5 Butter Alternatives That May Improve Cholesterol and Lower Disease Risk

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Blood tests by researchers in Sweden and Germany show that replacing butter with a mixture of olive oil and a high-quality vegetable oil is better for your cholesterol and healthier for your heart in the long run.

A team from Chalmers University of Technology and the German Institute of Human Nutrition say they have been able to accurately measure diet-related changes in blood fat levels and link them to risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Butter has gotten a bad rap because it is high in calories and contains a lot of artery-clogging saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease. bit24 – stock.adobe.com

“Our study confirms with even more certainty the health benefits of a diet rich in unsaturated vegetable fats, such as the Mediterranean diet,” said lead author of the study and assistant professor at Chalmers, Clemens Wittenbecher.

In the study, published Thursday in the journal Nature Medicine, the team compared the effects of replacing butter with a mixture of olive oil and canola oil and replacing it with safflower oil alone.

Wittenbecher told The Post that they found “very similar” health benefits with both swaps.

Olive oil is praised for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Rapeseed and safflower oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids regulate metabolism, promote skin and hair growth, ensure healthy bones and support the reproductive system.

Vegetable oils, nuts like walnuts and almonds, and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds are good sources of omega 6.

Olive oil is praised for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Sergei Ryzhov – stock.adobe.com

Most Americans get enough omega-6 in their diets, but some experts are concerned about an unbalanced diet that favors omega-6 over the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.

“Omega-6s are important and healthy essential fats,” Anthony Hulbert, author of “Omega Balance” and professor emeritus at the University of Wollongong in Australia, told New Scientist in April. “But when eaten in excessive amounts, omega-6s will reduce the omega-3 content of cell membranes, causing chronic inflammation.”

Butter, in turn, has long had a bad reputation. The slippery sticks are high in calories and artery-clogging saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease.

Olive oil and avocado oil are the most heat-resistant. Use them for cooking and frying at moderate temperatures. Photo art Lucas – stock.adobe.com

According to Wittenbecher, the following oils are suitable as a substitute for olive oil:

  • Rapeseed
  • Safflower
  • Sunflower
  • Avocado

“Of these vegetable oils with favorable fat content, olive oil and avocado oil are the most heat stable and are preferred for cooking and frying at moderate temperatures,” Wittenbecher explained to The Post.

He believes that unrefined extra virgin olive oil, rich in antioxidant polyphenols, and nut and flaxseed oils, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, may also provide health benefits.

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