Thousands of years ago, ancient India knew the value of prebiotics and probiotics and promoted takra (buttermilk) instead of dahi (yogurt/curd)
Good digestion is one of the most valued assets one can own. A healthy gut is the key to a good life, a strong body-mind, and a long productive happy existence. Our ancient ancestors understood the value of probiotics for the happy gut and thus prioritized yogurt-based foods for a healthy and strong gut. While today the modern world has skyscrapers, AI technology, and advanced medical research, it has steadily decayed the health of people, forgetting about the value of life as it marched upward towards wealth and development. Modern healthcare ignores pragmatic data and ethical values of healing, and instead promotes a society dependent on medicines that cure with side effects with few medicines that fully heal.
Thousands of years ago, ancient India knew the value of prebiotics and probiotics and promoted takra (buttermilk) instead of dahi (yogurt/curd). According to traditional Ayurveda, we can consume cow-based curd, but there are many cautions, do's and don'ts to using curd as medicine. This is because curd has properties that make it disadvantageous for certain people. Curd is heavy to digest; it produces excessive thick phlegm, increases acidity, puts on weight; and it is associated with premature greying of hair, accelerating eye disorders and skin disorders. It accelerates purulent (pus-filled) secretions in wounds.
Ayurveda tells us this is logical because curd is filled with bacteria that produce heat and mucous as they actively multiply, turning milk into yogurt/curd. Some people do well on curd daily because their constitution (known as prakruti) is strong and they have good digestive power. They can use the proteins and convert them into needed molecular signals and physiologic actions. Most humans can benefit from curd despite the different human physiological patterns, especially for those who move and exercise actively on a daily basis and have daily strong healthy bowel movements.
Buttermilk on the other hand can be consumed by everyone in every season. According to the classic Ayurveda text Astangahrdayam, dated to about 400BCE, buttermilk has excellent properties that render it an ideal part of the daily diet. It is lighter than yogurt and has 5 tastes out of 6 classicially mentioned. Known as takra in Sanskṛt, buttermilk decreases excessive thurst, excessive fat, excessive sweat, ceases the diarrhea, and acts as an anti-poisonous remedy. It is also useful for hemorrhoids, skin disorders, spleen disorders, worm infestations, jaundice, ascitis and provides energy and strengthens the heart. It reduces obesity. Takra is often compared to a divine drink that helps regenerate strength and suppleness of the body.
Takra is made by taking curd and diluting it with 5-6x clean water, stirring constantly with a stick or spoon, then adding digestive spice combinations including roasted cumin, coriander, hing, cilantro, black salt, black pepper, and fennel. This process converts the curd to a physically lighter, easier-to-digest version, that preserves the functional properties of curd but enhancing the ability for the gut to fully digest it. Dosage matters.
Ayurveda explains this great difference in property using the metaphor of raw paddy or a grain such as corn or wheat. Grains are the same grains functionally whether boiled or baked or flaked according to chemists and commerce, but the product made from different processes has very different properties inside the body. They are lighter to digest than raw corn/paddy/wheat. We know we cannot consume grains raw for very long as they aggravate our digestive system over time due to an inability to digest them. The chronic indigestion leads to specific malfunctions. Similarly, the clean boiled water and digestive spices used in making takra render it more digestible.
Instead of consuming curd on days your digestion is not high and strong, you can try takra, with its rich but diluted probiotics, same as curd/yogurt loved by the modern world but avoiding the unwanted effects of dense modern curd practices that can clog channels in the gut.