After over a century of attempted swaying on the health benefits of margarine over butter, the cream has risen to the top.
As Shakespeare has oft lamented – fooling Mother Nature is never a good idea!
The invention of margarine started from an interesting demand by Emperor Napoleon III in the 1800s – looking for a clever butter substitute that was cheaper and with a good shelf life; aiding sailors, the poor and working class.
The frenchman that won the government grant was Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès in 1869. Not being commercially successful in France, being a mixture of beef fat mixed with skimmed milk, he approached the Dutch company Jurgens. They embellished the invention to use vegetable oil, and coloured it yellow to resemble butter. Margarine took off, but Jurgens went Dutch on Mr Mège-Mouriès and he was left a pauper.
Well, before all that, butter had been a favourite for at least 3000 years! The prehistoric method of making butter involved storing cream in a goats’ hide, shaken up until the cream separated from the buttermilk to form butter. Ghee (clarified butter) was popular as a staple in India, with evidence of being used in Hindu religious ceremonies.
A happy, healthy cow makes healthy butter. How to get the best out of butter?
– Make sure the butter comes from grass-fed cows
– This also shows the farmers care about environmental sustainability, allowing grass to grow and be plentiful
– A grass-fed cow digests grass as they had evolved to – being grain-fed is cheaper and can be done on any type of land, however the cow suffers from digestive problems, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and least of all your have bland, nutrient deficient butter and milk
– The nutrients the cow ingests, are expressed in the cows milk and butter (this is for baby cows remember!)
– The yellower the butter, the more carotene (vitamin A) it contains. Vitamin A is most easily absorbed from butter as it is a fat soluble vitamin
– Butter also contains vitamin D for healthy bones, E for skin and antioxidant effects, K1 and K2 – regulating healthy blood clotting (do you bruise a lot?) and actually prevents calcified plaques from depositing in your arteries – the main cause of heart disease and strokes
– Cholesterol in the butter is a healthy precursor to producing hormones that allow normal functioning of your body everyday, and actually helps to reduce the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood!
– Saturated fats were indirectly correlated with heart disease and cancer, when it turns out that eating margarine, or less pure vegetable oils are more likely to produce aldehydes that cause cancer!
Scientists Recommend Cooking With Lard, Butter: Frying With Vegetable Oil Releases Toxic, Cancer-Causing Chemicals – 9 November 2015
You Can’t Fool Mother Nature: Butter is Better! – 16 June, 2015
Butter IS Better – The Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter – 15 March, 2012
Is All Butter Created Equal? – 3 August, 2010