Buttermilk is a dairy drink that is usually obtained after a churning process. It is typically made by churning curd or yogurt. The liquid left over after churning and removing butter or cream is known as buttermilk. Buttermilk is served as a traditional drink in countries like India and Pakistan. It can be consumed as a sweet or salty drink and is sometimes used with a little bit of seasoning.
Buttermilk is a probiotic food which is considered good for maintaining digestive health. Probiotics are considered “good” microbes and help balance the bacterial activity in the gut. Probiotics have been used in the treatment of various digestive disorders. They are also beneficial for the immune system. Dr Joseph Brasco, a renowned digestive health expert and author of numerous nutrition and health books, says “Probiotics are beneficial microflora that play a critical role in maintaining good health”.
Buttermilk consumed without the addition of salt or sugar can be heart healthy. It is reported to have a cholesterol lowering effect and is also said to be beneficial for people suffering from hypertension. This is evidenced by two studies:
- A clinical trial carried out by Conway and fellow-scientists and published in 2013, concluded that buttermilk can interfere with cholesterol absorption in the intestine, thereby reducing blood cholesterol concentration in both men and women.
- The same team published the results of another investigation in 2014, in which they found that buttermilk consumed for a short period of time can reduce blood pressure in people who are moderately hypertensive.
Every cup of cultured buttermilk provides:
- 290 mg of calcium
- 8 g protein
- 2.2 g of fat
- 12 g of total carbohydrate
- Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Potassium, Phosphorus etc.
- 99 calories
In essence, buttermilk is similar to milk in nutrient content, but also has probiotics, as it is prepared from yogurt.
Thus, buttermilk could be considered a healthy beverage option when compared to sugar drinks and fruit juices. It is a refreshing beverage with a tangy taste. Buttermilk can be consumed with minimal amounts of sugar or salt to suit one’s taste. Since it also helps in digestion, it is generally consumed when eating oily and rich foods.
Buttermilk is a low calorie beverage that provides essential and beneficial nutrients. Although it should be noted that probiotics could potentially trigger allergic reactions, they are generally considered safe since the bacteria are normal components of the body.
Given all the benefits that buttermilk bestows on the human body, consuming buttermilk could be a very good way of getting probiotics into our system, without compromising taste.
(2015 Mar 19). Health Benefits of Buttermilk. Retrieved from http://www.naturalone.org/health-benefits-of-buttermilk
Probiotics. Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/hic_What_We_Eat_Affects_How_We_Feel/hic_Keeping_Your_Digestive_Tract_Healthy/hic-Probiotics
The Benefits of Probiotics. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/alternative-and-complementary-medicine/the-benefits-of-probiotics
Conway, et al., (2014) Effect of buttermilk consumption on blood pressure in moderately hypercholesterolemic men and women. Nutrition 30(1):116-119. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24206823
Conway, et al., (2013). Impact of buttermilk consumption on plasma lipids and surrogate markers of cholesterol homeostasis in men and women. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease 23(12):1255-1262
Astrup, A. (2014). Yogurt and dairy product consumption to prevent cardiometabolic diseases: epidemiologic and experimental studies. Am J Clin Nutr, 99 (5 Suppl), pp. 1235S-42S. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24695891