Is It Time to Rethink Butter? Grass-fed versus Organic

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For years, butter was vilified by the nutritional community, spurring sales of alternatives like margarine and other spreads. But the tide has been turning over the past few years, even culminating in a June 2014 Time magazine cover story called Eat Butter. Well, if you’ve started to reintroduce butter into your family’s diet (a far better choice than margarine or cooking spray, it turns out), just remember that all butters are not equal.

The Argument for Grass-fed Butter

When possible, the best option for butter is grass-fed, even over just plain organic butter. To understand why, just think about where cream comes from. A philosophy that’s become popular in certain nutrition circles is not that you are what you eat, but rather you are what you eat eats. When better is made, it comes from cows, right? Conventional farmed cows eat grains (which can be treated with pesticides or are often genetically modified, and they can often be treated with hormones). But pastured cows are allowed to roam free, which is not only more humane and sustainable, but they’re raised on a more natural diet of grass. Healthier cows equal healthier cream.

knifeOnce that cream is churned into butter, some surprising differences start to emerge.

  1. Grass-fed butter is packed with antioxidants (who knew?).
  2. It’s rich in vitamin K2, which helps the body use calcium more efficiently.
  3. It’s also rich in conjugated lineoleic acid (CLA), a proven anti-cancer agent.
  4. Grass-fed butter has a more balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  5. Saturated fat is not enemy No. 1 like it’s been made out to be.

 

So when you have the option at the supermarket, take a closer look at labels. When possible, try to choose grass-fed—that goes not only for butter (Kerrygold is a popular brand), but also for other products like milk and beef. When you make the switch, you’ll notice that grass-fed butter is a deeper yellow and tastes a bit richer and creamier, which is a real win-win in our book.

Have you made the switch to grass-fed? Tell us in the comments below!

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