Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just Butter on Top

Easy Dinners

I remember being completely stunned four or five years ago when major nutritionists started recommending butter as an important health food.  So many of us spent years eating low-fat diets. Suddenly butter was....good for you?

Of course, back when the government began recommending a Mediterranean-style diet in their food pyramid, olive oil began to be touted as a healthy fat.  We'd been accepting olives, avocados and nuts as healing for years.  But butter?  Wasn't butter one of the dreaded saturated animal fats?

Five years ago a major review of dozens of research studies showed that there was absolutely no proven link between saturated fats and heart disease.  Just recently a similar review of 72 studies came to the same conclusion.

So, butter is okay.  But, there is a major caveat here. While eating butter does not create a health risk, there is something available only in grass-fed organic butter that is good for you.  Pasture-raised cows make butter that is high in omega-3s whereas feedlot cows make butter that is high in omega-6s. That's because feedlot cows eat a lot of soy and corn, two foods high in omega-6s.

So, what's so important about omega-3's and 6s?  Almost all Americans get far too little omega-3s in their diets.  However, we get far too many omega-6s.  Both omegas are good for us, but here's another major caveat...there is an important ratio we need to achieve between omega-3s and omega-6s. When the omegas are in balance, they help reduce dangerous inflammation in the body.  When they are out of balance, they create inflammation.  And inflammation is to be avoided at all costs because it is linked to most of our modern diseases (for a list of diseases caused by inflammation, see the blue box below).

Most Americans get way more omega-6s than omega-3s.  That's because food manufacturers load up processed food with omega-6s by adding soy and corn oils.  In fact, many Americans get omega-6s in proportion of 20-1 against omega-3s, or more.  An ideal ratio would be more like 4-1.  For more information on omega-3s see here.  

So, it's still good news.  Butter made from grass-fed organic cows is healing.  Yippee, butter is good for you!  

I love butter, I guess most of us do.  One of the best things about butter is that it is so delicious on its own that it makes a lot of foods taste great.  Let's face it, back in the days when butter was bad for you, foods like broccoli suffered.  A little butter goes a long way in making broccoli taste good, especially for kids.

One of the things I love about butter is how it dresses up some easy to cook, healthy autumn foods.  All of the winter squashes taste great with a little butter and salt and pepper.  Just toss them in the oven and roast until tender and then butter 'em up!  What could be easier?

Roasted butternut squash with a little grass-fed butter, coconut crystals, sea salt and black pepper.

And what about sweet potatoes and yams!!! One of my favorite side dishes is a roasted sweet potato loaded with butter and salt and pepper.  It tastes fantastic and it has a lot of good healing vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

An unusual purple yam with grass-fed butter, salt and pepper.

So if you've been thinking old-school and avoiding butter, maybe it's time to update your diet, start fighting inflammation and add the yummy stuff back into your everyday meals.  Go butter!!!

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