There is nothing like the taste of melted butter on lobster or likewise on sweet corn and, for that matter, on broccoli or cauliflower or toasted raisin bread or an English Muffin. In fact, there not many foods whose taste can’t be improved by a slab of warm butter!
On top of its tastiness, butter is packed with nutritional value, containing important minerals like selenium, iodine, zinc, as well as Vitamin K, Vitamin A, D and Vitamin E. It’s also a source of a couple special hard-to-find fats. One called CLA, which can be helpful for weight loss and building muscle, and another called butyric acid (that’s where the name butter comes from) that is important for the digestive tract and mental health. Butyric acid is also an appetite suppressant, so a few slabs of butter on your broccoli or cauliflower is not just nutritionally valuable and delicious, it’s also incredibly satisfying.
Butter from grass fed cattle is also a source of a phytonutrient called “The Wulzen Anti-Stiffness Factor”, which is a fatty, plant steroid-like substance that is protective against arthritis, although since the Wulzen factor is destroyed by heat, you have to make sure you’re not using pasteurized butter. I remember my grandmother using butter to massage her arthritic feet and legs before she went to bed and first thing in the morning. Even though she probably didn’t know about the Wulzen anti-stiffness factor, she wouldn’t go a day without her butter foot massage.
The Wulzen anti-stiffness factor is technically a phytosterols called stigmasterol, a plant substance that’s similar to human steroids. Drug companies use stigmasterol as a precursor to making progesterone and cortisone. It’s possible that the phytonutrient may help support our own natural steroids. Stigmasterol is a member of the same family as human steroids and that’s why it’s so easy to transform into valuable human steroid hormones. As a bonus, stigmasterol also helps lower blood cholesterol and may have anti-cancer properties too! You can also get stigmasterol in nuts, dark chocolate, seeds and legumes. There’s probably a bit in avocados too.
Butter is also a good source of carotenoids, particularly beta carotene. That’s what gives it its characteristic yellow color. Butter makers are sure proud of that yellow color. When margarine was first invented, the butter producers made the margarine producers dye their product orange, so no one would ever think that margarine was butter.
People have been enjoying butter for a long time. It’s one of the oldest processed foods human beings have eaten, historical references go back nearly 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians used it to heal the eyes. Even though they didn’t know about vitamin A, they knew it worked. They also used butter to treat burns. They also used it for skin rashes and as a skin beautifier too, probably leveraging the Vitamin A and perhaps the Vitamin D content of butter. The Ancient Celts valued butter so much, when they were wealthy enough, they would be buried with barrels of it.
Here’s another little trick for you: Always mix salt with your butter. Butter is a fat and all fats are basically storage forms of electrical energy, electrons specifically. Well it turns out if you mix some Celtic or Himalayan salt and oil together, the sodium, chloride and other mineral ions make great conductors of electrical energy. In combination they can really activate the taste buds, making foods super delicious! If you heat the salt butter compound a little, the flavors will be amped up even more! And of course in addition to all the wonderful nutrients in the butter, you’ll be getting the benefit of the salt, which itself is a nutritional powerhouse packed with power of potassium, sodium, magnesium, as well as 79 other essential minerals.
When you go to your local grocery store, you’ll see two different types of butter. Sweet cream butter is made from pasteurized milk or cream (or sometimes both). While cultured butter is made from fermented cream, basically sour cream. Personally I like cultured butter, it’s tangier and it’s got some probiotic value too, as long as it’s not pasteurized. For do-it-yourselfers, it’s pretty easy to make your own cultured butter just by whipping up sour cream. Or you can use regular cream, with some yogurt (make sure it contains live bacterial cultures). Whip it up for a few minutes until the cream achieves a good buttery consistency, although you may have to rinse out any remaining liquid. Salt to taste, add some spices or herbs, and you’ll have yourself some tasty homemade probiotic rich butter!
Did you know?
The American dairy industry cranks out over 852,000 tons of butter a year. While that may sound like a lot, it pales when compared to India, the world largest butter producer, which produced nearly 4.8 million tons of the stuff in 2013!
The USDA maintains quality control over butter quality standards and classifies the product into 3 grades:
U.S. Grade AA Butter:
• Sweet flavor, with a fine highly pleasing aroma;
• made from high-quality fresh sweet cream;
• smooth, creamy texture, readily spreadable;
• if salted, salt must be completely dissolved and blended.
U.S. Grade A Butter:
• pleasing but stronger flavor than AA grade;
• made from fresh sweet cream;
• coarser texture than AA grade;
U.S. Grade B Butter:
• possesses “fairly pleasing”, malty or musty butter flavor
• is often made from sour cream
• usually used for cooking only.