Butter was a staple dietary ingredient since ages. It was being used by many cultures. But all who used butter in those times remained healthy and fit. But why butter is being pushed aside as a saturated fat in recent past? A study showed that between 1920 and 1960, use of butter by Americans reduced from 18 pounds per person per year to 4 pounds, but still the incidences of heart diseases have increased by leaps and bounds. How will they conclude that butter is the cause for heart diseases?
After 1960 many companies started manufacturing bread spreads using margarine, mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats which are considered as heart healthy. But these spreads contained “trans fats” (Trans fats are unsaturated fats which are uncommon in nature but can be created artificially and detrimental to heart health). These spreads, fast foods and sedentary lifestyles increased the incidences of heart diseases.
Butter is known as “Navaneeta” in ayurveda. Its health benefits are enumerated in “Ashtanga hridaya” the classic ayurvedic book written by Acharya Vaghbhata. Acharya Vaghbhata says “Fresh butter is vrishya (aphrodisiac), acts as body coolant and enhances complexion of skin. It is good for eyes, improves digestion and helps in diseases caused by vata, pitta and rakta (blood). Consumption of butter improves health conditions like hemorrhoids, facial paralysis and chronic cough”. Ayurveda acharyas recommend butter in Vajikarana Therapy.
Health benefits of butter
- Butter contains 113% of Vitamin A and butter is easily absorbable source of vitamin A.
- Butter does not contain trans fats.
- Genuine use of butter gives a feeling of satiety and reduces food cravings.
- Its short and medium chain fatty acids are burned quickly in body to liberate energy.
- Butter is a good source of dietary cholesterol which is rich in antioxidants and protects heart. The antioxidants prevent the damage caused by free radicals.
- The short and medium chain fatty acids of butter boost immunity and have anti tumor property.
- Butter is a good source of vitamin K2 which prevents tooth decay and builds strong bones.
- According ayurveda butter increases sperm count and is best natural remedy for erectile dysfunction in men.
How much butter is better?
How much butter should I eat a day ? Is the question everyone rise. Saturated fats should be limited to 7% of total daily calorie intake. According to this we can consume 20 gms or 3 tea spoons of butter per day. Thumb rule is never use ghee or vanaspathi or any other saturated fats when you consume butter. Exercise well to help body to utilize butter to full extent. Limit your calorie intake by shunning the use of refined flours, sugars and oily foods. Fresh butter prepared at home gets a thumbs up. Immense benefits can be reaped by using raw butter made from pastured cows. Butter is always better because it is a natural saturated fat.