Have you heard of golden milk? It hasn’t quite reached the mainstream yet but alternative health and nutrition are getting very excited about it. There has been a lot of hype about the health benefits of turmeric, an Indian spice used in cooking and traditional medicinal remedies for hundreds of years.
If you don’t fancy eating curry everyday to get these benefits, turmeric golden milk might be the way to go.
The scientific community seems to go back and forth as to whether daily coffee is good for you or not. Why not replace it with something that’s been suggested to have anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant properties?
Although most of the studies on turmeric have been in animals or cells, the results are promising. Read on for the famous turmeric golden milk recipe.
Why Drink Turmeric Golden Milk?
Golden milk is not milk in the traditional sense. It doesn’t contain dairy – it’s a drink made up of a mixture of spices blended together in a creamy coconut milk base.
It has a sweet, earthy flavour with a bit of heat depending on how much black pepper you add.
The main health claims when it comes to golden milk are related to turmeric. Turmeric and its main active constituent curcumin have been studied extensively however not in humans.
Results from existing studies are promising though, so I see no reason not to start drinking golden milk now while waiting for science to catch up.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of each of the spices used in golden milk.
Turmeric is a herbaceous perennial plant in the ginger family. It’s native to India and the root is a common component of Indian cooking – especially in curries.
It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
A study in the journal Oncogene compared the anti-inflammatory power of turmeric with conventional drugs ibuprofen and aspirin. It was found to be stronger and with fewer side effects. (source)
A study measured this effect and found that curcumin “significantly reduced” signs of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. It may even prevent arthritis from developing in the first place. (source)
It Can Help Manage Diabetes
Turmeric has an effect on blood sugar and insulin. One study found that its blood sugar-lowering abilities are much stronger than a common antidiabetic drug. If you’re already taking a medicine for diabetes, check with your doctor before adding golden milk to your routine. (source)
It May Prevent Cancer
So many foods on the market these days claim to have anti-cancer powers as a selling point. But the science backs this claim up when it comes to turmeric. A study published in the British Journal of Cancer found that turmeric extracts have the ability to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors. (source)
It Boosts Brain Repair
A study in animals showed that turmeric can increase neural stem cell growth in the brain – an important factor for self-repair. Other research showed that curcumin in turmeric may slow buildup of beta-amyloids – destructive substances involved in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s patients. It also helps with inflammation in the brain in Alzheimer’s. (source)
It May Aid Digestion
Turmeric may help with indigestion – reducing symptoms such as bloating and gas. (source)
It Promotes a Healthy Heart
Curcumin in turmeric has the power to lower your cholesterol! It’s been suggested that taking turmeric along with anti-cholesterol medicines such as statins leads to an enhanced effect. (source)
It Fights Infection
A study showed that curcumin is one of the strongest herbal antifungals – more potent than ginger, clove and oregano. (source)
It Improves Mood
A study in India tested curcumin in 60 volunteers with major depressive disorder. It was found to have similar efficacy to the drug Prozac, without the unpleasant side effects. (source)
It Improves Skin Quality
Turmeric has been used as a traditional remedy for skin conditions for years. Its antibacterial properties make it helpful for acne and the anti inflammatory properties ease redness and irritation. As well as drinking it why not use some turmeric to make a natural face mask? (source)
Black pepper is actually made from berries, that’s news to me! You learn something new everyday. The black pepper plant is a vine found in hot climates. It produces white blossoms that become the berries known as peppercorns. The berries are picked and turn dark when dried. (source)
It Increases Absorption of Turmeric
In golden milk, the main function of black pepper is to help your body absorb the turmeric. I was sceptical at first but there’s evidence to back it up. Piperine is the compound responsible – when you take black pepper with turmeric, the amount of turmeric that reaches the blood is much higher. (source)
It’s Packed with Minerals
Black pepper contains plenty of potassium for cardiac health, calcium for bone strength and iron for healthy blood. (source)
It Helps Digestion
Black pepper is a carminative, meaning it helps prevent gas. It also aids in constipation and slow digestion. (source)
It May Have Anticancer Properties
Capsaicinoids in black pepper have been found in one study to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. It was concluded that capsaicinoids have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer activities. (source)
Cinnamon spice is made from the bark of the cinnamon tree. It is dried and turned into a powder.
It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Various components of cinnamon combat inflammation in different ways. It suppresses chemicals involved in inflammation in a similar way to some painkilling drugs. (source)
It Supports Brain Health
Cinnamon has a protective effect on the brain and may help in treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. (source)
It May Be Useful in Diabetes
Several studies have shown that cinnamon extracts lower not only blood glucose but also cholesterol levels. (source)
Ginger is a flowering plant in the same family as turmeric. The root is most commonly used as a spice and traditional medicine. (source)
It Can Relieve Nausea, Vomiting and Indigestion
Ginger is a popular cure and prevention for nausea such as travel sickness, morning sickness and nausea due to medicine side effects. It may also speed up your digestive system helping fight indigestion. (source)
It Eases Aches and Pains
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger may help prevent muscle pains after exercise as well as menstrual pain. (source)
It Helps Fight Infection
Fresh ginger can help kill bacteria and viruses. It’s particularly effective against oral bacteria e.g. those involved in gingivitis and periodontitis. (source)
The Golden Milk Recipe
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon honey
- Pinch of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- Make a paste with the turmeric, cinnamon, honey, black pepper, ginger and a little coconut milk
- Slowly add the rest of the milk
- Gently heat the mixture in a pot on the stove
- Pour into a mug and stir before drinking
Because the components of golden milk have such potent medical properties, it follows that they can interact with prescription drugs in a similar manner. If you take a regular medicine or have an ongoing health condition, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking ginger turmeric tea. If you are taking blood thinners or having surgery, you must avoid turmeric completely. (source)
I could never give up coffee but I’m happy to replace it with golden milk on weekend mornings when I can live without the caffeine boost. It’s also nice in the evening before bed, especially on cold evenings as the spices and hot coconut milk really warm me up. This drink is so yummy – the health benefits are simply a bonus!