Is Butter Healthy? Part Two: Vitamin A Benefits

Are you eating butter yet? Earlier this week we explored the benefits of butyric acid in butter, and today we're going talk about the vitamin A benefits.

Is Butter Healthy? Vitamin A Benefits

Weston A. Price found vitamin A to be a missing component in the modern diet compared to the diet of traditional cultures at the time. He noted that the cultures eating tradition foods consumed far more vitamin A than people who lived on modern fare. Here are just a few of the many vitamin A benefits:
  • Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it protects us from free radical damage in the body.
  • Protein digestion is improved by vitamin A.
  • Vitamin A supports bone health.
  • It is vitally important for thyroid health.
  • Vitamin A enhances RNA production.
  • According to Dr. Campbell-McBride in Gut and Psychology Syndrome, vitamin A is also crucial for healing the gut.

But I Get My Vitamin A From Carrots!

Do you? The principle form of vitamin A in carrots (and other plant foods) is beta-carotene. The body cannot use beta-carotene as it is--it has to convert it to a more usable form of vitamin A. And not everyone can make this conversion easily. Particularly infants, children, the elderly, diabetics, and those with poor thyroid function may not be able to make the conversion as needed. The vitamin A in animal foods is in a far more bioavailable form.

Vitamin A and Butter: The Perfect Paring

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it needs fat to be fully utilized. This make butter a truly synergistic food: it combines vitamin A with important fatty acids all in one package.

Another reason to love the vitamin A in butter? It's so darn delicious! Let's face it: it's not easy for everyone to eat organ meats and seafood (both excellent sources of vitamin A). Butter, however, is something most everyone can appreciate. It's easy to pile it on homemade bread, cook scrambled eggs with it, blend into mashed potatoes... you get the idea.

The Best Butter for Vitamin A

Maybe you've noticed: butter from grass-fed cows has more vitamin A than conventional butter! I've found that most commercial butters have about 6% of the RDA of vitamin A per serving. Higher-quality butter has 8% and I've even seen as high as 10% if find a really good brand. So remember: you get your money's worth when you buy better butter (yes, that is a tongue twister).

Now we're starting to get some traction on the road to finding the answer to our theme question: is butter healthy? Are you a believer yet? If not, stay tuned. We'll be talking lots more about butter during the next few weeks!

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop!

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