10 Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Buttermilk

Last updated on August 29th, 2022

People in India have been enjoying this divine concoction for thousands of years for its miraculous health benefits. Contrary to its name, buttermilk is a low-fat drink that is originally leftover sour milk that is obtained in the process of skimming butter from the fermented milk. However, during this churning process, a little sour curd milk is also left in the vessel, which is full of calcium, protein, vitamins, and lots of good bacteria.

This cooling summer drink also makes an excellent medicine and is effective against a host of abdominal problems. Rich in calcium,  iron, vitamin C, carbohydrates, and proteins, buttermilk also aids in boosting immunity and is good for gut health. The best thing about buttermilk is its low-fat content which makes it a perfect drink for weight loss.

Buttermilk is obtained by diluting yogurt and churning it with water; the kind of curd, the quantity of water, and the ratio of butter in it can change its taste and properties. Here are the five widely popular types of buttermilk:

Full cream Buttermilk: This kind of buttermilk is extracted from full cream curd which is churned without water.

No cream Buttermilk: For this skimmed milk curd is used, which is churned without adding any water.

Buttermilk: This type of buttermilk is obtained by churning a 100:25 ratio of curd: to water and is one of the widely used methods of preparing buttermilk.

Half water Buttermilk: As the name suggests it requires 100 ml of curd and 50 ml of water for the churning process that gets us half-water buttermilk.

Fat-free Buttermilk: This type of buttermilk is obtained after taking out the whole butter from the churned curd. During this process, no butter is left in the watery leftover portion.

Nutritional Values of Buttermilk

buttermilk for acidity

Packed with the goodness of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, and vitamin B12, buttermilk is one of the most nutrient-rich beverages with few calories and fat content. The riboflavin present in buttermilk is essential for your body’s energy production.

This table represents several nutrients and their amounts present in one cup of buttermilk:

Nutritional Value of Buttermilk
Nutrients (in one cup of Buttermilk) Its amount
Calories 110
Protein 9 grams
Fat 3 grams
Carbohydrates 13 grams
Fiber Less than 1 gram
Sugar 12 grams

Glycemic Index of Buttermilk

With a glycemic index (GI) of 35, buttermilk is one of the safe drinks to be consumed by diabetics.

Through glycemic index, healthcare professionals determine whether a food is good for diabetics or not as it tells how effectively a food containing carbohydrates raises blood sugar levels.

Based on GI value, foods can be ranked between 0 to 100, where food items falling under 1 to 55 are considered low GI foods, 56 to 69 medium GI while 70 and higher are categorized as high GI foods.

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Health Benefits of Buttermilk

Vouched for its several health benefits, buttermilk is highly talked about in Ayurveda- India’s traditional medicinal system, where it is said that “He who uses takra (buttermilk) daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita (nectar) is for the gods, takra is to humans.”

A great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, buttermilk helps in developing strong muscles, skin, and bones. Vitamin A in buttermilk plays a significant role in maintaining the health of your eyes, improving your immune system, and maintaining the health of your kidneys, lungs, and heart.

The probiotic properties of buttermilk take care of your overall gut health and greatly help in digestion and bowel movement. Among its innumerable health benefits here are some prominent properties of buttermilk that make it a super drink:

Helps Treat Acidity

Buttermilk is famously used for its anti-acidic properties due to the presence of probiotics- good bacteria which are known to treat chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease and help reduce the negative effects of certain drugs. Drinking buttermilk daily can help people who suffer from frequent acid refluxes.

Including buttermilk in your daily diet after every meal can help with digestion and reduce acidity. To enhance its effectiveness you can also add some seasonings, such as dried ginger or pepper.

Also Read: Health Benefits of Apple

Relieves Constipation

buttermilk for bones

Buttermilk is one of the best home remedies to treat gut ailments. Healthy bacterias found in buttermilk help improve your digestive system and metabolism. It is also a boon for people who suffer from constipation. Daily consumption of buttermilk has been found to help in maintaining regular bowel movements and treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) due to its high fiber content.

The probiotic microorganisms in buttermilk not only aid in digestion but also inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that can cause stomach illnesses.

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Reduces Body Heat

Buttermilk is widely consumed during summer time to get instant energy and relief from the sweltering heat. Drinking it can provide a cooling effect on your body, especially on your digestive system. To get instant relief from high temperatures, a glass of buttermilk is always a good option.

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Keeps Body Hydrated

Packed with electrolytes, buttermilk is the ideal beverage for summer time. Water constitutes 90% of buttermilk that helps keep your body hydrated and electrolytes such as potassium, iron, and zinc in it helps replenish your body for the lost electrolytes.

