There is gold buried in the ground of the Indian Subcontinent, but this one doesn’t come in the form of rocky nuggets, but a knobby, unassuming root: turmeric. The gold powder the root yields has been in use for thousands of years in South Asia as a dye, spice and also in traditional medicine.
Besides adding a wonderful aroma, color, and flavor to curry stews, turmeric offers a host of health benefits that make it a veritable superfood. But stews and rice dishes aren’t the only way to ingest turmeric, and turmeric-based drinks are becoming more and more popular among health-conscious people, and the hottest thing right now is golden milk, a warm turmeric-based beverage that is both delicious and good for you. But why exactly is ingesting turmeric so beneficial, and in what ways?
Keep reading for a list of benefits of drinking turmeric milk, as well as a recipe for homemade golden milk.
1. It contains a powerful antioxidant
A major component of turmeric that gives it its distinctive golden color is the pigment curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight cell damage due to oxidative stress which results in aging, DNA mutations, and formation of tumors.
2. It reduces inflammation
Curcumin is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent, as is ginger which is another of our golden milk ingredients. Chronic inflammation is believed to play a big part in several chronic diseases, including arthritis, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel syndrome, cancer, and heart disease. Ingestion of golden milk could thus reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
3. It’s good for digestion
Turmeric stimulates bile production, which aids in digestion, waste removal and the effective digestion and absorption of fats. Beyond that, the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may prevent the formation of ulcers in people suffering from ulcerative colitis, one of the major types of inflammatory bowel disease.
4. It’s also good for the noggin
Curcumin ingestion has been shown to increase levels of a certain protein in our brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF for short) which fills an important protective role in brain function. Conversely, reduced BDNF levels have been associated with impaired cognitive function, memory loss, depression, and schizophrenia.
5. It may have an active role in battling cancer
Take it with a grain of turmeric, as it were, but curcumin may also have some anti-cancer properties. Beyond battling oxidative stress and preempting tumor formation, curcumin has been found to have a more active effect on existing cancer. Test-tube studies have shown that the active ingredient in turmeric can actually kill cancer cells. That being said, the evidence is as yet inconclusive about whether the effect can be replicated in vivo.
How to prepare golden milk:
Ingredients for two servings:
• 1 cup milk (for a vegan option, use ½ cup coconut milk and ½ cup almond milk, instead)
• 1 tsp turmeric
• A pinch of ginger powder
• A pinch of black pepper
• ¼ tsp cinnamon powder (or a single cinnamon stick)
• 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
• For the vegan option, add ½ tbsp coconut oil
Add all of the ingredients in a saucepan, whisk and simmer for roughly 15 minutes, occasionally stirring, taking care not to bring to a boil. It’s as easy as that.