Do you have the habit of skipping buttermilk in your meals? Tempted by fast foods and other junk, we at times tend to take ‘real foods’ for granted, don’t we? This post talks about buttermilk and it’s many miraculous benefits! Read on to know what they are!
What Is Buttermilk?
Buttermilk is not a blend of milk and butter. It is a derivative of the butter mixing process. Found in most Indian households and drunk daily – either by itself or after a meal, buttermilk is prepared using a few spoons of natural yogurt mixed with water and blended well. Often some spices such as cumin powder, pepper, ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and coriander leaves are crushed and added to the mixture to enhance its taste and therapeutic benefits.
The drink is often consumed in Indian households as a digestive or during summer months to keep the body cool. It is definitely a refreshing drink to have. Buttermilk is also known as ‘Chaas’ or ‘Chaach’ in Hindi, ‘Majjiga’ in Telugu, ‘Neer Mooru’ in Tamil, ‘Morum Vellum’ in Malayalam, ‘Majjige Huli in Kannada, ‘Chasa’ in Gujarati, ‘Thaak’ in Marathi, and ‘Ghola’ in Bengali.
Buttermilk In Ancient Texts:
In Ayurveda, buttermilk is used both to maintain health and as a treatment against diseases. There are reasons behind these uses of buttermilk for health. It is easy to digest, has astringent properties and a sour taste. It improves digestion and alleviates the feeling of puffiness. It is a natural treatment against swelling, irritation and digestive disorders, gastrointestinal ailments, spleen maladies, anaemia and lack of appetite.
Are There Different Types Of Buttermilk?
As the starting material – milk is available in several varieties; buttermilk prepared from natural yogurt is of four types with specific actions. Buttermilk made of full cream yogurt with added sugar calms the digestive tract and is wholesome in nature. It is very similar to natural yogurt in its attributes. No cream buttermilk calms the feeling of bloating and is good for diabetics or those seeking to lose weight. Buttermilk with half proportion of water improves power and digestion. No fat buttermilk is naturally cooling and reduces tiredness. Now, let’s move on to the benefits of butter milk!
1. Contains All Essential Macronutrients:
Buttermilk is a complete food. It is nutritive and contains all the elements necessary for a good balanced diet. It has proteins, carbohydrates, minimal lipids, vitamins and essential enzymes and makes for a complete meal anywhere, anytime. It should be included in all diets and be consumed daily. As over 90 percent of buttermilk is water, its consumption helps to maintain the water balance of the body. It is absorbed slowly from the intestines as its contents are mostly combined with proteins. It is better to drink buttermilk than any other flavored drink or just plain water. Fermented buttermilk is sour to taste, but biologically is very nutritive for the human body and tissues.
2. Has A Cooling Effect On The Digestive Tract:
Buttermilk has a tendency to wash down spicy food and soothes the lining of the stomach when consumed after a piquant meal. The additives of ginger, cumin powder and other condiments also relieve the stomach of any irritation that may have been caused due to the food. Buttermilk is instrumental in reducing body heat. It is well-liked by women, both pre- and post-menopausal, as it reduces body heat and alleviates many symptoms these women suffer from. For those looking for reprieve from hot flashes, buttermilk is a great way to counterbalance these bothersome symptoms. Even men who have a high metabolic rate and body temperature can avail of the advantages of buttermilk to reduce body heat.
3. Helps Wash Down Oily Food:
Feeling bloated after a heavy meal? A glass of buttermilk can make you feel a lot better. The ginger, cumin, coriander and other spices aid in improving digestion and ease you, thereby making you feel less over stuffed. Besides that, buttermilk is very efficient in washing down oils and fat, which line the inner walls of the food pipe and stomach. Usually after a rich and heavy meal, you will feel lazy and drowsy. However, a glass of buttermilk will rejuvenate you. You will begin to feel more agile right after consuming it.
