Janmashtami 2023: 5 health benefits of white butter

The Hindu festival of Janmashtami aims to celebrate Lord Krishna, fondly called “makhan chor” for his love for butter. Stories of the deity’s fondness for white butter have been passed down from generation to generation. It is believed that he loved “makhan misri” – white butter mixed with sugar. If the combination doesn’t suit you, just let us tell you about the health benefits of white butter.

In 2023, Krishna Janmashtami is to be celebrated on September 7. A ‘bhog’ prepared for Lord Krishna also includes white butter.

What is white butter?

Beurre blanc is a natural, unprocessed alternative to the yellow butter commonly found on store shelves. Distinguishing it from its salty yellow counterpart, white butter has many nutritional benefits, Anju Mohan, senior dietitian at the department of clinical nutrition at Amrita Hospital, Kochi, tells Health Shots.

White butter is healthy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the health benefits of white butter?

One of the best qualities of white butter is its lack of salt, a characteristic that sets it apart from yellow butter, which is often high in sodium, the expert tells Health Shots. This characteristic makes white butter a healthier choice because it reduces the consumption of sodium and trans fats. Additionally, white butter contains essential nutrients such as vitamins A and D. Here are some of the reasons why white butter may be good for your health:

1. Strengthened immunity
White butter contains essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D, which help improve the functioning of the immune system. These nutrients support the body’s ability to defend itself against infection and disease, making them a valuable addition to your diet for overall health.

2. Increased metabolism

Beurre blanc contains lecithin, a natural compound that helps break down unhealthy fats and promotes a faster metabolism. This can be especially beneficial for those who want to manage their weight and achieve better metabolic health.

3. Healthy skin

Thanks to its vitamin E content, white butter promotes healthy skin. Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties, which help maintain clear and glowing skin. Regular consumption of white butter can help reduce skin problems, says Mohan.

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White butter is good for the skin. Image provided by: Shutterstock

4. Joint lubrication

The molecular structure of white butter allows it to effectively assimilate fats. This quality can provide lubrication to the joints, offering relief to those suffering from joint pain or discomfort. It is a natural way to support joint health and mobility.

5. Improved brain activity

White butter contains arachidonic acid, a fatty acid which plays a crucial role in brain development, specifies the expert. This is especially beneficial for children, as it supports their cognitive functions and overall brain development. So, include white butter in their diet for better brain health.

How is white butter made?

The traditional production of white butter involves churning cream, often called malai, which is extracted from milk. It starts with slightly warming the milk, allowing the cream to rise naturally to the top. Subsequently, the cream is churned until it turns into butter, usually followed by refrigeration to solidify.

You can also use fresh milk and cream to make white butter. In this, the cream is separated from the milk. The rest of the milk is mixed with cold water and then undergoes the churning process. This method separates the water from the fat, which is then collected, dried and stored in a humidity-free environment.

What is the nutritional value of white butter?

Exact nutritional content may vary depending on brand and preparation method. But in general, in 100 grams of white butter, you’ll find around 717 calories, mainly coming from its high fat content, says Mohan. It provides minimal protein, usually around 1 gram, and almost negligible carbohydrates. Beurre blanc is also a source of essential fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin D, and contains trace amounts of minerals including calcium.

But due to its notable saturated fat content, white butter deserves a mindful approach when added to daily meals. Generally, a small dab or a teaspoon of white butter can accompany bread and vegetables. If you have high cholesterol or a history of heart disease, it’s best to be careful with white butter.

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