If you haven’t tried golden milk yet, you’re missing out since it’s a creamy yet lactose-free, hot milk drink that is packed with nutrients.
Sometimes you can combine health goals and deliciousness after all!
What Is Golden Milk?
Golden milk or turmeric milk is a traditional Indian drink currently gaining popularity in the Western world due to its potential health benefits.
Accordingly, it is known in India as an alternative remedy to strengthen the immune system and relieve ailments, such as:
- Upset stomachs
The warm golden yellow drink is a lively mixture of heated almond (or coconut) milk, turmeric, ginger, and pepper.
Accordingly, turmeric milk can cheer you up in the morning, calm you down in the evening, or ease sore throats.
Also, many people drink golden milk instead of dessert, as some recipes contain cinnamon and honey.
However, those who drink golden milk for its health benefits should avoid honey and cow’s milk.
Either way, turmeric is the dominant flavor in the warming drink. Although the root itself is not spicy, its earthy taste is a sound basis for other spices. For this reason, it’s curry powder’s main ingredient.
Moreover, ginger and pepper do not taste dominant in this traditional recipe, as they bathe in creamy turmeric milk. If you find golden milk bitter, I recommend adding cinnamon.
Besides a certain sweetness, the Christmas spice also has positive health effects, so you don’t have to economize with it.
9 Health Benefits of Golden Milk
Since golden milk is an alternative remedy of Ayurvedic medicine because of its numerous benefits, here are 9 science-backed reasons why it can be healthy.
1. Reduces Inflammation
The ingredients for this simple golden milk recipe are the perfect mix yielding natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric is the essential ingredient of golden milk. This yellow spice, popular in Asian cuisine, gives curry, for example, its yellow color.
Due to curcumin, a primary turmeric compound, the root has strong anti-inflammatory properties and bright orange color.
Accordingly, studies even claim that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties have medicinal qualities without the undesirable side effects of common drugs (Lao et al. 20061).
Against this background, chronic inflammation is a significant contributor to the development of ubiquitous diseases, such as
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Mental disorders
Although curcumin itself is already one of the most potent, purely natural anti-inflammatory compounds, it can have an even more substantial effect combined with black pepper.
Because there is piperine in pepper, it can increase the absorption of curcumin by the body by a factor of 20 (Shoba et al. 19982).
In addition to the centuries of use in Ayurvedic medicine and many animal experiments, human studies now confirm the anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin (Chainani-Wu 20033).
Besides turmeric, part of the ginger family, golden milk benefits from the effects of ginger.
As studies confirm, ginger is such an anti-inflammatory food that it can even replace drugs. However, ginger causes significantly fewer side effects (Grzanna et al. 20154).
2. Prevents Cell Damage
The curcuminoids in turmeric have outstanding antioxidant properties in addition to their anti-inflammatory effect.
For this reason, Ayurvedic medicine has been using turmeric for centuries (Nagpal et al. 20135).
Nevertheless, the real powerhouse is the main ingredient, turmeric. With an ORAC value of over 127000, it gives golden milk the potential to prevent cell damage.
ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) stands for a food’s ability to neutralize free oxygen radicals.
Free radicals are compounds that carry an additional oxygen molecule that causes damage to tissues with which it comes into contact.
With this in mind, curcuminoids can scavenge free radicals more than five times stronger than vitamins C and E. Moreover, they can absorb the free hydroxyl radical, which is considered the most reactive of all free radicals (Menon et al. 20078).
Consequently, these health benefits of golden milk can help to ward off many diseases from bronchitis to insulin resistance to depression.
Furthermore, curcumin helps to protect healthy tissue and thus slows down the aging process.
3. Relieves Pain
Due to our sedentary work style and high stress levels, more and more people suffer from pain.
Again, curcumin can help, as it can mitigate the following types of pain:
- Joint pain
- Bone and muscle pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Menstrual Pain
Moreover, the ginger in golden milk is also known for its effect against severe menstrual cramps and postoperative pain (Rayati et al. 20179).
For this reason, scientists suggest ginger works as well as ibuprofen (Daily et al. 201510).
Further studies also claim that curcumin reduces pain and swelling in joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis (Chandran et al. 201211).
4. Fights Off Bacteria and Viruses
As golden milk is often used in India as a household remedy due to its effect against colds, it is considered to strengthen the immune system.
