The Many Benefits of Golden Milk

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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.

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 less 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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Help Your Skin Glow With This Tasty Chocolate Treat Recipe

The smell of just about any chocolate is enough to get me invigorated and peppy, and so finding this healthy, yet still-delicious superfood recipe made me want to jump for joy! I definitely need a little chocolate indulgence now and then, and you probably do, too. The good news is this recipe for a tasty chocolate bark will not only get your taste buds singing, but it will also give your skin a healthy glow and your heart a healthy boost!

It’s all thanks to these stellar ingredients:

Dark Chocolate

There are so many great things dark chocolate (with the right type and in the correct proportions!) can do for us, but we’ll stick to just a few. Flavanols, which are plant compounds naturally found in the cocoa bean, help promote blood flow and dilate vessels. This action helps to deliver nutrients throughout the body, including the skin.

A study found that cocoa flavanols protect the skin from ultraviolet damage, increase blood flow to the skin, increase density and thickness of the skin, decrease water loss, and improve the overall appearance of the skin. It’s also good for your heart health; studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots.

Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It can even make you happy! Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love (this explains so much). PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins.

It’s also got several important vitamins and minerals:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

Chia Seeds

We’ve covered chia seeds before as a trendy health food, but there’s a lot to this seed’s story. There is a lot of buzz around chia’s weight loss power. Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat. This type of resistance can also be harmful to your overall health. Chia seeds are packed with soluble fiber and are high in antioxidants, calcium, iron, manganese, and phosphorous.

A unique property of chia seeds is the ability to hold up to 12 times its weight in water. Soaked for 30 mins, the seeds will form a gel-like substance. Researches believe this gel reaction also occurs in the stomach, forming a barrier, which means carbohydrates are broken down slowly. This makes the seeds popular among endurance athletes and also diabetics, who want a slow-release energy source, as well as for extra hydration.

Good Fatty Nuts

Nuts are a great source of healthy, unsaturated fats. It’s thought that the “good” fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower bad cholesterol levels. They also have omega-3 fatty acids in abundance, which are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. All nuts also contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol, help you feel fuller, and is thought to play a role in preventing diabetes. Add in nuts’ supply of Vitamin E, plant sterols, and l-arginine, and your heart will stay pumping at maximum efficiency!

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces 70% cocoa bittersweet dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ½ cup toasted walnut pieces
  • ½ cup toasted pecan pieces
  • ½ cup toasted almond slices
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine chocolate and coffee, place over a double boiler, heating on a low flame while stirring until chocolate is 3/4 melted.
  2. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Mix in the toasted nuts and chia seeds.
  4. Spread mixture on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and chill until mixture sets, about 30 minutes.
  5. Break into pieces and serve. Enjoy!
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