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With a rich texture and tangy taste, buttermilk can be used to add flavor to salad dressings, pancakes and a variety of baked goods. Its distinctive flavor comes from its bacterial content -- the bacteria produces lactic acid, which thickens the milk, adds sourness and increases the milk's shelf life. Using buttermilk in your cooking offers a variety of health benefits, thanks to its rich mineral and vitamin content.
General Nutrition Information
At 152 calories per cup, buttermilk serves as a moderate source of energy, and provides 8 percent of your daily calorie intake based on a standard 2,000-calorie diet. Each cup contains 12 grams of naturally occurring sugar that fuels your muscles, brain and liver, as well as 8 grams of fat, a potent source of energy for your tissues. Consuming a cup of buttermilk also boosts your protein intake by 8 grams. This protein helps you look your best by promoting healthy skin and hair, and it also nourishes your bones and muscles.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Buttermilk benefits your skeleton because of its calcium and vitamin D content. Calcium makes up an essential part of bone tissue, so getting enough calcium in your diet maintains a strong, healthy skeleton. It also allows for efficient nerve communication and supports heart and muscle function. Vitamin D allows your body to properly utilize the calcium from your diet, and it also boosts your immune system and supports healthy cell growth. Each cup of buttermilk contains 127 international units of vitamin D and 282 milligrams of calcium. It provides 21 percent of your recommended daily vitamin D intake, as well as 28 percent of your daily calcium requirements, according to guidelines from the Institute of Medicine.
Buttermilk also benefits your health due to its vitamin B-12 content. Getting enough vitamin B-12 proves essential to nervous system health. It nourishes myelin, a substance that helps transmit nerve impulses, and helps you make signaling compounds that relay signals between nerve cells. Vitamin B-12 also plays a role in red blood cell development, and consuming adequate B-12 from your diet prevents anemia. A cup of buttermilk provides you with 1.1 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or 46 percent of your recommended daily intake, set by the Institute of Medicine.
Vitamin A and Selenium
Adding buttermilk to your diet boosts your vitamin A and selenium intake. Each cup of buttermilk offers 404 international units of vitamin A and 9 micrograms of selenium. This makes up 16 percent of your recommended daily selenium intake, as well as 17 percent of the recommended daily vitamin A intake for women and 13 percent for men, according to the Institute of Medicine. Both nutrients benefit your immune system -- vitamin A promotes white blood cell growth, while selenium activates enzymes that help you mount an immune response against pathogens. Vitamin A also promotes healthy vision, while selenium aids in muscle metabolism and supports thyroid function.