grass fed butter health benefits

Grass-Fed Butter: The Superfood in Your Fridge Door

by Kelley Herring on February 8, 2014

You know the golden goodness that tastes amazing drizzled over seafood? The delicious condiment that adds moist, rich flavor to baked goods. The one that makes just about anything taste better?

Yes, I’m talking about butter.

And it’s time to spread the news, because golden, creamy butter is a true superfood!

Surprising, right? After all, few foods have been as wrongly maligned as this delicious delicacy.

A Pat (or Three) for Big Heart Health Benefits

For years we’ve been urged to limit our consumption of butter.  After all, butter is fat – and “artery-clogging” saturated fat, at that.

But the truth is that saturated fats – from beef, butter or otherwise – don’t promote heart disease. In fact, they may even help prevent it.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health evaluated over 1,700 Swedish men over a 12 year period. The researchers found that fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with a decreased risk of heart disease – but only when combined with full-fat dairy consumption.

In other words, the men who enjoyed their plant foods with full-fat milk, butter and cream experienced less heart disease than the men who opted for margarine, skim and low-fat milk.

There is certainly no doubt that the men who ate their broccoli enrobed in a heavenly butter bath enjoyed it more. But what is it about butter that benefits the heart?

butter is good for the heart

Butter-lovers rejoice. A pat of this golden goodness is good for your heart thanks to vitamin K2 – a powerful heart-protecting nutrient.

Vitamin K2: A Nutrient for Peak Heart Health

Butter is one of the richest sources of a vital, fat-soluble nutrient called vitamin K2 (menaquinone).

While the K vitamins are best known for their role in blood-clotting, the body also requires them to utilize calcium properly. And this is a key factor, not only for bone health, but for the cardiovascular system as well.

In fact, without sufficient levels of vitamin K2, excess calcium gets deposited in the arterial wall. This is a significant factor in the progression of heart disease.

It’s no wonder that numerous studies have found that a high intake of vitamin K2 can be a huge benefit to your cardiovascular health:

  • A 2004 study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, analyzed the dietary intake of vitamin K2 among 4,807 people. Those with the highest intake had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. They were also much less likely to die from heart disease.
  • A 2010 review of studies found that vitamin K2 may help protect against cardio-metabolic disorders including heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
  • The Rotterdam Study followed more than 4,600 men over the age of 55. The researchers found that the highest intake of vitamin K2 was associated with a 52 percent lower risk of severe aortic calcification, a 41 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), a 51 percent lower risk of CHD mortality, and a 26 percent lower risk of total mortality.

Vitamin K2 is found almost exclusively in animal foods – especially butter, cheese and other dairy products from pasture-raised animals. Organ meats are also a rich source of K2.

kerrygold irish butterAnd by eating pastured butter, you won’t just get a heart-healthy dose of vitamin K2. You’ll also get the perfect nutrient delivery vehicle for it as well. The fat in butter helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (including vitamin K2).

So go ahead and melt a healthy dollop of grass-fed Kerrygold butter on your broccoli, sweet potatoes and steak to get a delicious dose of absorbable vitamin K2.

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About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.

Holmberg et al. Food Choices and Coronary Heart Disease: A Population Based Cohort Study of Rural Swedish Men with 12 Years of Follow-up. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. October 2009. Smit LA, Baylin A, Campos H. Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction.Am J Clin Nutr 2010 Jul;92(1):34-40. Epub 2010 May 12. German JB, Gibson RA, Krauss RM, et al. A reappraisal of the impact of dairy foods and milk fat on cardiovascular disease risk. Eur J Nutr. 2009 Jun;48(4):191-203. Gast GC, de Roos NM, Sluijs I, Bots ML, Beulens JW, Geleijnse JM, Witteman JC, Grobbee DE, Peeters PH, van der Schouw YT. "A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease." Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Sep;19(7):504-10. Epub 2009 Jan 28. Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C, Grobbee DE, Schurgers LJ, Knapen MH, van der Meer IM, Hofman A, Witteman JC. "Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study." J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3100-5. Bonthuis M, Hughes MCB, IbiebeleTI, Green AC, and van der Pols JC. Dairy consumption and patterns of mortality of Australian adults. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64:569–577. Elwood PC, Strain JJ, Robson PJ, et al. Milk consumption, stroke, and heart attack risk: evidence from the Caerphilly cohort of older men. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2005;59:502-505 Elwood PC, Pickering JE, Hughes J, Fehily AM, Ness AR. Milk drinking, ischaemic heart disease and ischaemic stroke II. Evidence from cohort studies. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 May;58(5):718-24. Dhiman TR, Anand GR, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets. J Dairy Sci. 1999;82(10):2146-56. Smit LA, Baylin A, Campos H. Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;92(1):34-40. Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C, Grobbee DE, et al. Dietary Intake of Menaquinone Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Rotterdam Study. J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134:3100-3105. Gast GC, de Roos NM, Sluijs I, et al. A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Sep;19(7):504-10. Nimptsch K, Rohrmann S, Kaaks R, Linseisen J. Dietary vitamin K intake in relation to cancer incidence and mortality: results from the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Heidelberg). Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1348-58. Spronk HM, Soute BA, Schurgers LJ, et al. Tissue-specific utilization of menaquinone-4 results in the prevention of arterial calcification in warfarin-treated rats. J Vasc Res. 2003 Nov-Dec;40(6):531-7. Mozaffarian et al. Trans-palmitoleic Acid, Metabolic Risk Factors, and New-Onset Diabetes in US Adults. Ann Internal Med. 2010


  1. […] the bad rap it unfairly gained during misguided “low fat” craze of the 80s and 90s, butter is a true superfood. It is loaded with vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as an anti-inflammatory compound known as […]

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