Butter

Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I would like to know about spreads to have on bread. I like butter, not margarine, but it is a saturated fat which is bad for cholesterol. What is best?

A. I take the hunter-gatherer approach to spreads – that is, if you can make it in a mortar and pestle then it is good for you: peanut or almond butter, hummus, guacamole, relish, olive oil (on bread, Mediterranean style, or with some dukkah), ground nuts and spices (Turkish style). Mayonnaise is made from egg and oil and makes a handy spread under poached eggs or in salad sandwiches. Some people like to mix olive oil and butter together 50:50, and this is known as 'better butter'.

Only consume a small amount of butter as yes, it is a saturated fat. However, our bodies do require small amounts of saturated fat to synthesise hormones present in the brain, cell membranes, and axon sheaths of neurons. Use lean cuts of meat and reduce cheese intake to limit other sources of saturated fats. The FDA in the USA recommends a maximum daily intake of 20g-25g of saturated fatty acids for those of average weight. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are attributed to excessive intake of saturated fatty acids.

Other protein fillers are canned fish – red salmon and King Oscar Sardines, lean meat, pastrami, or egg mashed with mayonnaise, parsley and salt. Combine with plenty of colourful salad for a good supply of antioxidants. And remember to eat five-plus vegetables a day. (Avoid tuna as it contains heavy metals – mercury)