For most of my lifetime butter has been villainised and associated with cardiovascular and heart issues; I am sure we can all remember butter at half the price it is today. Two things have lifted the price of New Zealand butter, the major one being the global realization by the healthy minded, coupled with ongoing research into the effects of the good fatty acids and what was thought to be a totally bad fatty acid LDL.
Studies of LDL cholesterol have shown that there are two distinct components within LDL fatty acids. The large fluffy LDL cholesterol chain component and the smaller dense LDL cholesterol; the larger LDL does not appear to contribute to plaque build up within blood vessels; whereas the smaller dense LDL particles appear to contribute to plaque build up along with trans-fats.
The acceptance by the market of these findings has resulted in the rapid rise of demand for New Zealand butter, the exchange rate has also contributed to this rise.
New Zealand is one of the few countries that graze milking cows for most of the year outside on grass. It is widely accepted that meat and dairy products that are the product of grass-fed livestock contain more of the good fatty acids which are health promoting, supporting cardiovascular health and our central and peripheral nervous system.
Fatty acids are essential to provide the insulation effect for our nerves which are effectively conductors within a tube, rather like an electrical wire within a pvc layer surrounded by an outer protective layer. In the case of our nerves, cholesterol is the pvc separating the copper wire from the outer protective layer.
In the event our cholesterol insulation breaks down its rather like an electric short circuit that results in involuntary spasm, twitches, loss of memory and co-ordination.
Sources of the good fatty acids to support both nerve and cardiovascular health include, butter, fish, grass-fed red meat and of course supplements like omega3 and emu oil capsules.
It is interesting to note that with the rise in marketing and production of butter substitutes coupled with the villainising of natural butter, sales declined by 75% and heart disease rose to become the number one killer between 1920 and 1960; add to this the growth in consumption of processed foods high in trans fats, there is a clear correlation between the diet changes and the declining health. There are a number of other factors like a more sedentary lifestyle and the migration from the farms to the towns, fast food takeaways that contain trans fats and also processed foods containing trans fats.
There appears to be a growing body of evidence that links the obesity epidemic with the change in diet the west has under gone over the last 100 years.