Nutrients in your glass of turmeric milk
- Iron, magnesium, and calcium
- Vitamins A, B6, and B12
Popularly known as golden milk and haldi doodh (the traditional Indian name for the yellow milk), turmeric milk has many health benefits that have given it a place in cafes and health-friendly restaurants in the West. But what sets this warm drink apart from every other herbal concoction you could be drinking? The secret lies in the use of the golden Eastern spice – haldi or turmeric. Here are a few benefits that combining turmeric and milk brings to the table.
1. Relieves Cold And Cough Symptoms
The warmth of turmeric milk can be very soothing if you’re feeling under the weather. In India, it is a standard home remedy for cough and cold.
- To treat a cold, add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of sugar to a glass of milk. For a sore throat, add 1 tsp minced ginger to this concoction. For a bad cough, add 1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds) to the mix instead.1
Studies have found that turmeric works as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent and can work against infections of the respiratory system. Traditional medicine, meanwhile, recommends the addition of turmeric to milk to improve the absorbability of turmeric and, in turn, its ability to relieve the symptoms of a cold and cough.2 3
2. Improves Heart Health
If you have a problem with high cholesterol levels, consuming turmeric blended with non-dairy, heart-healthy almond milk may help. Curcumin, an active constituent of turmeric, can suppress the formation of atherosclerotic lesions early on. Studies have also confirmed its viability in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood as well as in the liver.4 The nut milk, meanwhile, may be good for cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, consuming a few nuts is good for the heart. The antioxidants in nuts can also boost the power of your glass of turmeric milk.5
3. Fights Digestive Disorders
- If you have stomach ulcers, gallstones, and gallbladder disease, avoid turmeric.
- If you’re lactose intolerant, opt for plant-based milk instead.
Traditional medicine has long indicated that turmeric milk fights intestinal disorders.6 And modern studies indicate that curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which might lower the symptoms of indigestion such as bloating and gas. Turmeric might also prevent the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease of the digestive tract, from recurring when had in addition to conventional treatment.7 Ayurveda states that boiling milk improves its digestibility; so be sure not to skip this step when you’re whipping up your cuppa.
4. Improves Brain Health
Turmeric’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties might help you fight neurodegenerative diseases. Studies indicate that it might prevent and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. However, further research is needed to fully validate these claims.8 Milk, meanwhile, provides calcium which is vital for the proper functioning of neurons in the brain. Some studies have even gone on to say that calcium intake might be important for learning and memory.9 When it comes to brain health, you may have a lot to gain from this simple concoction.
5. Might Alleviate Pain
Caution: Turmeric can increase the risk of bleeding, especially in people who take blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin and aspirin. In such cases, do consult a professional before consuming turmeric milk.10
Traditionally, turmeric milk is recommended to alleviate pain. Part of this could be attributed to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties which make it a natural alternative to aspirin. In fact, studies have found that turmeric eases pain caused due to osteoarthritis and menstruation.11
6. Strengthens Bones
The calcium and vitamin D in milk can help you meet your daily recommended intake for good bone health.12 And the turmeric reinforces this – studies have found that turmeric root extract may help prevent osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.13
7. Promotes Skin Health
Here’s where the power of milk and turmeric really come into their own. Milk, like turmeric, contains antioxidants that can help battle free radical damage in the body. This is why regular intake of turmeric milk might counter free radical damage to skin and help it regain its elasticity and glow. In addition to this, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties prevent acne breakouts.14 Several studies have also found that curcumin in turmeric treats skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.15
8. Promotes Restful Sleep
Add 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a bit of sugar to a cup of boiling milk. Nutmeg is known for its sedative properties and along with turmeric, it can improve your sleep.
Turmeric and milk contain the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to melatonin and serotonin. Researchers have found that having high levels of tryptophan in your body improves not just the amount of sleep you get but the quality of sleep as well. In general, most practitioners suggest having this golden milk about half an hour or so before you turn in for the night.16
Why Use Milk?
In ayurveda, treatments may be delivered via a water-based decoction called kashaya or a milk-based extract or ksheerapaka. As one report explains, milk-based remedies seem to have a higher antioxidant capacity, possibly due to the longer time taken to derive the extracts in the case of the ksheerapaka. While ksheerapakas use a ¼ reduction, kashayas are made with a ⅛ reduction, resulting in lower levels of the active constituents. Ksheerapakas also make some herbs less piquant and more palatable and offer the added benefit of nourishment through the milk.17
An easy way to have turmeric milk every day is to mix up a paste of a quarter cup of pure organic turmeric powder with a half cup of water. Store this in the fridge and use a quarter teaspoon of this paste with each cup of milk you need. Customize this depending on the recipe you’re using.18
|↑1||Jaganath, Indu Bala, and L. T. Ng. “Herbs.” The Green Pharmacy of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Vinpress and Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (2000): 95-99.|
|↑2||Khalsa, Karta Purkh Singh, and Michael Tierra. The way of ayurvedic herbs: The most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional ayurvedic herbalism. Lotus press, 2008.|
|↑3||Turmeric: A Trend with Benefits? University Of Southern California.|
|↑4||Shin, Su‐Kyung, Tae‐Youl Ha, Robin A. McGregor, and Myung‐Sook Choi. “Long‐term curcumin administration protects against atherosclerosis via hepatic regulation of lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism.” Molecular nutrition & food research 55, no. 12 (2011): 1829-1840.|
|↑5||Go Nuts (But just a little!) American Heart Association.|
|↑6||Prasad, Sahdeo, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. “Turmeric, the golden spice.” (2011).|
|↑7, ↑8||Turmeric. University Of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑9||Researchers Shed New Light on the Role of Calcium in Learning and Memory. Scripps Research Institute.|
|↑10||Menstrual pain. University Of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑11||Nasri, Hamid, Najmeh Shahinfard, Mortaza Rafieian, Samira Rafieian, Maryam Shirzad, and Mahmoud Rafieian. “Turmeric: A spice with multifunctional medicinal properties.” J HerbMed Pharmacol 3, no. 1 (2014): 5-8.|
|↑12||Calcium: What’s Best for Your Bones and Health? Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑13||Funk, Janet L., Jennifer B. Frye, Janice N. Oyarzo, Nesrin Kuscuoglu, Jonathan Wilson, Gwen McCaffrey, Gregory Stafford et al. “Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis.” Arthritis & Rheumatism 54, no. 11 (2006): 3452-3464.|
|↑14||Binic, Ivana, Viktor Lazarevic, Milanka Ljubenovic, Jelena Mojsa, and Dusan Sokolovic. “Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).|
|↑15||Thangapazham, Rajesh L., Anuj Sharma, and Radha K. Maheshwari. “Beneficial role of curcumin in skin diseases.” In The Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Curcumin in Health and Disease, pp. 343-357. Springer, Boston, MA, 2007.|
|↑16||Verster, J., A. Fernstrand, D. Bury, T. Roth, and J. Garssen. “The association of sleep quality and insomnia with dietary intake of tryptophan and niacin.” Sleep medicine 16 (2015): 105.|
|↑17||Ghadge, Pallavi, Shital Giramkar, Megha Sangwan, Omkar Kulkarni, Asmita Wele, Aniket Kuvalekar, Suresh Jagtap, And Swati Gadgil. “IN Vitro Free Radical Scavenging Potential Of Common Traditional Ayurvedic Extract: Kashaya And Ksheerpaka.” Methodology 7: 8.|
|↑18||Khalsa, Karta Purkh Singh, and Michael Tierra. The way of ayurvedic herbs: The most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional ayurvedic herbalism. Lotus Press, 2008.|