08 July, 2011
Vitamins in Butter
When you think about getting vitamins from food, the last source you think of is butter. We are indoctrinated into thinking that butter holds no beneficial qualities beyond taste. Butter does more than make green vegetables taste better. Along with the fat and minerals, butter contains vitamins that are necessary for health.
Vitamin A is essential to for healthy teeth, skin, tissues, membranes, bones, eyes and respiratory function. Nearly every bodily function requires Vitamin A, in some capacity, to work properly. Vitamin A is also a strong antioxidant vitamin, which helps fight off many diseases, including cancer. The 2010 issue of "Nutrition and Cancer" reports that a low intake of Vitamin A is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer. If you eat butter, you contribute to your Vitamin A intake. One tbsp. of butter contains 350 IU of Vitamin A, or 7 percent of the recommended daily value, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Remember that butter contains a high amount of fat, so while 1 tbsp. will contribute to your Vitamin A intake, you don't want to increase your butter intake just to get your daily allowance of Vitamin A.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant vitamin that works together with Vitamin A to fight off damage causing molecules in the body. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that, along with cancer prevention, Vitamin E participates in the health of the eyes, heart and brain. The amount of Vitamin E in 1 tbsp. of butter is only 0.3 mg, or 2 percent of the recommended daily intake. Just as with Vitamin A, you don't want to up your butter intake to increase your Vitamin E intake. However, one benefit of getting Vitamin E from butter is that Vitamin E requires fat in the digestive tract to be absorbed, which means the Vitamin E in butter is Vitamin E that is easily absorbed into the system.
Vitamin K doesn't receive too many accolades and awards, but it is a vitamin that is necessary for overall body health. Vitamin K's major role is to make sure the blood clots properly--if it didn't, we would bleed to death. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that along with clotting the blood, Vitamin K has a role in healthy bone production, as well as the production and protection of cells within the body. One tbsp. of butter contains 1 mcg of Vitamin K, or 1 percent of the recommended daily intake.
One tbsp. of butter also contains trace amounts of various B vitamins, such as folate, Vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. The B vitamins all assist in metabolism, helping the body convert food into energy. They also are important to the production of red blood cells, according to the NIH.
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