The idea of a warm, creamy beverage that is caffeine-free, low in carbohydrates, and brimming with compounds that fight diabetes, cancer, and depression may sound too good to be true. Fortunately, turmeric milk fits the bill. This popular drink is known as golden milk for many reasons besides its vivid yellow hue. Traditionally, golden milk is simply milk mixed with turmeric. Modern variations include optional spices and sweeteners that enhance the drink’s flavor and nutritional value. Choose your dairy or plant-based milk and warm up to the countless health benefits of golden milk.
Winding down for the night can be difficult with our unending responsibilities and unrelenting stimulation from electronic devices. Since ancient times, people have soothed their bodies and minds with warm drinks before bed. Although golden milk is great at any time of day, it provides cozy pre-sleep warmth and ingredients that may help you relax and prepare for a good night’s rest.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide. The main ingredients in golden milk show remarkable potential for reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses. Numerous studies indicate that antioxidants in turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger may improve endothelial function, lower total cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that in 2018, 9.5 million people died from cancer and 17 million new cancer cases developed. However, populations in countries where people consume more turmeric report lower rates of some cancers. In lab studies, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger demonstrate an ability to reduce cancer cell growth and inhibit the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
Adaptogens are plant extracts that may help reduce our physical reaction to stress. Preliminary research links turmeric to improved depression symptoms. One study published in Pharmaceuticals reported that ashwagandha, a spice commonly included in golden milk, induced a significant reduction in anxiety among subjects. Other studies show that ginger may enhance the function of the vagus nerve, which plays a major role in the mind-body connection.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are primary factors underlying rheumatoid arthritis, PCOS, and many other chronic diseases and disorders. Turmeric is full of curcumin, one of nature’s most powerful natural anti-inflammatories. Research shows that it can block inflammatory pathways and inhibit the activity and synthesis of enzymes associated with inflammation.
Lower Blood Glucose Levels
The World Health Organization reports that high blood glucose caused 2.2 million deaths in 2012. The WHO and the medical community recommend consuming wholesome foods and beverages instead of sugary products to lower blood glucose and reduce the risk of diabetes. Golden milk is an ideal beverage that can satisfy urges for flavor, creaminess, and natural sweetness without triggering spikes in blood sugar levels. Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon shine through with strong evidence to support their anti-diabetic properties. Research notes that small servings of these spices can help prevent, lessen, and reverse diabetes-related complications. The commonly used sweeteners in golden milk — raw honey, molasses, maple syrup, and stevia — also help regulate blood sugar levels when used in moderation.
Golden milk has been a home remedy for colds since ancient times. Each cup is filled with antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial compounds. Mounting research suggests that turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon help strengthen the immune system against respiratory tract infections. Many golden milk recipes include coconut milk or oil. The fats in these options contain lauric acid, which the body converts into monolaurin. This potent compound destroys viruses such as influenza, herpes, and HIV, as well as gram-negative bacteria.
Black Pepper Benefits
You’ll see black pepper listed in many golden milk recipes. This common seasoning is barely detectable in this drink, yet it brings another motherlode of nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Research in Planta Medica reported that piperine, the compound that imparts that peppery taste, increases the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric by 2,000%.
Basic golden milk is only milk and turmeric, but other spices and fats can add countless taste variations and health benefits. Some golden milk recipes call for fresh spices, but powdered forms are more convenient and can be just as flavorful and nutritious. Try this single-serving recipe to discover what may become your new favorite warm drink:
- 1-1/4 cup milk; dairy or plant-based
- 1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil or ghee
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Pinch nutmeg, ashwagandha, and cayenne pepper (optional)
- Raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or stevia to taste
Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and heat over medium heat for three minutes until hot, but not boiling (which can remove some nutritive properties). Use an immersion or high-speed blender for a frothy finish.
With a dry golden milk mix on hand, you can enjoy a warm serving of golden milk even more quickly. Stir one teaspoon of this mixture into one cup of warmed milk. Add one or two teaspoons of extra virgin coconut oil or ghee, along with sweetener, vanilla, and additional spices to taste.
- ½ cup ground turmeric
- ¼ cup ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground black pepper