Acharya Vaghbhata says “Fresh butter is vrishya (aphrodisiac), acts as body coolant and enhances complexion of skin. It is good for eyes, improves digestion and helps in diseases caused by vata, pitta and rakta (blood).”
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Importance of Butter in Ayurveda,
Dictionaries define butter as “a solid emulsion of fat globules, air, and water made by churning milk or cream and used as food”. Butter is known as “Navaneeta” in Sanskrit. It is referred as navaneeta in texts of ayurveda too. Butter is usually made from cow’s or buffalo’s milk. But it can be made from milk of other mammals like sheep, goats, camel etc.
Butter is explained as follows in ayurveda
Butter is known as “Navaneeta” in ayurveda. Its health benefits are enumerated in “Ashtanga hridaya” the classic ayurvedic book written by Acharya Vaghbhata. Acharya Vaghbhata says “Fresh butter is vrishya (aphrodisiac), acts as body coolant (Sheeta veerya) and enhances complexion of skin. It is good for eyes, improves digestion and helps in diseases caused by vata dosha, pitta dosha and rakta (blood). Consumption of butter improves health conditions like hemorrhoids, facial paralysis and chronic cough”. Ayurveda acharyas recommend butter in Vajikarana Therapy.
Health Benefits of Butter – An Ayurveda View
- Butter contains 113% of Vitamin A and butter is easily absorbable source of vitamin A.
- Butter does not contain trans fats.
- Genuine use of butter gives a feeling of satiety and reduces food cravings.
- Its short and medium chain fatty acids are burned quickly in body to liberate energy.
- Butter is a good source of dietary cholesterol which is rich in antioxidants and protects heart. The antioxidants prevent the damage caused by free radicals.
- The short and medium chain fatty acids of butter boost immunity and have anti tumor property.
- Butter is a good source of vitamin K2 which prevents tooth decay and builds strong bones.
- According ayurveda butter increases sperm count and is best natural remedy for erectile dysfunction in men.
- Texts of ayurveda consider butter prepared from milk of cow, buffalo and sheep for medicinal use. The health benefits of butter are very well explained in ayurveda.
Cow Butter Benefits
Butter prepared from cow’s milk has the following medicinal properties.
- It acts as a body coolant.
- This nourishes body tissues and increases body energy level.
- The complexion of skin and strength of body increases when cow butter is consumed.
- It increases appetite.
- It alleviates vata dosha and pitta dosha.
- Very effective in piles or hemorrhoids.
- Reduces cough.
- Elderly people and infants are benefited by butter. It acts like an elixir when administered to infants and elderly.
- Mix pure turmeric powder with the butter prepared from cow milk. This mixture when massaged on body enhances fairness, eases wrinkles and prevents dry skin. This can be used for babies too
Buffalo Butter Benefits
Butter prepared from buffalo’s milk has the following medicinal properties
• It increases vata and kapha.
• Butter prepared from buffalo’s milk is heavy to digest.
• Consumption of this butter alleviates pitta, burning sensation and tiredness.
• It increases quality and quantity of semen.( increases sperm count and motility)
• Body fat or medha dhatu gets increased by consuming this regularly.
Sheep Butter Benefits
Butter prepared from sheep’s milk alleviates vata, pitta and kapha and is superior to all other types of butter.
Sheep milk is treasure of nutrients. It is richer in vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium than cow milk. The chains of fatty acids in sheep milk have many health benefits. They have little effect on blood cholesterol level of humans. It is easy to digest fat portion of sheep milk.
Is Butter Really Bad ?
Butter was a staple dietary ingredient since ages. It was being used by many cultures. But all who used butter in those times remained healthy and fit. But why butter is being pushed aside as a saturated fat in recent past? A study showed that between 1920 and 1960, use of butter by Americans reduced from 18 pounds per person per year to 4 pounds, but still the incidences of heart diseases have increased by leaps and bounds. How will they conclude that butter is the cause for heart diseases?
After 1960 many companies started manufacturing bread spreads using margarine, mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats which are considered as heart healthy. But these spreads contained “trans fats” (Trans fats are unsaturated fats which are uncommon in nature but can be created artificially and detrimental to heart health). These spreads, fast foods and sedentary lifestyles increased the incidences of heart diseases.
According to new research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Enjoying full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and butter is unlikely to send people to an early grave, .
The study, published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no significant link between dairy fats and cause of death or, more specifically, heart disease and stroke — two of the country’s biggest killers often associated with a diet high in saturated fat. In fact, certain types of dairy fat may help guard against having a severe stroke, the researchers reported.
How much butter is better?
How much butter should I eat a day ? Is the question everyone rise. Saturated fats should be limited to 7% of total daily calorie intake. According to this we can consume 20 gms or 3 tea spoons of butter per day. Thumb rule is never use ghee or vanaspathi or any other saturated fats when you consume butter. Exercise well to help body to utilize butter to full extent. Limit your calorie intake by shunning the use of refined flours, sugars and oily foods. Fresh butter prepared at home gets a thumbs up. Immense benefits can be reaped by using raw butter made from pastured cows. Butter is always better because it is a natural saturated fat.
• If you have atherosclerosis, heart disease, high cholesterol ( hypercholesterolemia) in the upper range 200-239 mg/dL or high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia), the American Heart Association recommends a maximum daily limit of 200mg of dietary cholesterol, and advises no more than 7 percent of calories be eaten in the form of saturated fat.
• A new study shows that exposure to a chemical called diacetyl, a component of artificial butter flavoring, can be harmful.
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