4. Encourages Digestion And Treats Stomach Ailments:
Buttermilk has a fair amount of acid in it which works against bacteria and helps clear stomach and aids in digestion. All the condiments added to buttermilk make very good digestive agents. Ginger, pepper and cumin all make excellent digestive properties. As they are carminative substances, they expel gas from the stomach. Consumed together they have a cooling and digestive effect on the gastrointestinal tract. A preparation of buttermilk drunk regularly also helps gastrointestinal conditions. Some of the digestive ailments cured by buttermilk include:
- Inability to consume lactose
- Irregular bowel movements
- Cancer of the colon
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Stomach infections
5. Effective Against Dehydration:
Made from yogurt with added salt and spices, buttermilk is an effective therapy to prevent dehydration. It is full of electrolytes and is one of the best drinks to fight against the heat and loss of water from the body. In summer, it is truly a drink to relish. Hence buttermilk benefits in summer by reducing summer-related issues, such as prickly heat and general uneasiness.
6. Provides Calcium Without The Fat:
Very often people believe that as it is called buttermilk, it must be full of fat and calories. However, it has less fat than even normal whole milk. Milk contains an important ingredient – calcium. Milk also is loaded with fats. Sometimes lactose intolerant persons (those who have to refrain from consuming milk) have no other source of natural calcium. These people can have their required intake by consuming buttermilk. It will not cause any adverse reaction as the lactose has been transformed to lactic acid by the healthy bacteria present in buttermilk. Calcium supports cell communication and the contraction of muscles. Proper nutrition plays an important role in preventing and treating bone disorders such as osteoporosis. Buttermilk provides calcium and nutritional supplements without the added calories. Getting the required calcium in your meal plan helps slow bone loss as one grows older. It provides sustenance for new bone development and keeps off osteoporosis. As a result of all these qualities, including buttermilk into one’s daily diet is a sound choice for the health-aware consumer.
[ Read: Amazing Benefits Of Milk ]
7. Rich In Vitamins:
Buttermilk is a treasure trove of vitamins such as B complex vitamins and Vitamin D. This makes buttermilk a good choice to overcome weakness and anemia caused by vitamin insufficiency. Vitamin D present in buttermilk strengthens the immune system, making it less susceptible to infections. One serving of this drink gives you over 21 percent of the suggested daily intake.
8. Riboflavin Helps Detoxify The Body:
Buttermilk contains riboflavin, which is essential for converting the consumed food to energy, important in the secretion of hormones and an aid in digestion. The body utilizes riboflavin to activate enzymes in the cells, hence driving energy production. It also aids liver function and assists detoxification of the body. Is has anti-oxidation properties.
9. Decreases Blood Pressure:
There are substances found in buttermilk, which studies indicate have an abundance of bioactive proteins. These help lower cholesterol and are antibacterial and antiviral in nature. Drinking buttermilk regularly has shown to lower blood pressure significantly.
10. Assists In Lowering Cholesterol:
A natural remedy for lowering and controlling blood cholesterol is buttermilk. Its constituents are very effective in keeping cholesterol under check. Even Ayurveda texts have extolled the virtues of consuming buttermilk for good health.
11. Controls Stomach Acidity:
A powerful drink that combats stomach reflux and acidity, buttermilk with its spices and ginger, helps decrease the burning sensation because of stomach acid reflux or a bout of acidity. It eases the stomach lining which may have become irritated because of spicy or oily food.
12. Eases Constipation:
Buttermilk is a natural therapy often used to comfort the ballooning of the stomach, preventing constipation and other stomach disorders. Incorrect food and timings of meals can put pressure on the digestive system, leading to diarrhoea or constipation at times. Regularly consume buttermilk to ease this condition. If you suffer from constipation, consuming a glass of buttermilk will facilitate bowel movements. This also is true for people, who don’t consume adequate amounts of fibre.
