Until recently I have had to avoid dairy products- except yogurt, buttermilk and cheese in small portions. I have been curious as to why, and I have just recently learned why along with some other wonderful facts about buttermilk, and why it's not as bad as we think it is.
Buttermilk gets its name because it is the milk left over after the fat is removed to make butter. Buttermilk is lower in fat than milk (in comparison to whole milk, and reduced-fat milk, as long as you check the labels), and helps to reduce body heat which makes it a popular drink during summer months. It is high in calcium, potassium (which helps regulate blood pressure), phosphorus, and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that plays a key role in the formation of blood, functioning of the brain and nervous system, and the metabolism of every cell in the body. Pretty important, huh?
For those who are lactose intolerant, buttermilk is now your best friend. It is more tolerable for you, and more easily digestible for all of us because it contains more lactic acid, and less lactose. However, for those worried about its comparison with regular milk, it still has the same amount of protein, and is often prescribed for weight loss, and to regulate and improve digestion with the cultures and active bacteria it contains.
Buttermilk is a fantastic substitute for cream, including heavy cream and sour cream, and is also a healthy agent for soaking nuts (the soaking process increases the nutritional value of the nuts because they also become more easily digestible- but that's another post)! Try some buttermilk today- as a drink, a substitute, or in your baking- look for the Buttermilk pancake recipe. Enjoy the benefits of buttermilk!