The Surprising Vitamin You Can Find In Butter

Butter has long been vilified for its high-fat content. Just one tablespoon provides over 100 calories and 11.5 grams of fat, including 7.2 grams of saturated fat, reports MyFoodData. Plus, this spread is low in protein and contains no iron, zinc, fiber, or vitamin C. What's more, it can raise your cholesterol levels and increase heart disease risk when consumed in excess. The culprit is saturated fat, one of its primary nutrients, says the American Heart Association.

However, this doesn't mean that butter is bad for you. It actually contains several key nutrients that protect against cancer, skin inflammation, osteoporosis, and vision loss, explains WebMD. For example, calcium and vitamin D keep your bones strong, while vitamin E promotes skin health and fights oxidative stress. 

Butter may not be the most nutritious food around, but it may have its place in a balanced diet. This popular spread boasts large amounts of a particular vitamin that supports eye and skin health, among other benefits. Here's what you should know about it. 

This is why you should eat butter more often

Despite its bad rap, butter can be a healthy choice when consumed in moderation. First of all, it's an excellent source of vitamin A. This fat-soluble nutrient regulates cell growth, promotes good vision, and helps your body produce white blood cells, per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A diet low in vitamin A can lead to dry skin, night blindness, fatigue, and impaired immune function. 

Butter is also a good source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A. Diets rich in carotenoids may protect against chronic diseases, boost immune function, and slow the progression of macular degeneration, according to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

One tablespoon of butter provides 11% of the recommended daily vitamin A intake (per MyFoodData). On top of that, it's high in fat, making it easier for your body to absorb certain nutrients. "The fat content in butter also increases absorption of essential vitamins in foods paired with it, namely vitamins A, D, E, and K. Without fat, we actually don't absorb these vitamins appropriately," dietitian Lauren Minchen told Real Simple

Ideally, opt for grass-fed butter to increase your intake of healthy fats, recommends Minchen. If you're allergic or intolerant to dairy, fill up on tomatoes, beef liver, eggs, and other foods rich in vitamin A. Green, orange, and yellow vegetables all contain this essential nutrient, says Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.