5 Health Benefits of Buttermilk

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Buttermilk is a type of fermented milk liquid left behind after churning cream or butter. This type of liquid is referred to as the “traditional” buttermilk. Buttermilk is also referred to as tart dairy drinks made by adding lactic acid culture to regular milk. The tartness of buttermilk is due to the lactic acid in milk. The acidity comes from the live culture or beneficial bacteria that ferment lactose. In today’s post, we go in-depth on buttermilk’s health and nutritional benefits:

High in Calcium

Just like any dairy product, buttermilk is a rich source of calcium. Your RDA of calcium is about 1,000 milligrams and a cup of low-fat buttermilk contains about 284 milligrams of this nutrient. A cup serving of buttermilk will satisfy 28% of your RDA of calcium. Calcium is a nutrient that promotes stronger, denser bones. It reduces the risk of bone disease including osteoporosis. Calcium also aids in muscle contraction and supports cell communication.

Loaded with Riboflavin

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin activates certain enzymes in the body to boost energy production. This nutrient aids the liver to filter out toxins in the blood. Riboflavin also facilitates the generation of uric acid, which acts as an antioxidant. A cup serving of buttermilk yields about 377 micrograms of vitamin B2, which satisfies 29% of men’s RDA of this nutrient and 34% of women’s.

High in Protein

Buttermilk is an excellent source of protein too. A single serving of buttermilk satisfies about 8.1 grams of protein, which is equal to the protein content of low-fat milk. A cup of buttermilk will satisfy about 15% and 17% of protein needs for men and women, respectively. Protein helps facilitate muscle growth, tissue repair, and fat breakdown. This nutrient also keeps the bones, muscles, and skin healthy and strong.

Studies show that the protein found in buttermilk contains a special bioactive that reduces bad cholesterol in the system. This protein contains potent antiviral, antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties too. The same study found that buttermilk can reduce blood pressure effectively.

Beneficial Bacteria

Buttermilk is teeming with live beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive tract healthy! Probiotics re-balance the flora of the gastrointestinal tract, reducing the risk of bad bacteria overgrowth. Beneficial bacteria also keep the gut healthy, cutting the risk of cancer, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Since buttermilk is made using live, active cultures of healthy bacteria, it contains probiotics. Probiotics help limit the amount of unhealthy types of bacteria in your digestive tract and may lower your risk for diarrhea and cancer. For those who are taking antibiotics, you can replenish the number of good bacteria in the gut by drinking beverages formulated with probiotics. These drinks will help repopulate the digestive tract with good bacteria.

Studies show that buttermilk aids in reducing acid reflux, especially after a meal. The drink cools down the stomach, soothing irritation and preventing acidity.

Suitable for Lactose-Intolerant Individuals

Unlike regular milk, buttermilk won’t cause gut irritation from lactose. The presence of lactic acid helps break down lactose. Lactose is the compound that causes stomach issues among lactose-intolerant individuals. This doesn’t mean buttermilk is 100% free from lactose, but it’s more tolerable among lactose-intolerant individuals than other dairy products.

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