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Is Buttermilk Good for You? Benefits, Risks, and Substitutes

Buttermilk may offer several health benefits, including for your bones, blood pressure levels, and oral health.

The name buttermilk is somewhat misleading, as it doesn’t really contain butter.

Traditional buttermilk is the liquid leftover after whole milk has been churned into butter. This type of buttermilk is rarely found in Western countries today but remains common in parts of Nepal, Pakistan, and India.

Buttermilk today consists mostly of water, the milk sugar lactose, and the milk protein casein.

It has been pasteurized and homogenized, and lactic-acid-producing bacteria cultures have been added, which may include Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus.

Periodontitis is the inflammation of your gums and supporting structures of your teeth. It’s a very common condition and caused by periodontal bacteria.

Fermented dairy products like buttermilk may have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin cells that line your mouth (13 Trusted Source).

The intake of calcium from fermented dairy foods has been associated with a significant reduction of periodontitis. Nondairy foods don’t seem to have this effect (14 Trusted Source15 Trusted Source16 Trusted Source).

This may be particularly helpful for people who have oral inflammation as a result of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, Crohn’s disease, and inflamed gums (13 Trusted Source17 Trusted Source).

Buttermilk contains lactose, to which many people are intolerant.

Although buttermilk appears to be more easily digested by some people with lactose intolerance, many may still be sensitive to its lactose content.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include upset stomach, diarrhea, and gassiness.

Buttermilk is also naturally high in histamine, a chemical that plays a role in immune, digestive, and neurological processes. People with histamine intolerance should avoid histamine-containing foods, as they can cause headaches, diarrhea, and skin irritation (23 Trusted Source).

People who are allergic to milk, rather than intolerant, should not consume buttermilk at all. Milk allergy can cause vomiting, wheezing, hives, upset stomach, and even anaphylaxis in some people (24).

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Posted on: May 14 2019

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