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Removes Toxins

Buttermilk includes riboflavin also known as vitamin B2, which is responsible for turning food into energy and is one of the main vitamins from the B complex series. Rich in iron and Riboflavin, buttermilk enhances liver function as the former helps your liver to break down toxins while the latter improves its detox function.

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Great Source of Vitamins and Nutrients

Loaded with several essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, calcium, iron, and riboflavin (vitamin B), buttermilk helps balance vitamin deficiencies. It is also an excellent source of Zinc and one cup of buttermilk is estimated to have around 9 to 13% of the adult male and female’s daily zinc requirement, respectively. Notably, Zinc protects the cells from damage, and helps clotting blood and wound healing.

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Strengthen Bones

Packed with the goodness of calcium, buttermilk is the best drink that takes care of your bone structure. Calcium is one of the most essential minerals for your body which is required in large quantities for your bones, teeth, and blood.

For people with lactose intolerance, who can not get their daily dose of calcium from dairy products, buttermilk is a lifesaving beverage as it fulfills their calcium requirement without interfering with their allergy. Also, buttermilk is fat-free so it’s the best beverage choice for people who are watching their weight and want a healthy drink for their diet plan.

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Controls Cholesterol Levels

In the ancient Indian medical journal, Ayurveda, it has been stated that daily consumption of buttermilk can lower cholesterol levels. Moreover, modern science also supports these claims and has established that individuals with high cholesterol levels who consume small quantities of buttermilk daily are found to have decreased triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels. Hence, including buttermilk in your diet can be healthy for your heart as maintaining good cholesterol levels will greatly benefit your health and will remarkably reduce the chances of getting any heart disease or strokes.

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Good for Hypertension

Known for its cholesterol-lowering qualities, buttermilk is often advised for people with high blood pressure. The bioactive proteins present in buttermilk are also responsible for maintaining normal blood pressure.

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Prevents Infections

Buttermilk contains very essential globules of fat that are known as the Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) and it consists of compounds with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. Therefore, including buttermilk in your diet can provide you with many health benefits and help you avoid a number of illnesses and health issues.

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Recipes to Enjoy Buttermilk

buttermilk for diabetes

A divine beverage that is obtained from curd after churning it for butter, buttermilk has the goodness of both milk and yogurt. Its probiotics take care of your gut while calcium and other micronutrients present in it help your body in many other ways. From strengthening your bones to lowering your cholesterol levels this summer drink can be a panacea for many ailments. To get all its benefits you can include it in your everyday diet and make a variety of dishes using this super beneficial byproduct of butter making. ​​

Buttermilk is frequently used in cooking and could be consumed on its own or with some spices to enhance its taste. Buttermilk is incredibly adaptable and may be used in a variety of cuisines, including salads, smoothies, and soups. From beverages to meals, here are some recipes that can be made using buttermilk:

Masala Buttermilk

To beat the heat in summers, nothing could be better than a glass of masala buttermilk. Filled with nutrients, masala buttermilk not only quenches your thirst but also revives your system with several essential minerals and micro-nutrients and lowers your body temperature. To make this magical drink you need:

Ingredients Needed

Curd: ¼ cup

Water: 1 cup

Salt: as per taste

Roasted cumin powder: ½ teaspoon

Mint leaves

Coriander leaves

Chopped ginger/ dry ginger powder: optional

Method for Preparation

  • Take ¼ cup of curd in a pot and add a cup of chilled water to it.
  • Step 2: Sprinkle some salt, and roasted cumin powder and mix everything in with the help of a churner or blender.
  • You can garnish it with coriander leaves, mint leaves, or curry leaves.
  • Serve it chilled.

Mor Sambar with Buttermilk

Made with buttermilk, Mor sambar or Yogurt sambar is prepared using lentils, yogurt, and ground coconut masala paste. Unlike the typical sambar recipe, no tamarind is required for this traditional sambar as yogurt is used for sourness.

Ingredients for Mor Sambar

Okra: 8 to 10 medium-sized, cut into ½”

Toor dal: ½ cup split yellow peas

Curd: 1 cup thick curd diluted in 1 cup of water

For Grinding

Coriander seeds: 1 tablespoon

Chana dal: 1 tablespoon

Coconut: 3 tablespoons of grated fresh or frozen coconut

Red chilies: 2

For tempering

Oil: 1 teaspoon

Mustard seeds: ¼ teaspoon

Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds): ⅛ teaspoon

Red chilly: 1 or 2

Curry leaves: few

Instructions to Cook

Step 1: In a pressure cooker boil the lentil with turmeric powder and set it aside. The texture of the dal should be thick.

Step 2: Fry chopped okras in a skillet using a spoonful of oil. Add a little water after one minute of frying to help the okras soften.

