Butter has had some real ups and downs in the past few decades. Once a staple in the home, it went out of favor during World War II when its synthetic cousin, margarine, became popular. It suffered another setback during the low-fat craze of the eighties and nineties, when margarine once again become predominant. Fortunately, it is now making a comeback as people realize that it truly is much better for you than the alternative. However, in order to make sure that you are getting the healthiest butter, there are some things that you need to look for on the labels. These are outlined below.
This is probably the most important thing to look for in your butter, as the organic label ensures that what you are spreading on your toast does not contain the antibiotics, pesticides, growth hormones or GMO’s that truly can ruin your health. Growth hormones are a particular problem, as the rbGH hormone given to conventionally raised cows is a suspected carcinogen and will accumulate in animal fat.
Look for Grass-fed Butter
Cows that have been grain-fed are going to produce less nutritious butter than cows fed naturally on grass. The grass-fed butter has a higher concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health, and of CLA, a natural compound which is believed to help reduce your risk of cancer. Grass-fed better is also healthier because it is higher in Vitamins A and E as well as the anti-oxidant beta-carotene.
Ghee is clarified butter, which means that all the milk solids, proteins and lactose has been removed. It is great for people with lactose intolerance and its nutrients are highly concentrated, making it great for boosting your immunity. Ghee comes in organic and grass-fed varieties, making it extra-healthy for you.
Avoid Butter “Mixes”
Although when you read a label that says the product is butter “with olive oil”, you should beware: nine times out of ten, this butter will also be mixed with other GMO oils like corn, soybean or canola oil, which are definitely not good for you! If you like the idea of a mix, however, you can purchase organic grass-fed butter and mix it with olive oil at home yourself – there are many recipes on the web to show you how to do this.
Healthy Vegan Alternatives to Butter
If you are just not into butter at all because you do not eat any animal products, there are healthy vegan substitutes for this. These include pure coconut oil, olive oil, red palm oil or hemp oil instead. All of these sources of healthy fat are completely plant-based and come with significant health benefits.
In conclusion, butter really is better for your health than margarine,if you know what you are looking for when you make your purchase. The good news is that organic, grass-fed butter or ghee truly can be a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, vitamins and other nutrients that make it a very healthy choice.
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