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One of the best animal-based fats you can eat is butter derived from pastured, grass-fed animals. It’s rich in butyrate, a short-chain saturated fatty acid that a healthy colon also produces from dietary fiber. Grass-fed butter is an amazing health food that aids in supplying the body with nutrient-dense fats while promoting a healthy digestive tract.
Grass-fed butter is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like true vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin E, as well as all of their naturally-occurring cofactors that aid in absorption. These butter “catalysts” or “activators,” as Dr. Weston Price once referred to them, are what our bodies use to effectively absorb vitamins and minerals. Without them, it wouldn’t matter how many nutrients we ingested – very few of them would actually make it to their intended targets.
Butterfat is critical for sexual development and reproduction as its fat-soluble vitamins support healthy endocrine function. It also contains what’s known as the “Wulzen Factor,” or the “anti-stiffness” factor. Only present in raw animal fat, this substance protects humans and animals against calcification of the joints (aka degenerative arthritis). It also protects against hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
Butter further contains what Dr. Price described as “Activator X,” another catalyzing nutrient that helps the body better absorb vitamins and minerals. Activator X is only present in butter derived from animals that graze a heavy diet of natural grasses. It’s not found in conventional butter derived from cows fed soy-based grain feed or cottonseed meal.
Butter contains high levels of a substance known as arachidonic acid (AA), a nutrient that serves as a precursor to prostaglandins. It also supports brain health and cell membrane integrity. Butter also contains a high density of both short- and medium-chain fatty acids (between 12-15%) which are absorbed directly from the small intestine into the liver for quick conversion into energy. These same fatty acids possess antimicrobial, antitumoral, and immune-supportive properties.
Butter is one of only two dietary sources (other than mother’s milk for babies) of an important medium-chain fatty acid known as 12-carbon lauric acid. Butterfat contains high amounts of this highly-protective anti-fungal and anti-tumoral agent, as does coconut oil. (A quick side note here: despite recent news stories that coconut is not healthy because it’s a saturated fat, in my opinion it is the premiere alternative to butter for those who don’t consume animal products. One reason is that it also contains exceptionally high levels of medium-chain triglycerides.)
Other important factors that solidify grass-fed butter’s superfood status include:
» A near-perfect balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids
» High levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a powerful anti-cancer nutrient that promotes healthy muscle tone while inhibiting weight gain (in the form of fat)
» High levels of both lecithin and cholesterol – lecithin acting as a natural facilitator to promote optimal assimilation and metabolization of cholesterol (and other fat constituents)
» Rich in glycophingolipids, a type of fat that is highly protective of the GI tract
» Densely packed with trace minerals like manganese, zinc, chromium, iodine – and especially selenium – all of which are easily absorbed because of butter’s wide array of metabolic cofactors
Here at the Bollinger house, we never go without grass-fed butter and coconut oil (expeller-pressed for cooking and extra-virgin for raw consumption). These are our go-to sources of saturated fat and corresponding vital nutrients, and two of the best superfoods that a human being can eat.