What Is Golden Milk? The Scientific Truth Behind the Cult Beverage
What is Golden Milk?
Golden milk is a traditional recipe from India called Haldi Ka Doodh. The combination of milk, turmeric, and a range of other ingredients has been used for hundreds of years as a home remedy for coughs and the flu.
In the past little while, this beverage has exploded in popularity across the West and has acquired somewhat of a cult following. When I learned about this drink, I decided to give it a try as I’ve heard about the health benefits of turmeric and have been looking for ways to consume more of it without relying on curry. Curry’s delicious, but how much of it do you have to eat to ingest enough turmeric to make a difference?
So golden milk seems like the perfect choice.
And ever since the first sip passed my lips, I was hooked. The creaminess of the milk, the unique spicy combination of turmeric and black pepper, along with the hint of sweetness from the honey, was heavenly.
But deliciousness aside, what I wanted to know was, how much good is this drink doing to my overall health? There are many health food blogs out there touting numerous health benefits of the spice that range all the way from curing common colds to cancer. But how much of the hype is true?
Let’s take a look at the hard science behind this so-called miracle spice.
Have you tried golden milk before?
Health Benefits of Golden Milk (Specifically Turmeric): Scientific Evidence
Here are a few solid scientific studies that support the most common health claims made about turmeric.
1. Anti-inflammatory and weight loss
In a study with in vitro animal models, researchers have found that the primary active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, exhibited a strong antioxidative effect. This means that curcumin has been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects on these in vitro animal models.
Because of this anti-inflammatory effect, some may also experience weight loss as well.
2. Prevents bowel disease
Preclinical studies in animals have shown that curcumin is effective in preventing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by sweeping up disease-causing free radicals and increasing antioxidants.
Clinical studies have found that administration of curcumin along with conventional drugs is a safe way to maintain remission and prevent relapse for those diagnosed with IBD.
3. Promotes good skin
Since turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, it makes sense that turmeric improves inflammatory and bacterial skin conditions. In fact, clinical trials have indeed shown turmeric to be effective against acne.
4. Improves brain health and prevents Alzheimer’s
A study has also found that those who consumed some amount of turmeric occasionally presented with better results on a standard cognitive function test (MMSE) compared to those who had never consumed turmeric.
Curcumin has also been proven in epidemiological studies to delay degradation of neurons and improve overall memory in patients with Alzheimer’s.
Take the Evidence With a Grain of Salt
Those health benefits sound amazing, but here are some caveats to consider.
1. Not easily absorbed by the body
Despite many studies published about the positive effects of curcumin on the human body, a recent review from the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry has found that the body does not easily absorb curcumin. If the primary active compound in turmeric isn't absorbed by the body, any potential health benefits don’t mean much.
2. Flawed studies
Some of the most pertinent studies of curcumin were done in vitro, which means that no live organisms were tested on - everything was done in a test tube.
3. No reliable evidence
There has yet to be a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study done to support the health claims made by the many preliminary studies conducted on curcumin.
Golden Milk Is Still Delicious
In the end, no single food can cure everything under the sun. As with all “superfoods,” there is no definitive science behind its health claims. Something that is good for you today could be bad for you tomorrow. Just look at how quickly vegetable oil fell from grace.
But don't give up on the spice completely. Turmeric does have some proven health benefits even if it’s not exactly a miracle spice, and golden milk is a great way to put more of it into your body. Nutritionists advise combining turmeric with black pepper to boost the absorption of curcumin.
Poll: The Miracle Beverage
What do you think of golden milk?
So How Do You Make Golden Milk?
The two main ingredients in golden milk are turmeric and your choice of milk. Everything else is up to you. This is how I make my golden milk.
- 400 ml milk, cow's, soy, nut, etc
- 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
- 1 pinch black pepper, ground
- 1/8 tspn cinnamon powder, or one cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 tspn honey
- Put all ingredients, except honey, into a small pot.
- Heat and leave to simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- Sieve into a cup.
- Stir in honey and enjoy!
Questions & Answers
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