Many nutrition experts are on the fence about who should eat butter and who shouldn’t. It is often mistaken by people for margarine, which only adds to the confusion. There are also differences between butter made at home and the types available in grocery stores. The best way to answer all the questions you have about this food product is to learn more about butter ingredients. Knowing what is in it can help you determine if it belongs in your diet or not.
What are butter ingredients?
Butter is milk in a concentrated form. It contains fats, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, protein and in some cases, salt.
There are four general categories of fats, namely saturated, trans, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The first two are bad for your health because when they are digested, they are converted into LDL cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol is carried by your bloodstream through your whole body and unfortunately most of it ends up on your heart. If you don’t limit your intake LDL cholesterol, it won’t be long before you develop heart disease. Unsaturated fats on the other hand, protect your heart by lowering LDL cholesterol levels. If you buy butter from the store like most people do, you need to read the list of butter ingredients carefully. If it contains little to no saturated or trans fats, it is safe to add to your shopping cart.
Butter is often said to be a calcium-rich food and rightfully so. You need calcium to maintain good bone density and bone strength. Shortage of this mineral can result in poor muscle function, osteoporosis, dysfunctional nerves and weak bones and teeth. The average person needs about 1000 grams of calcium a day but the requirement might change if you already suffer from deficiency. If you want to increase your intake, it is not a good idea to eat more butter. Instead, get your supply from other calcium-rich foods like milk, almonds, orange juice, salmon, sardines and soy.
Although phosphorus sounds like a smoking chemical you’d find in a lab, it is one of the butter ingredients you should look for. Like calcium, it has wonderful effects on bones. Other benefits include assistance in nutrient absorption, cell restoration, improved digestion, increased energy and maintaining the balance of different hormones.
Protein is not normally associated with butter so it might come as a surprise to see it as an ingredient. Protein has similar health benefits to calcium except it is involved in many other health-boosting chemical processes in the body.
Protein in butter is often seen as a bonus, not a recommended primary source.
The types of vitamins you can expect to find in butter are vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin A strengthens your immune system, vitamin D helps your body to absorb phosphorus and vitamin E stops diseases from developing through its antioxidant capabilities.
Salt might be present or absent from butter ingredients depending on the type and brand of butter you buy. Unsalted butter is usually sold in a separate section to salted versions.s