Butter is a nutrient-dense dairy product derived from milk. It is made from milk and contains 20% water and 80% of the residual fat whey, or milk solids. It is mainly composed of lactones, fatty acids, triglycerides, diacetyl and dimethyl sulphide, and methyl ketone; these components are responsible for flavour. Butter mostly comes from cow’s milk. But you can also churn butter from buffalo, yak, sheep and goat’s milk.
Butter is commonly a result of churning milk or cream. In the process, it separates the fat from the buttermilk. The manufactured variety also sometimes contains food colours and salt. When obtained from cows, it is golden yellow, and you can get white-coloured butter from buffalo’s milk. The butter’s smoking point is 1270 C.
Butter usually melts when heated, hardens at less temperature, and butter, when refrigerated, develops into a hard solid. Butter is a natural source of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Soluble fats in butter are easily digestible. It contains saturated and unsaturated fats.
Removing water and milk solids makes clarified butter, commonly known as ghee. Making ghee at home is relatively common in India and other Asian countries. Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter and is better suited for cooking, frying and sauteing certain dishes.
The HealthifyMe Note
Toast and butter is a universally loved breakfast combination. Apart from milk-based butter, several nut-based kinds of butter are available worldwide. One also uses butter to make sandwiches, pancakes and flatbreads for breakfast. A healthy plate should contain carbs, fibre, good fat and protein. Therefore, a simple combination like multi-grain bread toasted with butter and eggs and topped with some tomato and cucumber would provide you with all the nutrients and make you feel satiated.
Nutritional Profile of Butter
The USDA provides the following nutrition evidence for 100gms of unsalted butter:
- Energy: 714 Kcal
- Protein: 0g
- Lipid (fat): 78.57g
- Carbohydrate: 0g
- Vitamin A: 2857 IU
- Total Saturated Fatty acids: 50g
- Fatty acids, trans: 5-10%
- Cholesterol: 214 mg
Nutritional Properties of Butter
Butter is an outstanding source of fat; 100gms of unsalted butter contains about 78.57g of lipids provided by USDA. But it consists of about 80% fat and 20 % water. It consists of 70% saturated fat, 25% monounsaturated fats, 5 to 10% trans fatty acids, and 1 to 2% polyunsaturated fats. However, the content varies from kind of milk.
Trans-fatty acids such as CLA (Conjugated Linoleic acid) defend against the growth of cancer tumours and help reduce fat in the body. Butyric acid is also present in butter, an anti-inflammatory agent. In addition, it benefits in curing Crohn’s disorder and helps reduce symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
It is a no-brainer to avoid certain foods high in saturated fat. However, as per some studies, there are cardiometabolic benefits of dairy products and dairy fats.
Butter is high in essential vitamins and minerals, promoting health. Butter is rich in several fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, D, and K. Vitamin A helps in proper vision to promote healthy skin and minimise hair loss. Vitamin E promotes antioxidative properties to the body and benefits in removing toxic substances in the blood.
Butter is abundant in Vitamin K. Vitamin K2 provides bone and cartilage structure stability. Promote collagen synthesis and tissue elasticity in bones. Vitamin K1 and K2 are mainly present in butter to promote proper blood circulation and help decrease the possibility of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, in butter helps increase haemoglobin percentage in blood and exchange of oxygen. It is mainly present in fish, eggs, meat and milk products.
Butter is not an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates; it may contain whey protein traces. Overall, butter consists of a negligible amount of protein and carbohydrates.
Health Advantages of Butter
Butter consists of long-chain fatty acids that do not increase fat in your body. Also, it is a rich source of iodine. These long-chain fatty acids are assimilated by the small intestine and stored in the liver. It provides instant energy to the body and helps with weight management.
According to a study, thyroid glands need iodine for function; the thyroid hormone helps enhance metabolism, and the thyroid hormone helps uphold proper weight. Another study suggested that butter consists of good fatty acids. Butter from grass-fed cows has fatty acids such as CLA (Conjugated Linoleic acid), which defends against the growth of cancer tumours and helps reduce fat in the body.
Butter Enhances Gastrointestinal Function
According to research, the body needs dietary cholesterol to protect intestinal cells and promote clean and strong digestive functions. Butter consists of a particular type of lipids called glycosphingolipids. It benefits against gastrointestinal tract infections, helps promote soft stools, and prevents symptoms of IBS.
Helps Enhance Immune Function
The antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids found in butter are essential for removing toxic chemicals from our bodies. Also, it acts as an antimicrobial and antifungal agent. Thus, it helps destroy or hinder the growth and activity of harmful microbes. It also acts as a tumour resisting agent and helps prevent the possibility of tumours. Butter, breast milk, and coconut oil are natural nutritional sources of lauric acid.
A study illustrated that the lauric acid present in butter acts as an antiviral agent. It helps to prevent the symptoms of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) such as HIV/AIDS, genital warts and herpes.
