Buttermilk is not really buttermilk but the milk that is left behind when butter is made. It’s also referred to as fermented milk and used in many cultures both as a drink and as milk for cooking. It is a tart drink that gets it tartness due to the presence of acid in the milk. The acidity is primarily due to lactic acid, a byproduct produced by lactic acid bacteria while fermenting lactose, the sugar found in milk.
Buttermilk can be found in the grocery store, however, it usually comes in a large container so if you need just a small amount for making pancakes or a cake; add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon to a cup of milk and let sit for five minutes.
So is fermented, lactic acid, tartness good for us? Buttermilk has less fat than milk because the fat has been removed to make butter. It is also high in potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, and riboflavin as well as a good source of phosphorus. Buttermilk is a probiotic food source. The “good” bacterium in buttermilk passes through the digestive system where the bacterium becomes active. These healthy bacteria thrive off the lactose or sugar that is found in our intestines. The good bacterium, boosts the immune system, gives us energy, improves digestion, protects against carcinogens and protects against cardiovascular disease.
Butter milk is known to have been used by the ancient Hindus as far back as 5000 years ago. At that time butter was so precious that it was used as currency, making butter milk also quite valuable. Irish folklore claims a glass of buttermilk will cure a hangover. Heat a cup with a clove of garlic and it is known to cure a variety of ailments or perhaps tastes so bad it will make you forget about your other ailments.
According to American folklore immunity from poison oak or ivy can be established by drinking buttermilk. Pioneer women used buttermilk on their face to make their skin smooth. This is not too far off as the acid in the milk in known to soften skin.
In terms of health the digestive system says it all. Every part of your body-mind thrives because of the digestive system. Nutrients are digested and then distributed throughout the body to nourish and support life. When the digestive system is not working properly the body cannot receive the nutrients it needs to produce health. Buttermilk is a natural and healthy aid to the digestive system and at the same time supplies a rich source of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin and potassium.
Riboflavin or B2 plays a key role in energy metabolism and the metabolism of fats, carbohydrate and proteins. Buttermilk is a good source of this essential vitamin. Calcium supports bone growth. Vitamin B12’s key role is the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Potassium is necessary for the functioning of cells and phosphorous is a component of phospholips that form all cell membranes.
So… build me up buttermilk. Never let me down because I need you so badly to keep me healthy and my skin so smooth.