Turmeric milk, otherwise known as golden milk or hali-doodh, is thought to be incredibly healthy when drunk daily as part of a balanced diet. As the name suggests, it’s made by combining milk with turmeric, one of India’s most powerful and nutrient-rich spices that are often used in curry dishes.
Turmeric has made its way into ancient Ayurveda practices for healing, but its properties go far beyond that. It contains a chemical compound called curcumin, which is what effectively gives turmeric its beneficial qualities. When added to milk, the curcumin in turmeric is absorbed in the fat and tissues of our body, which enables us to get the most out of the spice.
Turmeric Milk – Top Health Benefits
The most notable health benefits of turmeric milk include:
1. Reduces blood sugar levels
Studies have found that turmeric and cinnamon, both common ingredients in turmeric milk, are effective in reducing blood sugar levels by up to 29 percent. The spice was also shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which leads to lower blood sugar levels.
This could be beneficial for preventing diabetes. Additionally, turmeric reduces glucose creation in the liver, again helping to control blood sugar levels.
2. Antioxidant properties
Antioxidants occur naturally in the body and kill off free radicals that can lead to cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and other serious disorders. We can get our antioxidants from external sources, and turmeric milk is one of the best.
By fighting the chronic inflammation that may otherwise be suppressing your immune system, curcumin can prevent everything from signs of skin ageing to the common cold. Curcumin is particularly special in that it actually boosts the antioxidant enzymes in the body, helping us to benefit even more from protection against free radicals.
3. Promotes weight loss
When stress hormones like cortisol are out of balance, an accumulation of fat builds up near the stomach. This is because the cells in the stomach are more sensitive to cortisol and prone to storing fat as energy.
Turmeric milk can help to balance stress hormones, as its curcumin content prevents fatty deposits in the blood vessels of your body. The compound also reduces the growth of fatty tissue in your organs. Adding turmeric to your diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight and even prevent obesity-induced diabetes.
4. Prevents heart disease
One of the biggest benefits of turmeric milk is its ability to restore the lining of cells inside the body’s blood vessels, known as the endothelium. When the endothelium isn’t working properly, it can’t regulate blood pressure and clotting, which can lead to heart disease. One study showed that taking supplements of curcumin, found in turmeric milk, is as effective as aerobic exercise at improving endothelial function.
5. Natural anti-inflammatory source
The typical western diet is one of the main causes of what is known as chronic inflammation in the body. Experts think that this inflammation can eventually lead to diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and obesity. The curcumin in turmeric milk was found in one study to be as effective as some over-the-counter drugs in reducing inflammation in the body.
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- Turmeric and ginger, common Ayurvedic herbs, have both been used for centuries to support joint health. This powerful formula, enhanced by cinnamon and a dash of black pepper, creates a wonderful Ayurvedic blend that promotes digestion and immune support*.
- Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Ginger is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent; energizer and stimulator. Ginger root can help relieve upset stomach, indigestion, motion sickness, and nausea.
- Turmeric is better absorbed when consumed with healthy fats such as almond butter, coconut oil or a few almonds.
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Side Effects of Turmeric Milk
If you’re sticking to sensible portioning with your turmeric, you won’t experience any side effects from drinking turmeric milk on a daily basis. However, an excess of turmeric may lead to an accumulation of curcumin in the intestines and the gallbladder, which puts you at risk of long-term health problems, such as gallbladder issues, gastroesophageal reflux disease, infertility, and even some cancers.
On a smaller scale, some people may experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea from ingesting turmeric. If you’re affected by any of these symptoms after drinking turmeric milk, try cutting down on your turmeric portioning and see if that makes a difference.
How to Make Turmeric Milk
To make turmeric milk, simply combine a tablespoon of ground turmeric with your favourite low-fat milk of choice. Many turmeric milk recipes favour coconut milk as it’s slightly sweeter and complements turmeric especially well. For additional health benefits and a more enjoyable taste, you can add a sprinkle of cinnamon, a tablespoon of maple syrup, and vanilla extract to taste.
Combine your chosen ingredients in a pot, stir and turn up to medium heat. When the mixture starts to bubble, reduce to a simmer, and let the flavours meld for ten minutes. Pour into a mug and enjoy warm for a soothing, delicious drink.
If you fancy a hot drink but want to opt for something with real health benefits, swap your morning coffee or evening hot chocolate for turmeric milk. It’s quick to make, taking a matter of minutes to simmer on the hob, and offers a warm, exotic flavour that’ll keep you satisfied for hours.
Factor in the endless benefits of the turmeric spice, and it’s easy to see why turmeric milk is such a popular traditional drink in India. Just make sure you’re not too generous with the turmeric, and enjoy on a daily basis to appreciate the full range of benefits from the beverage.