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Turmeric milk benefits and recipes

turmeric tea or golden milk

Drinking turmeric milk is pretty commonplace in India already and golden milk is only growing increasingly popular in Western cultures.

Also known as haldi milk, golden turmeric milk is usually made by heating cow’s milk with turmeric and other spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and black pepper mixed in. The turmeric is what gives this drink it’s gorgeous yellow / golden colour.

Nowadays, turmeric milk can also be made with plant milk like soy, oat and almond, so everyone can enjoy the health benefits. One of its most famous proclaimed health benefits is its ability to support our natural immune system and joints, and we’ll get on to more benefits below!

What does turmeric golden milk taste like?

Turmeric and milk come together like a hug in a mug to create a super-comforting drink. This simple base is only enhanced by other spices like cinnamon and maybe a dash of maple syrup and a few grinds of black pepper.

You can even make it taste more like your favourite barista has whipped it up for you by steaming/foaming warm milk and treating yourself to a lush golden milk latte – chocolate sprinkles on top, anyone?

What are the benefits of drinking milk with turmeric?

People haven’t been sipping on golden milk for centuries for no reason, you know! As well as being a soothing drink to sip, here are the top 5 health benefits of turmeric milk:

1. Supports the digestive system

Sipping on warm, soothing drinks can do wonders for the digestive system, even if they only increase your relaxation – the mind and gut are very interlinked.

So, whether you enjoy turmeric milk with your breakfast or use it to help you unwind and the end of the day, it can be working in more ways than one when it comes to supporting your digestive system.

It’s not all about relaxing with a cuppa: there are several ingredients in golden milk that could help support healthy digestion.

Turmeric is the golden star of the show when it comes to golden milk. This bright spice contains a compound called curcumin, which is considered its most important active ingredient, especially when it comes to it’s digestive-supporting benefits.

Studies have shown that curcumin can help to support normal gut health by relieving bloating, abdominal pain and excess gas.1

This may be due to the role curcumin is thought to play for the gallbladder. In 2013, the University of Nottingham conducted a trial and found that curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which our bodies need to break down fat in the foods we eat.2

Black pepper should always be served up right alongside turmeric as it helps the body to absorb it. Black pepper contains a compound called peperine, which inhibits glucuronidation, allowing your body to break down curcumin and take advantage of all the nutritional benefits.3

Ginger is a common addition to turmeric milk and is also associated with better digestion.4 Indian researchers reported that ginger could stimulate various digestive enzymes to speed up the time it takes our bodies to process foods, which could help to prevent constipation and similar conditions.

Top tip: if you want to really make the most of the digestive benefits of golden turmeric milk then swap out cow’s milk for oat milk. It has the highest fibre of all the plant milks and supports healthy digestion.5

Summary

  • Turmeric milk can support the digestive system in multiple ways
  • Black pepper, ginger and oat milk can all help, as well as turmeric

2. Full of antioxidants

Plant foods contain varying amounts of antioxidants, and the curcumin found in turmeric is especially rich in them.

Our bodies need antioxidants to help reduce the oxidative stress and damage that free radicals (very reactive molecules) can cause.

Not only can curcumin neutralise free radicals with their suitable chemical structure, they can also stimulate your own body’s antioxidant enzymes.6,7

Cinnamon is also packed full of antioxidants, like cinnamaldehyde and quercetin.8

Summary

  • Turmeric and cinnamon are full of antioxidants
  • Antioxidants can help reduce oxidative damage

3. Can reduce inflammation

Inflammation occurs when the body is experiencing a real threat, e.g. you’ve cut your leg and your body needs to go into repair mode – sending extra blood to the wound site, etc.

It also sometimes happens when the body mistakenly detects a threat and reacts as though there is one, even though everything is fine, this is also known as chronic inflammation. This is the immune reaction we don’t need, as it serves no positive purpose and can instead cause lots of additional problems in the body.

Turmeric has been seen to be an excellent natural anti-inflammatory for the human body. Some researchers believe turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin can help reduce inflammation and swelling by blocking enzymes and other proteins that create inflammatory responses in the body.9

Top tip: if you’re looking to make the most of golden milk’s anti-inflammatory benefits, then make sure to sprinkle in some ground or freshly grated cinnamon.

Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties were put to the test in a 2015 study and it was found that a property in it called cinnamaldehyde may help to block the release of inflammatory chemicals into the nervous system, helping to soothe chronic inflammation.10

Ceylon cinnamon was also named one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods of 115 tested in a 2015 study featuring in Food & Function.11

Summary

  • Turmeric milk could help reduce inflammation
  • Turmeric and cinnamon are natural anti-inflammatories

4. Could help support your joints

A bit of joint wear and tear is inevitable as you age, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your joints some extra TLC – and it turns out that turmeric milk could play a part.

As we discussed above, curcumin can help to reduce inflammation, which means it may also be able to help protect your joints from too much wear and tear. A 2016 study in the Journal of Medicinal The Journal of Medicinal Food found that consuming curcumin can help to ease symptoms of arthritis like joint stiffness and mobility.12

Summary

  • Turmeric could help reduce inflammation, including that in the joints
  • Curcumin has been seen to help ease joint stiffness and mobility

5. Could be good for your brain

Enjoying a cup of golden milk a day could help nourish your mind as well as your body.

Curcumin has the potential to increase a compound called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This BNDF has been seen to help brain cells grow and helps your brain form new connections and pathways, which is essential for learning and memory making.13

Another golden milk ingredient that can help with memory retention and reaction time is ginger. Recent studies into ginger’s effect on the brain found that it can enhance cognitive function in a range of cognitive disorders as well as in healthy brains.14

Curcumin has been seen to help people who have depression. One study on 60 depressed people who were given either a traditional anti-depressant, curcumin or both. After 6 weeks, the group taking curcumin were experiencing improvements similar to the anti-depressant, and the group taking both found even more success.15

Summary

  • Golden milk could support your brain function
  • Curcumin has been seen to help ease depression symptoms

How to make golden turmeric milk

Want to give it a go? It’s super easy to make once you have the ‘base ingredients’ to start experimenting and finding a what a perfectly blended golden milk means for you.

First things first, choose your milk:

1. Dairy milk

Turmeric milk is traditionally made with cow’s milk as it originates in India, where they consume a lot of dairy. So as far as milks go, it’s definitely a contender for your perfect turmeric milk.

 

Don’t drink dairy? Here are some alternatives:

2. Oat milk

If you’re looking for a creamy plant milk that tastes very similar to the real deal, you should give oat milk a go. It’s full of B vitamins, dietary fibre, beta glucans (which help to lower cholesterol) and no saturated fat.

 

3. Soy milk

Soy milk is a classic alternative to cow’s milk, with just as much complete protein, as well as fibre, B vitamins and magnesium.16

If you’re looking specifically for a turmeric recipe for sleep then soy could help in this aspect too. Soy milk is full of isoflavones, and one Japanese population study found that higher daily isoflavone intake was positively associated with optimal sleep duration.17 And that’s coming from a country that already has a much higher average consumption of soy-based products than western countries.

 

4. Almond milk

If you want a lower calorie option for your golden milk, then try using almond milk as one 240ml cup contains just 30-50 calories.18

Almonds are also full of antioxidants like vitamin E that can help to reduce inflammation in the body caused by free radicals, so using it in a turmeric milk recipe for inflammation may be beneficial.

 

5. Pea milk

Pea milk is full of fibre, packed with protein, low in saturated fat and actually contains more calcium than cow’s milk.19 It’s also rich in potassium, iron, vitamin D and vitamin A.

You can also use:

  • Coconut milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Hemp milk
 

Next, choose your spices and flavourings

Add as many of these ingredients into your golden milk for both health benefits and taste.

Turmeric

It goes without saying that turmeric is a key ingredient in turmeric milk. You can usually find it in the supermarket and you can always find it here at H&B, like Navitas Turmeric Powder. It’s essential that you get a high quality one like this that are sourced for high curcumin, as that’s where turmeric’s benefits lie.

