From popcorn to pasta, butter can help an otherwise dull dish tickle your taste buds. Though the spread has been victim of multiple smear campaigns, when used in moderation, butter boasts a wide variety of health benefits — and it continues to be popular with consumers across the country.

Whether it’s used in baking, cooking or just spread on toast, butter is a staple in many households. Here are seven facts you might not know about it.

1. Improved gastrointestinal health

Butter helps protects the body against gastrointestinal issues since it’s partially comprised of fatty acids called glycosphingolipids that build up mucus layers against bacterial infection.

2. Stronger immune system

Butter is rich in the nutrient carotene, which can turn into disease-fighting antioxidants and contribute to vitamin A levels in the body — playing a big part in boosting the immune system.

3. Healthier heart and eyes

Did you know certain types of cholesterol are good for you? Butter contains high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which helps prevent heart disease and stroke. The beta-carotene in butter also helps prevent eye-related conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.

4. Cancer defense

Butter actively helps in the fight against cancer by promoting cell death in malignant tumors, a process called apoptosis driven by the presence of vitamins that help the immune system do its job.

5. Increased thyroid function

Because butter is packed full of vitamin A, it directly supports endocrine system health and prevents thyroid-related ailments by helping with hormone regulation.

6. Bone repair

Minerals in butter — including manganese, zinc, copper and more — stimulate bone health and regrowth, and keep you from developing osteoporosis and arthritis.

7. The organic option

With increased awareness about healthy food choices and eating organic, the dairy industry is seeing increased butter sales nationwide. In surveys, people say they buy butter for baking and cooking, for better taste, and as a healthy alternative to margarine or flavored spreads.