Preventing Tooth Decay and Bone Health
Butter is an outstanding source of vitamin K1, and K2 plays a significant role in tooth decay and helps to rapid bone recovery after an injury. According to research, Vitamin K2 and vitamin D provide bone and cartilage structure stability, and it also helps promote collagen synthesis and tissue elasticity in bones.
Enhance Growth and Development
Nutrients in butter are essential for children’s growth and development and necessary for bone marrow development. In addition, the macronutrients present in butter help brain and nervous system functions, according to a study which correlates the effect of cow ghee and butter on the Memory of Wistar Rats.
Butter also helps in the physical growth of the body because it contains a good amount of proteins that strengthen the muscles. It also consists of small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, niacin, and riboflavin, which are beneficial for overall growth.
Helps Prevent Cancer
Butter is rich in trace minerals such as selenium and helps eliminate toxic compounds from our bodies. A study suggested that butter is also rich in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic acid), which defends against the growth of cancer tumours.
Research illustrates that vitamin K2 helps to avoid the possibility of lung, prostate and breast cancer. Furthermore, you can use it to cure rheumatoid arthritis, and it helps with calcification in arteries and veins. Moreover, it promotes vital immune functions.
Good for the Heart and Liver
According to research, butter has choline that helps proper blood circulation and decreases fatty liver diseases. According to the study, butter also helps increase HDL (High-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, it promotes a healthy heart rate, balances the pH of the blood and prevents blood cells (Vitamin E) from antioxidative stress. So It plays a very significant role in decreasing CVD.
Good for Healthy Skin, Nails and Hair
Some of the essential nutrients in butter help promote the proper flow of blood on the scalp, cure sun-burned skin, prevent premature ageing, and enhance glow and shiny skin. It also reduces hair loss and helps skin and nails to regrow.
The HealthifyMe Note
Butter is an excellent source of fatty acids and essential nutrients. Furthermore, it promotes proper weight management, is beneficial for gastrointestinal health, and helps robust immune function, promoting satisfactory growth and development. However, studies suggest the amount of butter one consumes plays a vital role as it is high in fat.
Allergic Interactions of Butter
Animal-based products such as butter, milk, ghee, meat and eggs are considered major food allergens. People who suffer from milk allergies should avoid consuming butter. If you get abdominal discomfort after consuming butter, you may have an intolerance rather than an allergy. After consuming milk products- bloating, gas, nausea, or diarrhoea are all symptoms of lactose intolerance.
If you have severe lactose intolerance, avoid butter or seek medical advice. Butter contains a small amount of lactose. According to research, lactose-intolerant people can consume up to 12 grams of lactose at a time without symptoms.
Suppose you have a milk allergy or have cardiovascular or renal disorders. In that case, you should avoid butter or see your doctor before changing your diet. It also causes rashes, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, hives, itchy eyes and diarrhoea.
Possible Side Effects of Butter
A few side effects of the saturated fat in butter can lead to obesity and severe impacts like heart attack, stroke, and dementia when not treated in time, so avoid more butter consumption.
High Risk of Dementia
If you consume more, foods rich in fat, such as meat, milk and butter, can shrink the brain because of increased visceral fat levels in your body. It can result in improper brain functions and increase the chance of dementia.
One spoon full of butter contains more than 100 kCal, and these are from saturated fats. Overconsumption of butter can increase visceral fat in our bodies. According to research, it may accumulate in the lower abdominal region, leading to severe diseases. Like obesity, atherosclerosis, strokes, blood clots, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Excessive consumption of butter can cause an increase in the grade of bad LDL cholesterol because of the high saturated fats in butter. According to a study, LDL cholesterol may raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and cause artery calcification, blood clots, and strokes. In addition, overeating butter can be harmful to blood circulation.
Risk of Throat Infection
Individuals who are very sensitive to milk allergy must avoid butter consumption. Excessive intake of fatty foods like butter, milk, and meat can lead to throat infection, tongue sores, and cold.
Best Ways to Use Butter
Butter plays a significant role in enhancing flavour in many dishes like sweets, sauce, soups, ice cream, milkshakes, patties, cookies, meats, bread, ice creams, beverages, and vegetable dishes. The following are some of the best ways to use butter:-
Butter for Baking
Butter enhances the baked food’s flavour, structure, and tenderness, such as pancakes, bread, cookies, pies, and muffins. Moreover, butter combined with the right ingredients acts as an emulsifying agent.
Butter for Caramelising
Add up a tablespoon full of butter to a hot pan. Later add vegetables to a small amount of butter, and cook with low heat until they become brown.
Butter for Pan Frying
Add a spoonful of butter into a pan and add small cuts of tofu, fish or meat fry with less butter. It gives brown colour to the food. Fry with medium heat until thoroughly cooked; adjust to suitable heat if required.
