Buttermilk is a staple in most kitchens and has been around for centuries. It was first made by mixing water with butter and letting it sit at room temperature so that the butter would separate from the milk fats. The resulting mixture would then be strained through cheesecloth or similar material to remove any solids. This original mixture was called "butter whey," which eventually evolved into what we now call buttermilk today.
Buttermilk is a common ingredient in baking and cooking but did you know you can drink buttermilk as a beverage? Not only is buttermilk delicious and rich in nutrients, but it may also help with various health issues. So, what makes buttermilk good for you, and how can you use it? Let's find out!
Buttermilk is a dairy product made from the liquid that remains after churning fresh pasteurized milk until it separates into clotted cream and buttermilk. The churning process causes the fat globules in the milk to coalesce into butter, which rises to the top of the container as it forms and can be removed from the liquid layer underneath.
The remaining liquid, buttermilk, has a tart flavor, and because it's acidic enough, it also has some natural preservative properties. In addition, it also contains protein, vitamins, minerals, and butterfat in a liquid solution. Buttermilk is often sold in grocery stores as a drink and can be used as an ingredient in various recipes.
Buttermilk is an excellent source of several nutrients. 1 cup (245 g) of buttermilk contains4U.S.D.A. (2019). Milk, buttermilk, fluid, cultured, lowfat. Food Data Central. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170874/nutrients:
Buttermilk has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, and it's still a staple in many households today. But why is this creamy drink so popular? Here are some health benefits of adding buttermilk to your diet:
A single cup of buttermilk contains 284 milligrams of calcium4U.S.D.A. (2019). Milk, buttermilk, fluid, cultured, lowfat. Food Data Central. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170874/nutrients, which is more than half of your daily recommended amount. Calcium helps keep your bones strong and healthy1Havard. (n.d.). Calcium. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium/, which can help prevent osteoporosis later in life. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle and break easily6National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2019). Osteoporosis. Health Topics. Retrieved from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/osteoporosis.
Buttermilk is loaded with probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that live inside your gut and help strengthen your immune system. The probiotics found in buttermilk help fight off infections like the common cold and flu. They also help you digest food better by providing an environment where good bacteria can thrive.
Buttermilk is rich in vitamin A and riboflavin (also known as vitamin B2). These vitamins help keep your eyesight sharp and prevent night blindness5Jonathan Smith, Wendy Adams. (2022, Nov). Night blindness. BMJ. Retrieved from https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-us/964 and cataracts2National Eye Institute. (2022, Aug). Cataracts. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts, a condition that causes the eye's lens to turn cloudy, which can happen if your body doesn't get enough vitamin A or riboflavin regularly.
Buttermilk is also an excellent source of protein. A single cup contains almost 10 grams of protein, which helps keep you feeling full longer so, you don't overeat during meals and snacks throughout the day. Protein also helps build muscle mass and keeps your metabolism running efficiently so that you burn calories faster than normal rates, which may help in weight loss.
One study3V. Conway., et al. (2013). Impact of buttermilk consumption on plasma lipids and surrogate markers of cholesterol homeostasis in men and women. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. DOI:10.1016/j.numecd.2013.03.003 also proved that buttermilk contains a sphingolipid compound, which is part of the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) in buttermilk. This compound may inhibit cholesterol absorption in your gut, reducing its levels in the body.
Buttermilk is a rich source of potassium. Research7CDC. (2022). Sodium, Potassium and Health. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/salt/potassium.htm#:~:text=Increasing%20potassium%20intake%20can%20help,can%20raise%20your%20blood%20pressure suggests that this nutrient may help lower blood pressure levels. This is because potassium helps to reduce the amount of salt in your body, which can cause an increase in blood pressure levels over time.
Buttermilk is a great drink for lactose-intolerant people. It's also great in recipes that call for milk since it has a similar consistency to milk. Unfortunately, buttermilk also has a few disadvantages:
If you're allergic to milk or other dairy products, then you might want to skip using buttermilk in favor of something else. There are plenty of substitutes out there, so don't worry you'll be able to find something delicious that works for your dietary needs.
