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Cooking with butter: 6 healthier alternatives

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Cooking with butter: 6 healthier alternatives
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Butter is not the healthiest food product although it is something that many of us eat everyday.  Here are 6 alternatives to try that you can either make yourself or buy as a replacement to butter.  Seeing as overly eating butter is known to have a negative impact on our arteries, now, especially after the festive season, is perhaps the moment to change this staple ingredient in the kitchen to something a bit healthier. 

1) Ghee clarified butter

Ghee is a clarified butter that is largely used in Indian cooking.  It is yellow and has a light hazelnut flavour.  It can easily be made from a block of unsalted butter, preferably organic, with a burning point that is higher than normal butter.  This is why it can handle cooking at high temperatures and can cook or fry foods without burning them.  In addition, it can be kept outside of the fridge.

2) Vegetable margarine

Margarine is said to have been invented around 1869 after a Napoleon III set up a competition to find a more economical substitute to butter.  It is made from solidified vegetable oils so is therefore richer in unsaturated fatty acids (omega -3) and in sterols, which can help reduce the LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol).  Try and chose a organic margarine without palm oil and transformed fatty acids which are harmful for your cardiovascular health.

3) Maple butter

Maple butter is made from maple syrup which is brought to the boil and then cooled down in an ice bath.  It is fat-free and is rich in mineral salts like potassium and magnesium.  Maple butter is great for replacing butter from you sweet or savory recipes as it bring a slight sweetness to dishes.

You can find it in organic supermarkets or you can easily make it yourself once you have found some natural maple syrup.

4) Olive oil

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Olive oil is very rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (80% of it’s components) which help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol).  It is thought to be the healthiest oil as even when it is heated it does not lose any of its properties.

5) Nut butter (hazelnut, almonds)

Nuts can make an excellent nut butter.  Almonds,Brazil nuts, cashew, Macadamia, pecans and pistachio, peanuts as well as sesame seeds can all be used to make a vegetable puree that is rich in fibres and in unsaturated fatty acids.

You can find these purees or butters in organic supermarkets or you can easily prepare them yourself.

6) Canola / Rapeseed oil

Canola oil or Rapeseed oil is considered one of the best oils for your health as it is rich in Omega 6 and Omega 3, which are known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body.  However it is advised that you don’t heat up the oil at very high temperatures.

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