Before serving, melt a tablespoon of butter in a hot pan and toss the vegetables and other ingredients like wheat flour and milk. Then, if necessary, adjust the heat. Finally, stir until the veggies are no longer raw or the sauce bubbles. It is advisable to use cold butter to prevent your sauce from spreading.
Storage and Food Safety of Butter
Butter is usually volatile; it absorbs strong odours from other foodstuffs like meat, jack fruit etc. Store in a sealed bottle below 40°C and away from direct sunlight to avoid interaction with the atmosphere. You can keep butter in the fridge for up to 8 weeks and 1 to 2 days at room temperature. To prevent rancidity, store butter in an airtight container.
Daily Limits to Consuming Butter
According to research, butter contains both saturated and unsaturated fats; two tablespoons of butter include 14 grams of saturated fats. Therefore, excess butter consumption may increase the chance of cardiovascular disease, calcification in arteries and strokes. A healthy individual can consume only 10 to 13 grams of butter per day, and too much consumption can increase bad LDL cholesterol.
In The End
Butter is a healthy dairy product. It is a mixture of triglycerides, fatty acids, lactones, diacetyl, dimethyl sulphide, and methyl ketone; these components are responsible for flavour. This is semi-solid at normal room temperature, and you can use it as a spread in sweet and spicy dishes.
It includes few lactose contents; it is not an issue for lactose prejudiced individuals. Excessive consumption can lead to an increase in the level of bad LDL cholesterol. People who suffer from milk allergy and cardiovascular and renal disease should avoid consuming butter. Some essential nutrients ~ choline in butter helps proper blood circulation and fatty liver diseases. It helps prevent stroke, blood clots, neurological disorders and CVDs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of eating butter?
A: Butter consists of significant fatty acids such as lauric (antiviral), CLA (anti-carcinogenic) and Butyric (anti-inflammatory) to help prevent the risk of cardiovascular, tumours and stroke. Butter is rich in vitamin A and helps promote eyesight. Vitamin D helps synthesise collagen for the development of bones.
Q. Is butter healthier than oil?
A: Butter is an excellent source of butyric acid, CLA and lauric acid, helping reduce the risk of certain tumours, strokes, blood clots and CVD. Butter is rich in vitamin A compared to oil and helps promote eyesight. Vitamin D helps synthesise collagen for the development of bones and cartilage.
Q. What is the main nutritional value of butter?
A: According to USDA 100gms of unsalted butter consist of the following nutrients:
- Energy: 714 Kcal
- Lipid (fat): 78.57g
- Vitamin A: 2857 IU
- Total Saturated Fatty acids: 50g
- Fatty acids, trans: 5-10%
- Cholesterol: 214 mg
Q. Does butter clog your arteries?
A: Overconsumption of butter can increase visceral fat in our body. It may accumulate in the lower abdominal region due to high saturated fat. As a result, it can lead to severe diseases like obesity, atherosclerosis (thickening of arteries due to calcification) and blood clots in arteries and veins.
Q. How much butter is OK to eat a day?
A. According to research, butter contains both saturated and unsaturated fats; two tablespoons of butter includes 14 grams of saturated fats. Thus, excess butter consumption may increase the chance of cardiovascular disease, calcification in arteries and strokes. A healthy individual can consume only 10 to 13 grams of butter daily.
Q. Is butter good for your brain?
A: The macronutrients present in butter help brain and nervous system functions, according to a study which correlates the effect of cow Ghee and butter on the Memory of Wistar Rats. Butterfat consists of essential fatty acids Such as Arachidonic acid that help grow and develop the brain and improve the nervous system.
Q. Is butter a Superfood?
A: Butter is rich in beneficial nutrients such as Vitamin A, D, E, K1 and K2, which are helpful for assimilation. Butter consists of significant fatty acids such as lauric (antiviral), CLA (anti-carcinogenic) and Butyric (anti-inflammatory) to help prevent the risk of cardiovascular, tumours and stroke.
Q. What can too much butter cause?
A: Excessive consumption of butter can cause an increase in the grade of Bad LDL cholesterol. Also, this is because of high saturated fats in butter that may increase the possibility of cardiovascular disease, calcification in arteries, blood clots and strokes.
Q. Is ghee better than butter?
A: Since ancient times, ghee, a form of clarified butter that is stable at room temperature, has been utilised in Indian cuisine and Ayurvedic treatment. Ghee and butter have more or less identical nutritional properties. Vitamin A, D, E, and K help prevent the risk of severe disorders. Ghee has a higher concentration of fats. However, those with lactose or casein sensitivity may prefer ghee as ghee is free of milk sugar, lactose and milk protein. While ghee is better for high-heat recipes, butter is excellent for baking.
Q. What are the disadvantages of butter?
A: Excessive intake of fatty foods like butter, milk, and meat can lead to tongue sores, colds, and throat infections. Also, butter can cause an increase in the grade of LDL cholesterol. However, this is because of high saturated fats in butter that may increase the possibility of cardiovascular disease, calcification in arteries, blood clots and neurological disorders.