Buttermilk can be expensive compared with other types of milk; its low-fat content means that you'll need to use more than normal when baking cakes or other desserts, and some people find its flavor too strong or sour when used as an ingredient in other dishes like pancakes.
If you're trying to cut down on sodium because of high blood pressure or other health issues, buttermilk might not be the best option for you. It can be high in sodium, as much as 363 milligrams per cup.
Buttermilk is made up of milk sugars and lactic acid, which is why it can be a great substitute for milk in recipes, but it can also cause lactose intolerance if you're sensitive to those sugars. If you're concerned about your sensitivity, try this test: take a sip of buttermilk and see how your body reacts. If it doesn't agree with you, then steer clear of buttermilk in the future.
Buttermilk is a drink you can enjoy in various ways. The most common way is to drink it plain as if it were a glass of regular milk or water. However, there are other ways to enjoy buttermilk. Here are just a few:
This is an excellent way to cool down on a hot afternoon, especially if you're sitting outside in the sun. A pitcher of chilled buttermilk will keep you hydrated while keeping things simple for your guests and if you're not sure what drinks go well with this classic summertime treat, try adding some lemon slices or mint leaves for an extra kick.
This is the most traditional way to enjoy buttermilk, and it has the added benefit of being incredibly healthy for you. Cultured buttermilk provides your body with probiotics, which are important for gut health and overall wellness. Plus, it's delicious and easy to make simply add 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar per cup of milk and let stand for 10 minutes (no cooking required). You can then drink it as-is or use it in recipes or smoothies.
If you're looking for a more flavorful option, try adding some fruits or vegetables to your buttermilk smoothie or shake. Try adding some strawberries, bananas, or kiwi for a fruity flavor, cucumbers or celery for some crunch, or spinach for an earthy flavor.
You can also add some chocolate to your buttermilk shake or smoothie. If you want something sweeter and richer tasting than cocoa powder alone, try adding Nutella instead. It will give your drink an extra creamy texture while enhancing the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream base with its chocolatey goodness.
You probably don't think about this as a drink option either, but cultured buttermilk makes for a great base for cocktails. Try shaking up some iced tea with vodka or gin, then top off with ice cubes made from plain cultured buttermilk (just freeze overnight). The result is an incredibly refreshing cocktail.
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Yes, buttermilk is an excellent source of probiotics which are beneficial bacteria that support digestion and overall health. Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product made by adding bacteria to milk, then allowing the milk to ferment.
There's no recommended amount to drink per day. However, 1-2 glasses per day are okay but don't go overboard. Buttermilk is a healthy drink, but too much can cause health problems.
Yes, you can, but to be safe, make sure that the dairy is pasteurized and that the cows have been vaccinated for diseases like tuberculosis and brucellosis, which can lead to serious complications during pregnancy.
You can certainly drink buttermilk straight. However, it's a good idea to dilute it if you're planning to drink a lot of it since buttermilk is naturally sour and thick, so it can be hard on your mouth and stomach to drink straight.
Yes. It’s got a lot of protein, which is great for maintaining muscle during your weight-loss journey. And it’s low in sugar, so you don’t have to worry about your blood sugar spiking up and down.
Yes, buttermilk is good for your stomach because it has probiotic properties, which can help you digest food better.
Yes, buttermilk contains riboflavin (Vitamin B2), which helps improve liver function and facilitate detoxification.
Yes, buttermilk contains less lactose than regular milk. If you can tolerate it, buttermilk will help your body digest the lactose in regular milk more easily.
You can drink buttermilk. It's a great way to get your daily dose of probiotic bacteria without eating yogurt or taking a supplement. Just remember to drink it in moderation. It's still full of natural sugars and calories. So give it a shot the next time you see some buttermilk at the store or in your fridge.
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