Golden milk (also known as turmeric milk) is an Indian drink that is gaining popularity in Western culture.
This bright yellow beverage is traditionally made by warming cow or plant-based milk with other spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger.
It is touted as having many health benefits and is often used as an alternative therapy to boost immunity and prevent illness.
Here are 10 science-based benefits of golden milk and recipes you can make yourself.
It May help reduce Joint Pain and Inflammation
The ingredients of golden milk have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Chronic inflammation is thought to play a major role in chronic diseases such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. For this reason, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory compounds may reduce the risk of these conditions.
Studies have shown that the active ingredients in turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and curcumin, have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies suggest that the anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin is comparable to the anti-inflammatory effect of some medicines and has no side effects.
These anti-inflammatory effects may reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
For example, a study of 45 people with rheumatoid arthritis found that 500 milligrams of curcumin daily reduced joint pain with more than 50 grams of common arthritic drugs or curcumin-drug combinations.
Key Ingredients Are Loaded With Antioxidants
The main ingredient in golden milk is turmeric, a popular yellow spice in Asian cuisine, which gives curry a yellow color.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries due to its powerful antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants are compounds that fight cell damage and protect the body from oxidative stress.
Regular studies have shown that they are essential to cell function and that a diet rich in antioxidants may help reduce the risk of infections and illnesses.
Most golden milk recipes also include cinnamon and ginger. Both have impressive antioxidant properties.
Turmeric curcumin may improve mood
Turmeric, and more specifically its active compound, curcumin, appears to have the potential to raise mood and reduce the symptoms of depression.
In a 6-week study, 60 people with major depressive disorder took curcumin, antidepressants, or a combination of both.
Patients who received curcumin alone experienced similar improvements as those who received antidepressants, but the combination group noticed the most benefits.
Depression may also be associated with low levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Curcumin appears to increase BDNF levels and may reduce the symptoms of depression.
Nonetheless, few studies have been conducted in this area, and more research is needed to reach strong conclusions.
May Improve Brain Function and Memory
Golden milk may also be good for your brain.
Studies have shown that curcumin may increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a compound that helps the brain form new connections and promote the growth of brain cells.
Low levels of BDNF may be associated with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Other ingredients may offer benefits as well.
Cinnamon appears to reduce Parkinson’s disease symptoms and improve brain function in animal studies
Ginger may also enhance brain function by improving reaction time and memory. In addition, in animal studies, ginger seems to prevent age-related loss of brain function.
However, further human research is needed to fully understand the effects of these components on memory and brain function.
May Lower Your Blood Sugar Level
The ingredients of golden milk, especially ginger and cinnamon, can help lower blood sugar levels.
For example, 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon per day can reduce fasting blood sugar levels by up to 29%. In addition, cinnamon can reduce insulin resistance.
Insulin-resistant cells cannot take up sugar from the blood, so lowering insulin resistance generally lowers blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon seems to reduce the amount of glucose absorbed in the intestines after a meal. This can further improve glycemic control.
Similarly, regular additions of small amounts of ginger to your diet can reduce your fasting blood sugar levels by up to 12%.
Small daily doses of ginger can reduce hemoglobin A1C levels by up to 10%. This is a marker for long-term glycemic control.
However, the evidence is based on only a few studies, and further research is needed to confirm these observations.
It is worth noting that most golden milk recipes are sweetened with honey or maple syrup. If it has the effect of lowering blood sugar levels, it may only be present when drinking sugar-free varieties.
Ginger and Turmeric May Improve Digestion
Chronic dyspepsia, also known as dyspepsia, is characterized by pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach.
Delayed emptying of the stomach is a potential cause of indigestion. Ginger, one of the ingredients used in golden milk, may help alleviate this condition by accelerating the emptying of the stomach in people suffering from indigestion.
Studies further show that turmeric, another ingredient used to make golden milk, may help alleviate the symptoms of indigestion. Turmeric can also improve fat digestion by increasing bile production by up to 62%.
Finally, studies have shown that turmeric helps maintain proper digestion and prevent relapse in patients with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory digestive disorder that causes intestinal ulcers.
Vitamin D and Calcium together for Stronger Bones
Golden milk may contribute to a strong skeleton.
Both milk and fortified vegetable milk are generally rich in calcium and vitamin D. These are two nutrients that are essential for building and maintaining strong bones.
If your diet is too low in calcium, your body will begin to remove calcium from your bones and maintain normal levels of calcium in your blood. Over time, this makes bones weaker and more brittle, increasing the risk of bone diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Vitamin D contributes to stronger bones by improving the intestinal ability to absorb calcium from the diet. Therefore, even if your diet is high in calcium, low levels of vitamin D in your body can make your bones weak and brittle.
Cow milk is naturally rich in calcium and is often rich in vitamin D, but not all vegetable milk are rich in these two nutrients.
If you prefer to use plant-based milk to make golden milk, choose one that is rich in both calcium and vitamin D to enhance its bone-strengthening effect.