prostate and other cancers. Plays an important role in preventing heart disease. Low vitamin D levels are associated with type I and type II diabetes mellitus. It is important in cellular immunity and prevention of the autoimmune diseases. It is actively involved in brain metabolism with links to depression. It has been found that a majority of patients presenting with symptoms of fibromyalgia are deficient in vitamin D.
3. While K1 is preferentially used by the liver to activate blood-clotting proteins, K2 is preferentially used by other tissues to deposit calcium in appropriate locations, such as in the bones and teeth, and prevent it from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues.
4. Short and medium chain fatty acids have immune system strengthening properties. They protect against pathogens and have strong anti-fungal and anti tumour effects. These fatty acids are not stored in the adipose tissue, but are used for quick energy and therefore do not gain weight.
5. Wulzen factor or “anti-stiffness” factor is a nutrient unique to butter. Dutch researcher Wulzen found that it protects against calcification of the joints–degenerative arthritis–as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland. Unfortunately this vital substance is destroyed during pasteurization.
6. Healthy cholesterol. Cholesterol in butterfat promotes health of the intestinal wall and protects against cancer of the colon. For more information on the role of cholesterol in health read here.
7. Lecithin is a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
8. Selenium is a strong antioxidant.
9. Conjugated linoleic acid, which gives excellent protection against cancer.