For decades, we were advised to keep away from butter and other foods containing saturated fat because of the misguided belief that saturated fat raised the bad LDL cholesterol thus causing heart disease. Foods like red meat, eggs, and butter were unfortunately avoided and often under-consumed. However, recent studies have helped debunk the saturated fat myth, making it easier to retrain our brains to embrace saturated fats and to better understand that foods such as grass-fed butter contain an incredible amount of healthy nutrients. Before we get into butter coffee, let’s look at grass-fed butter, the key ingredient in butter coffee, and why it’s so good for your overall health:
Beta-Carotene: Cows that consume a natural diet of pastured grass rather than processed grains produce butter with a rich yellow color due to the beta-carotene (also associated with vitamin A) found in the grass.
Omega-3: Grass-fed butter has an ideal ratio of omega 6: omega 3, meaning that you’re boosting a balanced intake of healthy omega 3 fatty acids known to reduce cellular inflammation and help regulate LDL and HDL cholesterol.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): Studies show that consuming CLA from foods (e.g., grass-fed dairy) may help decrease the risk of certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes, as well as help breakdown fat in the belly region. Interestingly enough, true grass-fed cows produce upwards of 500% more CLA than grain-fed cows!
Vitamins K2, A, and D: Vitamin K2 helps to prevent arterial buildup of calcium, a culprit of strokes and heart attacks, and plays a significant role in how calcium is processed in our bodies. Grass-fed butter also contains vitamins A and D, both of which are important antioxidants.
Butyrate (butyric acid): This essential anti-inflammatory fatty acid helps protect the heart by fighting inflammation that contributes to heart disease.
WFP’s Take-Home Advice
With so many great health benefits, it’s easy to understand why people are finding ways to incorporate grass-fed butter into their diets. One of the easiest ways is to make butter coffee, essentially mixing a small amount of grass-fed butter with your morning coffee. Here are our recommendations for making this healthy drink:
- The main ingredient to this drink is the grass-fed butter, which contains more key nutrients than regular butter and is a healthier substitute for sugar and/or cream. Avoid using margarine in butter coffee or with any other foods you eat: Margarine is a processed, non-animal product that typically uses unhealthy vegetable oils and other added chemical ingredients to create a “butter-type” spread; butter is a natural, animal product made from fresh or fermented cream.
- Be sure to use organic coffee beans. Organic coffee—coffee in its purest, natural state without added chemicals—along with grass-fed butter in place of sugar and cream simply enhances the antioxidant benefits that come from drinking coffee. Butter coffee can even be used as a breakfast meal substitute, but it’s best to keep coffee consumption to one or two cups a day.
- To start, brew your coffee using filtered water or spring water (e.g., Mountain Valley Spring Water). Coffee is almost 99 percent water, so optimal water quality is essential when making a good cup of coffee.
- Per 8 ounces of coffee, use one tablespoon of unsalted grass-fed butter, such as Kerrygold or Vital Farms, and blend it with the hot coffee. The amount of butter is an individual preference, so experiment with the butter quantity, as you may prefer more or less of it in your coffee. When combining ingredients, it’s very important to use a blender or even a small hand-held immersion blender to thoroughly mix the butter into the coffee so that you create a frothy, creamy drink. If you try to manually stir the butter into the coffee, the butter oil will sit on top and will not emulsify into the coffee, which is a necessary step when making this drink.
- To get even greater benefits from healthy fats, add coconut oil or MCT (Medium-Chain Triglycerides) oil to create a keto coffee, also known as Bulletproof Coffee, that helps your body create energy from healthy fat, keeps you feeling full longer, and helps boost your brain function. Start slow with the coconut oil/MCT oil, as too much too soon can cause the unpleasant gastrointestinal issues that come with an upset stomach. Begin with one teaspoon and work up to adding one tablespoon along with the grass-fed butter. Be sure to blend it well so that the oil doesn’t pool on top of the coffee.
- Consider adding a high-quality collagen or whey protein to your butter coffee. Because whey is not heat stable, it should be added to iced butter coffee (add ice to the coffee and grass-fed butter blended mixture, blend it again with the ice, and then gently stir in the whey). Collagen is heat stable and is fine to combine and blend with the hot coffee and grass-fed butter.
Sources and References:
Hebeisen, DF., et al. Increased concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in milk and platelet rich plasma of grass-fed cows. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved February 26, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7905466.
Dhiman, TR., et al. Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved February 26, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10531600.
Kresser, C. (2012, Nov. 2) Can Some Trans Fats Be Healthy? chriskresser.com. Retrieved February 26, 2018 from https://chriskresser.com/can-some-trans-fats-be-healthy/
Gunnars, K. (2013, Nov. 13) Why Grass-Fed Butter Is Good For You. healthline.com. Retrieved February 26, 2018 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grass-fed-butter-superfood-for-the-heart
Coffee: Love It or Leave It? (2016, April). health.harvard.edu. Retrieved February 26, 2018 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coffee-love-it-or-leave-it.
How to Make Bulletproof Coffee. blog.bulletproof.com. Retrieved February 26, 2018 https://blog.bulletproof.com/bulletproof-coffee-recipe/