Buttermilk is one probiotic drink that does not come at a fancy price
‘P robiotic' is the latest health mantra. Probiotics are sold in fancy capsules and at fancy prices these days.
But there is a probiotic drink that has been around for ages — it is a thirst quencher, a weight reducer, a source of vital nutrients, a body detoxifier, an intestine cleanser, replenishes beneficial intestinal bacteria, and relieves acidity, indigestion, diarrhoea and dehydration! In fact, besides all the benefits mentioned above, Ayurveda believes buttermilk or takra helps shrink haemorrhoids, reduce excess kapha and pittha in the body, treat anaemia and insomnia, bloating of the stomach, and even the effects of poison!
A probiotic food, it has beneficial microbes that survive the digestion process and go on to shower a host of benefits on our bodies. This includes manufacturing vitamins and boosting immunity, improving digestion, and protecting us from cardiovascular diseases and carcinogens.
The protein in buttermilk is also more easily digestible than that contained in milk. “Those with digestive problems are advised to drink buttermilk rather than milk, as it is easily digested,” says Dr. S. Anand Rangan.
Buttermilk is low in fat, but high in potassium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and calcium. This makes buttermilk a powerful ally for people trying to reduce weight.
Though it's a great drink during summer as it prevents dehydaration, sweating, tiredness, muscle cramps, nausea and headache, it is great to drink buttermilk at other times too.
Buttermilk is not just an Indian passion. Filmjolk is a type of buttermilk drunk in Sweden, the Caucasus has its Kefir, Anatolia has its Aryan, and buttermilk pancakes are a delicacy in South America.
Made in a jiffy
The simplest dish on earth, you can literally whip it up in a jiffy. But curd to which water has been added is simply not buttermilk. “This concoction will still retain the kapha (phlegm) and pitha (heat), which are the characterestics of curd. On the other hand, genuine buttermilk actually helps reduce pitha,” says Dr. V.R. Seshadri, senior ayurvedic consultant.
Buttermilk has to be whipped up, not mixed up. Remove the cream ( malai) that forms on the surface of boiled milk. Curdle the milk. Then whip up the curd that forms and remove the cream again. The remaining liquid is buttermilk.
Use a matthu or hand blender to whip up one part of curd with three parts of water. Drink it just like that or chill it, add a sprinkling of salt and asafoetida powder for taste.
You may also add crushed ginger or garlic, a sprinkling of coriander leaves, a bit of dry-ground curry leaf powder (because it is cumbersome to chew or swallow curry leaves whole).