13. Helps To Lose Weight:
How do you lose weight but still not feel dehydrated and weak? Buttermilk offers nutrition and enzymes needed by the body without the calories and fat found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese and so on. Drinking it regularly makes sure you remain hydrated and energetic. It provides proteins, vitamins, minerals, calcium, potassium, magnesium and other enzymes required to maintain energy levels. It is a very helpful drink that satisfies hunger, thereby being the perfect drink for people yearning to lose weight. The satiation prevents people from binge snacking or eating unhealthy junk food.
14. Has Several Culinary Applications:
Buttermilk has several uses in cooking as well. As it’s a heady mix of acids, calcium and various enzymes, it is effective and can also be used to tenderize meat. It can also be used to flavour poultry and several types of seafood. It adds a special taste and flavour to dishes in which it is used. It is indispensable in making cakes, and light succulent biscuits and even can be used to make waffles and pancakes. Corn bread made using buttermilk remains moist and doesn’t dry out like other corn bread made from other recipes normally. Chicken when soaked in buttermilk, then fried is juicier and tender. Many recipes originating in the East and Mediterranean regions recommend marinating meat of goat and lamb in buttermilk to enhance taste and texture. It is a known fact in hunting communities that buttermilk brine subdues the raw flavour of wild turkey and venison, making it more palatable. The calcium in this dairy product activates enzymes of the muscle and connective tissue thereby breaking down proteins and making the meat softer and less stringy. Ferment buttermilk and use in cold soups during the summer season. You will love the flavour it imparts and also replenish the nutrients you lose due to sweating. Jams, berries and even vegetable purees such as spinach and broccoli can be added to buttermilk to make your own special drink with different flavours.
15. Probiotics Benefit Gastrointestinal Tract:
Buttermilk is rich in bacteria which are beneficial to the gastrointestinal tract. Such bacteria are called probiotics. Healthy bacteria are present in everybody’s colon, and have a symbiotic nature with the body – for nutrition and a place to reside these bacteria help a person’s well-being. Buttermilk bacteria are those of lactic acid as they convert lactose into lactic acid. They assist in the breaking down of food for the easy absorption of nutrients. They are also considered to be helpful in the overall gastrointestinal health, and lowering incidences of irritable bowel syndrome. Remember, IBS does not have a cure and buttermilk could be the perfect antidote for the condition. They act by influencing the growth of good bacteria and reduce bad bacteria from flourishing in the gut. Here is also a list of all the good things these bacteria do:
- Synthesize vitamins
- Assist in digestion
- Enhance Immunity
- Build nutrients
- Counter cardiovascular diseases
- Defend against carcinogens
16. Aids In Building Body Mass:
Buttermilk also increases protein intake. Every cell in the body comprises of proteins. All tissues depend on proteins to repair damage and maintain themselves. As this drink is amply rich in proteins, which is essential for building muscles, buttermilk is the drink of choice for many body builders. It provides vitamins for good body health and is nutritious without adding unnecessary calories. Protein is the key for robust bones, tough muscles and healthy skin. This makes buttermilk indispensable in any diet regimen.
17. Strengthens Body’s Skeletal Frame:
Made by watering down yogurt, buttermilk contains all the goodness of milk and more. It is a rich source of calcium, an essential building block for the bones and skeletal system of the body. It also helps the teeth become strong. You can give your child buttermilk for strong and healthy bones and teeth. The calcium in this drink gets absorbed by the bone tissue and helps in maintaining bone density. It also provides nourishment to the tissues of the heart and other organs, including nerves and muscles.
18. Buttermilk Is Used For Skin Care And Cosmetics:
Another benefit of drinking buttermilk is to keep the digestive tract healthy and this reflects in the skin. With no toxins present in the body, the skin will be smoother and zit-free. It also moisturizes the skin, giving it a natural glow and improves elasticity. A buttermilk bath is also very relaxing and soothing. To avail the benefits of buttermilk, it is not necessary to drink it at all. It provides several benefits to the skin and as it is rich in probiotic lactic acid; it is one of the pest peel-off facial masks you can use. It is used for exfoliating skin, brightening it and as well as making it soft. It can also be useful to treat freckles. So now you can go in the sun without worries! It is a great facial wash or mask for preventing premature aging. Regular use of buttermilk helps tighten the skin and keeps it wrinkle-free and youthful. Spots and other blemishes are controlled and get diminished in time with regular use of buttermilk because of the astringent properties of lactic acid. A mixture of honey and egg can enhance the benefits of using buttermilk. It helps remove sun tan and gives a glow to the skin. Buttermilk with avocado and honey makes a nutritive hair mask. Apply it once a week to make your hair smooth and silky.
