Buttermilk is of great importance in Ayurveda, not only as a diet but also as a medicine. Buttermilk (Chhas, Mattha, Tak , Takra) is a powerhouse of probiotics and other nutrients resulting in many health benefits for our body. Just as Amrita (divine nectar) is to the gods, buttermilk is to the humans (as mentioned in Ayurvedic book Bhavaprakasha).
Lets understand probiotics (Good Bacteria):
Probiotics are bacteria that line our digestive tract and support our body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. There are actually 10 times more probiotics in our gut, than total cells in our body!
Our skin and digestive system by themselves host about 2,000 different types of good bacteria.
Buttermilk is a natural powerhouse of probiotics:
Since traditional buttermilk consist of live, active cultures of healthy bacteria, it contains probiotics. Probiotics help limit the amount of unhealthy types of bacteria in our digestive tract.
Buttermilk contains various probiotics, mainly L. lactis subsp. lactis, L. lactis subsp. lactis var. diacetylactis, L. lactis subsp. Cremori.
When we consume antibiotics to destroy any bad bacteria, these antibiotics also destroy the good bacteria in our body. Regular consumption of buttermilk helps to repopulate our digestive tract with healthy bacteria.
Why buttermilk should be a part of your daily diet?
Daily intake of buttermilk keeps a person healthy by virtue of its agni deepak (stimulation of digestive juices) and tridosha shamak (balances tridosha Vata, Pitta and Kapha) properties.
Buttermilk is a complete food. It is nutritional and along with probiotics it also 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.
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.
Probiotics in buttermilk stimulates the digestive function and it also treats many abdominal disorders.
That is why buttermilk should be a part of a daily diet, and it is always better to drink buttermilk than any other flavored drink 🙂
Reason why we lack probiotics in our body:
Historically, we had plenty of probiotics in our diet by eating fresh foods from good soil and by traditional fermentation of foods to keep them from spoiling.
However, because of refrigeration and harmful agricultural practices like soaking our foods with chlorine, our food contains little to no probiotics today. Most foods actually contain dangerous levels of antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our bodies. Lack of probiotics in our body leads to many digestive as well as other health problems.
This is why daily consumption of buttermilk can help us to maintain quota of good bacteria in our system.
Other health benefits of buttermilk:
1. Promotes healthy digestion.
2. Slows down aging process.
3. Boosts immune system.
4. Maintains strong bones.
5. Makes skin glow.
6. Keeps heart healthy.
7. Keeps body hydrated.
8. Maintains normal metabolism.
9. Prevents anemia.
10. Treats diarrhea.
All above benefits can only be found in traditionally made buttermilk.
Traditional buttermilk should not be confused with the packaged buttermilk we buy in stores. The packaging process destroys most of the nutrients in the food. Try to make buttermilk at home in traditional way.
Like all things, buttermilk also should be consumed in moderation.
If you are allergic or sensitive to lactose , stay away from buttermilk. Even though it technically isn’t milk, it is a milk product and can still cause a reaction.