Black pepper

It may seem odd to add black pepper to your hot drink, but when it comes to golden milk, it’s advised. Black pepper helps our bodies to absorb turmeric, so grinding some pepper into your turmeric milk could enhance its benefits.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon adds unique sweetness to golden milk, and only adds to its soothing, warming feeling as you drink it. Not only does it enhance the flavour, it also adds the following benefits to your drink:20

  • Lots of antioxidants
  • Potentially anti-inflammatory properties
  • Potentially antibacterial
  • Could support heart health

Ginger

Ginger tea is taken the world-over to help ease digestion and relieve nausea – and lots of people just love the warm, spicy taste in both drinks and food.

Grating a little fresh ginger or sprinkling in dried and ground ginger into your golden milk can enhance its flavour, while offering the following additional health benefits:21

  • Can help ease digestion
  • Can help reduce inflammation in the body
  • Can relieve nausea
  • Can work as a natural pain relief

Honey

Honey is packed with natural antibiotic properties and is a healthier way to sweeten anything – including turmeric milk. A warm drink containing honey can soothe the throat and works excellently combined with all the other soothing ingredients in golden milk.

Vegan? Try Agave Nectar instead.

  • You can use cow’s milk or plant milk
  • Add different spices, like turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and ginger
  • Honey is a good sweetener

How to make turmeric milk

Now we have the ingredients sorted, here is how to make turmeric milk:

  1. Pour 250ml of your milk of choice into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Add in 1tsp of ground turmeric, a pinch of black pepper and any other spices and sweeteners you want to add into the mix.
  3. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes so the flavours can mix and develop fully.
  4. Pour into a cup, allow to cool a little and get sipping!

How to make a turmeric latte

There’s something about a golden latte that makes it feel like a real treat as well as a healthy drink.

Making a golden milk latte is pretty similar to making normal golden milk, just use the same ingredients and add in the following steps to transform your warm turmeric milk into a latte:

  • As soon as the milk is in the saucepan whisk it gently with a hand whisk over the same gentle heat to ‘froth’ the milk.
  • If you do have a milk frother tool, then feel free to use that too.

Top tip: if you are using a plant-based milk, then consider buying a ‘barista’ addition that is ‘foam able’ to get an even creamier finish than cow’s milk – mm!

Another option:

You can also buy ready-made turmeric latte powder mixes which you simply add milk to and heat. It’s made with ingredients that react to help you get that frothy milk your barista usually serves to you.

Summary

  • Just froth your milk to turn normal golden milk into a golden latte

Is drinking milk with turmeric good for skin?

Yep! As turmeric milk acts as a potent natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it only makes sense that it can pass on some of this goodness on to your skin.

However, a growing trend is to apply turmeric-enriched skin care products (usually homemade) directly on to the skin to increase the benefits. Like this easy turmeric facemask, which could help to soothe and calm your complexion, while providing some anti-bacterial benefits at the same time.

Can you drink turmeric milk for coughs?

Sure! Golden milk can soothe the throat two-fold with its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its warm, calming feeling in the body.

Try adding in some honey to sweeten this delish drink and make it even more soothing for your throat.

Should you drink turmeric milk for weight loss?

Turmeric and the other spices commonly used in turmeric milk add flavour to plain old cow’s milk or plant milk without the calories, so it certainly shouldn’t make you put on weight.

You could drink it instead of having ‘supper’ or after-dinner snacks to see if it helps you stay feeling full and satisfied instead of heading for the snack drawer.

Is it ok to drink turmeric milk every night?

As long as you make sure you’re consuming a safe amount of turmeric and any other spices you put in your golden milk, there should be no problem enjoying a cup every night. In fact, drinking warm milk at night may help you to fall asleep too.

Are there any turmeric milk side effects?

Turmeric side effects are quite rare, and can include the following if large amounts are consumed:

  • Yellow stools
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhoea
  • Rash
  • Headache

If you experience these symptoms then please seek the advice of your GP, but it is very unlikely that you will consume too much turmeric by drinking golden milk.

Is it safe to drink turmeric milk every day?

Yes, it should be as long as you don’t have allergies to the ingredients, are pregnant, breast feeding or under 12 years old, as the safety of it hasn’t been proven for these groups.22

There is no recommended RNI (reference nutrient intake) for turmeric – except if you choose turmeric tablets which will have a recommended dosage. However, there is a RNI for curcumin from the World Health Organisation of 3mg of curcuminoids (including curcumin) per kg of bodyweight.23

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