19. Raises Immune Levels By Warding Off Illnesses:
This drink is rich in lactic acid bacteria. This bacterium boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off detrimental pathogens present in everyday foods. Many benefits of buttermilk are related to keeping illnesses at bay by acting on bacteria. As it has almost half the amount of calories than whole milk and also significantly lower fat content, it can be consumed without hesitation by weight watchers, those suffering from obesity related issues and diabetes. It also helps keep blood pressure in check. Special proteins in buttermilk regulate the blood pressure and the high levels of elements such as calcium, potassium and magnesium help in lowering blood pressure. However, do not add excess salt as it diminishes the good properties of this nutritive drink. As a probiotic, it is active against vaginal infections and infections of the urinary tract. Candida infections are a common problem in diabetic women and consumption of buttermilk regularly has shown a decrease in such incidences.
20. Natural Therapy Against Ulcers:
Several case studies have been documented to prove that drinking buttermilk is a natural therapy against ulcers. As buttermilk helps neutralize acids in the stomach by coating the stomach lining, it prevents heartburn and keeps the acids from moving up into the oesophagus. This drink is great for people suffering from GERD. Overall, because of its cooling effect, ulcers too are prevented from erupting.
21. Active Against Thrush:
Consuming two or three glasses of buttermilk in a day is a good therapy for thrush. The good healthy bacteria in buttermilk do not support the growth of yeast. Hold the buttermilk in the mouth cavity for a few seconds before swallowing it or alternatively use it as a mouthwash and spit it out. It will help cure mouth ulcers and sores.
22. Useful Against Sunburns:
If you have been in the sun for too long and your skin is reddened and burning, then try this recipe for instant relief. Half a cup of buttermilk with equal amounts of tomato juice should be mixed and applied over the affected areas. Let it remain for about an hour. Wash as usual. It will leave the skin considerably cooler and also take the pain out of the stretched sunburnt skin and lessen the redness.
23. Can Be Used To Treat Haemorrhoids:
Here comes one of the most effective health benefits of buttermilk. If you are suffering from haemorrhoids and have tried several medications with no suitable results, then try adding a cup of buttermilk to a mixture of rice and banana. Consume it twice a day to get some respite from haemorrhoids.
24. Fight Colds With Buttermilk:
Buttermilk is well known as an antidote to fight the common cold and runny nose. Mix some crushed garlic and ginger with buttermilk and have a few times in the day.
[ Read: Health Benefits Of Almond ]
25. Beneficial To The Food Industry:
The dry matter in buttermilk – buttermilk powder – has several applications in the food industry. It is used in whipped cream, as it’s a good emulsifier. It is also added to milk based drinks in order to improve their nutritive content without causing the calorie content to rise. This may come as a surprise, but you can shine your Brassware by using a cloth dipped in buttermilk. Prepare a slightly more concentrate concoction of plain yogurt and water and use it as a solution to polish your brassware. The lactic acid eats away the tarnish leaving your brass articles shining and spotless.
Buttermilk is a healthy, refreshing coolant that lowers body heat, especially when the temperature is soaring and the sun is beating down relentlessly. It will make you feel cool even on the hottest summer’s day. Lactic acid, the main constituent in this drink develops the immune system of the human body and keeps it fit against diseases and bacterial infections. Buttermilk is also an important food in weight loss diets, as it has all essential nutrients and vitamins sans calories. It aids digestion and helps maintain water balance and a good, healthy gastrointestinal tract.
Do you know of any other buttermilk benefits? Do share with us in the comments section below!
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