Step 3: Add the grounded paste and the cooked dal to your soft okras. Mix well and allow it to boil for one minute.

Step 4: Now add the yogurt mixture and sim your burner. Let it cook for five minutes until your sambhar begins to thicken. Now turn off the flame and garnish it with coriander leaves.

For tempering

Step 1: In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter. Now add some curry leaves, and red chilies, and fry for a second.

Step 2: Now pour this oil over the cooked mor sambar. Add salt and mix well. Serve it with rice.

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Side Effects of Buttermilk

butteremilk recipes

Despite its several health advantages, buttermilk can still cause some ailments or trigger allergic reactions in some people if not taken in moderation. This divine beverage can cause discomfort in people with lactose intolerance. Even though bacteria in it help break down the lactose- a naturally occurring sugar that many are allergic to, buttermilk can still cause troubles such as gas, diarrhea, and upset stomach to people with lactose intolerance as it is still a dairy product. Hence the hack to avoid such problems is to drink a moderate quantity of buttermilk.

Also, buttermilk consumption should be avoided by people who are attempting to cut back on their calorie intake as it has a lot of calories. So if you are on a calorie deficit diet then stick to just one or two 8-ounce cups each day.

Its sodium content is also a cause of concern for people with hypertension and kidney problems. Buttermilk has a lot of sodium content and should be avoided if you are one with any of these health conditions.

Buttermilk can also worsen your cold, hence should not be consumed at night if you have a fever or cold.

Since buttermilk is extracted from a dairy product, it contains many properties that milk and yogurt have. As a result, it should be avoided by those who are allergic to milk as this milk product is potent enough to trigger allergic reactions similar to milk allergies and may cause nausea, vomiting, wheezing, hives, upset stomach, and even anaphylaxis.

Another problem lies with its churning process, as buttermilk is extracted after a days-long process, it contacts some microorganisms that can cause throat infections and colds in children.

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Can Diabetics have Buttermilk?

Known for its health benefits, buttermilk is beneficial for everyone, including type 2 diabetes patients. Its low glycemic index makes it an ideal beverage for people with blood sugar conditions or for people who are watching their weight. Even though this super drink comes with the goddess of calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B, D, and E, its consumption portion should be watched and shouldn’t exceed over 150 ml, as advised by some health experts.

To get the most of it, you should drink buttermilk before or just after meals. For diabetics, it can also be served as a mid-meal snack.

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Conclusion

Loaded with nutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B, D, and E, buttermilk is a popular dairy product that offers several health benefits. Buttermilk can help maintain proper body weight, strengthen bone density, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels.

Probiotics present in buttermilk aid with digestion and take very good care of your digestive system. Also, buttermilk is known to prevent the development of a number of stomach disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, stomach infections, irregular bowel movements, lactose intolerance, and colon cancer, when consumed regularly. The fiber and ​​acids present in buttermilk assist with digestion and help to empty your stomach.

This popular summer drink also helps you fight heat and replenish your body with essential minerals. With a low glycemic index, buttermilk benefits diabetic patients.

People who have an allergy to dairy products or are allergic to pollen or have sinus can witness some reactions, hence, they shouldn’t consume buttermilk without consulting their healthcare professional.

Read More: Best Homeopathic Medicines For Diabetes

FAQs:

What is healthier? Buttermilk or regular milk?

As milk can be heavy on your digestive system due to its high-fat content, buttermilk on the other hand is obtained after skimming out the butter, hence, is light on your gut and easy to digest. Also, probiotics in it make buttermilk a healthier choice than milk. Additionally, buttermilk aids in reducing the acidity caused by milk products.

Is buttermilk good for weight loss?

People who are watching their weight and are on low-calorie diets are often advised to drink buttermilk since it has a low-fat content. Buttermilk is also a good option for gym-goers or fitness freaks who are looking for nutrient-rich healthy drinks with low calories. The quantity, however, should be within limits and should not exceed more than 150 ml per day to get the most of it.

Should we avoid having buttermilk at night?

A glass of buttermilk after dinner can help with digestion, sleep, and other things. However, people with pollen allergy or cold should avoid drinking buttermilk at night as it may lead to a sore throat.

Can we add buttermilk to our daily diet?

Yes, adding buttermilk to every day’s diet is an excellent choice. It is a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals that help your body in many ways. Several essential components present in buttermilk such as calcium and riboflavin can enhance your teeth and heart health. Hence, consuming around 8 ounces of buttermilk can give you several health benefits.

Reference

  1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-buttermilk
  2. https://www.easyayurveda.com/2010/12/05/buttermilk-benefits-ayurvedic-explanation/

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

Disclaimer

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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