The Many Benefits of Golden Milk


By Gaia Staff | Jan. 24, 2019

Golden milk, called “haldi (turmeric) ka doodh (milk)” is an old Ayurvedic drink and recipe used throughout Asia and India. It is essentially milk (dairy or plant-based) warmed with turmeric, a powerhouse spice with multiple documented health benefits.

The essential recipe is simply milk (one cup) with turmeric (¼ to ½ teaspoon) brought to a simmer over low to medium heat. Along with turmeric, additional ingredients such as honey, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom can be added — many like a pinch of fresh black pepper as well.

Fans of golden milk say that it aids sleep by soothing digestion, fights colds and flu, and lifts low moods. Researchers are cracking the code on why this simple drink has been so popular for centuries in India, and is gaining fans in the West. The turmeric, loaded with a phytochemical called “curcumin,” is the catalyst for golden milk benefits.

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Turmeric = Curcumin

According to “Medical News Today,” research has confirmed that curcumin, the active component of turmeric, a common spice in Asian and Indian cuisines, supports health in multiple ways.

    • Anti-Inflammatory: Curcumin has been shown to reduce the Inflammation which been linked to a broad range of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. A study on rheumatoid arthritis and curcumin  showed that the group of patients receiving the nutrient showed much higher improvement of pain and swelling compared to those who did not. The researchers also confirmed that curcumin is safe, with no adverse effects.

 

  • Mood Regulation: Curcumin has also been shown to improve mood — a randomized, controlled trial showed that curcumin “may be used as a safe and effective modality in patients with major depressive disorder.”

  • Antioxidant: Curcumin, with its antioxidant properties, helps protect living cells from free-radical damage from processed foods and environmental stressors.

Additional Ingredients and their Benefits

    • Cinnamon has been proven to protect brain function in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and slows memory loss. This spice is loaded with polyphenols, giving the aromatic bark powerful antioxidant properties. Cinnamon also fights heart disease by reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and has been shown to reduce blood pressure. These studies merely scratch the surface of cinnamon’s value as a medicinal plant.

 

  • Ginger, with its gut-soothing action, helps to calm and relax the digestive system. This helps prepare the body for rest and sleep. Ginger is a cousin of turmeric, and shares anti-inflammation characteristics. The active ingredient, gingerol, relieves nausea and vomiting, and is used as a natural treatment for sea sickness. Ginger has been found to be effective for morning sickness, post-surgical and chemotherapy nausea.

  • Raw, High Quality Honey is full of antioxidants. The antioxidant compounds unique to raw honey have been linked to preventing heart disease and lowering blood pressure. It has also been found to improve cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Raw honey can help suppress coughing, and consuming locally-sourced honey may relieve allergies by delivering homeopathic amounts of offending pollen, triggering a healthy immune response.

  • Cardamom is another signature spice flavor in Indian recipes — and unexpectedly in Scandinavian foods. Vikings opening trade routes to Asia through Istanbul returned home with cardamom they discovered in Constantinople’s spice markets — it was quickly embraced and became an essential ingredient in Scandinavian foods. Sweden is the world’s third largest consumer of the potent spice.

    Cardamom is another cousin of turmeric, and carries many of curcumin’s benefits such as antioxidant action, anti-inflammatory properties, and antibacterial effects, but it has also been found to fight bad breath, cavities, and stomach ulcers.

  • Black Pepper has been in use for centuries in both culinary and medical traditions. Ayurvedic medicine values black pepper for its ability to pacify kapha and vata doshas while increasing pitta, the third dosha. The vedics also use black pepper for cleansing, weight loss, respiratory health, and healthy joints. Black pepper can be considered a superfood because of its high amounts of minerals (zinc, phosphorous, manganese, calcium, iron, copper, choline.)

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