How do I love thee, butter? Oh, let me count the ways...

1. Butter is real.

I love food that doesn't need an ingredient list. And butter is as simple as it comes: cream. That's it. No hydrogenation necessary, no flavor additives, no preservatives. Just my style.

2. It's delicious.

When it comes down to it, healthy food should taste amazing. And butter definitely fits that bill. Who doesn't like butter? Granted, I'm sure there are some folks out there who don't... but I've yet to meet one personally. Not only does real butter taste a million times better than any "buttery" spread out there, it also makes other food taste great too!

My number one cooking tip? Use real butter. Everything you make will taste better.

3. It's got vitamin A.

Forget carrots! Beta-carotene is so yesteryear - and it's hard for many people to convert beta-carotene into useable vitamin A anyway. Get some super bioavailable vitamin A from real butter instead. It's great for your eyes, your skin and so much more. Learn more about the vitamin A in butter here.

4. It's got saturated fat.

Eek! I feel like I said a dirty word. But saturated fat is not the health demon portrayed in the media. In fact, the fats in butter are some of the most life-giving fats on the planet. The short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids in butter protect against cancer, boost immunity, fight fungal overgrowth and provide a steady source of energy for your body. Read more about the health benefits of saturated fat here.

5. It's low in PUFAs.

I don't like to demonize food groups, but polyunsaturated fatty acids (commonly known as PUFAs) aren't your friend. I don't believe a little cod liver oil or some peanut butter now and then is something to worry about, but the fact that so much of our food is drenched in vegetable oil these days has caused a serious imbalance in our diets. When you consider that polyunsaturated oils have been linked to cancer risk among other health problems, it makes sense to cut back on those PUFAs and consume a more balanced ratio of fatty acids.

Enter butter. Butter's fatty acid profile depends on the source (grass-fed obviously provides more benefits), but overall butter contains an awesome balance of fats:
  • 65 percent saturated fat
  • 30 monounsaturated fat
  • 5 percent polyunsaturated fat
6. It's got vitamin K2.

Vitamin K2 is most beneficial form of vitamin K. It's easily absorbed and utilized by the body. Vitamin K2 works in synergy with other fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E to improve your health in a number of ways. Vitamin K2 is even associated with a lower risk for cancer and heart disease! Find out more about the vitamin K2 in butter here.

7. It's got butyric acid.

Butyric acid (also known as butyrate) is a beneficial fatty acid that has been shown to improve cholesterol levels, lower triglycerides, promote healthy body weight, and restore gut health. It can even help reverse cancer. Read more about these benefits here.

8. You can make your own.

Yes, you can! And it's incredibly easy. I've made my own butter by shaking fresh cream in a jar (tiresome, yes, but also a great arm workout!) and by mixing it in my Cuisinart food processor.

Food Renegade did a great post about making butter here (check out the comments - lots of helpful tips and questions there).

9. You can make it raw.

Raw dairy has some fantastic benefits because it contains the natural enzymes and co-factors that aid in the absorption and utilization its nutrients. Although raw butter can't be found in most stores, you may be able to find it from a local farmer or you can make your own if you have access to raw cream.

10. You can make it cultured.

Culturing the cream before making raw butter is a great way to increase the bioavailability of the nutrients found in butter. Simply leave your raw cream out at room temperature for about 7 hours to let it culture and then make your butter as usual. You can also find cultured butter in some stores and farmers markets.