Furthermore, studies suggest that curcumin in golden milk has antibacterial and antiviral properties to help fight infections (Moghadamtousi et al. 201412).
5. Improves Brain Function
Also, for biohackers who want to increase brain power, the benefits of golden milk can help. On the other hand, it can also help to prevent age-related dementia.
Curcumin can increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) release, which is responsible for forming new nerve cells in the brain (Xu et al. 200617).
For this reason, curcumin can help with depression, stress, and even Alzheimer’s disease (Mishra et al. 200818).
So if your goal is to improve performance at work or university, there are good reasons why curcumin could help.
- Alleviate anxiety and depression
- Prevent neurodegenerative diseases
- Promote mental health
- Increase healthspan
Accordingly, research suggests that curcumin could reverse age-related limitations in brain function.
6. Helps to Prevent Cancer
According to countless studies, curcumin is a promising means of preventing cancer and effectively limiting tumor growth (Takada et al. 200424).
Accordingly, studies suggest that curcumin can selectively kill cancer cells (Ravindran et al. 200925).
Besides, anticancer properties are one of ginger’s health benefits (Poltronieri et al. 201426).
Also, scientists suggest that cinnamon, another ingredient, reduces cancer cells’ growth (Koh et al. 199827).
Nonetheless, caution is paramount in the prevention and treatment of a disease like cancer.
Therefore, always follow the recommendations of the doctor you trust.
7. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Let’s stay with ginger and cinnamon because these ingredients can help to lower blood sugar levels too.
Accordingly, even the daily addition of fresh ginger to tea can lower the blood sugar level by more than 10%. Moreover, studies have shown that ginger can reduce hemoglobin A1C, a long-term blood sugar indicator, by 10% (Khandouzi et al. 201528).
However, you must be aware that turmeric milk only has a chance of lowering blood sugar if it is unsweetened. Besides honey, cow’s milk in golden milk also can cause blood sugar to spike.
For this reason, I recommend using almond or coconut milk instead. The latter also makes the golden milk exceptionally creamy.
The addition of cinnamon, however, can have a positive effect on blood sugar. For example, even less than 5 grams of cinnamon per day can lower blood sugar levels by almost 30%.
Furthermore, cinnamon can reduce insulin resistance, the pre-existing condition of type 2 diabetes (Kirkham et al. 200929).
If insulin sensitivity increases, cells absorb more glucose from the blood, and blood sugar levels can decline.
8. Protects Against Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Nevertheless, it is in your hands to prevent heart disease.
Once again, it is the curcumin in golden milk that can prevent heart disease due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Improve vascular functions
- Lower blood pressure
- Prevent heart attacks and strokes
9. Promotes Skin Health
Our skin serves as the first line of defense against viruses and toxins in our environment and a primary organ for the body’s detoxification.
Thus, and due to the influence of unnatural foods, many people suffer from skin problems.
As it improves wound healing, reduces skin inflammation and skin infections, curcumin can once again provide relief (Nguyen et al. 201333).
Moreover, turmeric’s health benefits in golden milk can reduce acne, psoriasis, or eczema (Vaughn et al. 201634).
For this reason, soaps and other skincare products containing turmeric are flooding the market.
How to Make Golden Milk
In my experience, (canned) coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk are the perfect basis for creamy golden milk.
Accordingly, you can make a mixture of both, or use only almond milk if you want a lighter consistency, or only coconut milk if you want it to be heavier.
Besides, coconut milk and coconut oil can add healthy fats to the drink, which allows the body to better absorb curcumin due to its fat solubility.
Also, black pepper is mandatory, as it increases curcumin’s bioavailability enormously (Shoba et al. 199835).
Since I have tried fresh and ground turmeric, I have to say that the latter even has a better taste.
Furthermore, canned coconut milk should be oil-free but still have a high natural fat content, which makes the yellow turmeric milk creamier.
Simple Golden Milk Recipe (Vegan, Keto, Traditional)
- 1 cup Almond or Coconut Milk (or both)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 slice Ginger (0.5 inches thick, finely chopped)
- 1 pinch Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon (ground, optional)
- 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Grass-Fed Butter (optional)
- 1 pinch Chili (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Honey (optional)
- Warm coconut or almond milk in a small pot at medium heat.
- Add the remaining ingredients in a large cup and mix.
- Dribble a teaspoon of the warmed milk into the cup and mix until the liquid is smooth and lump-free.
- Add the remaining milk and mix well. The remaining ginger pieces can stay in the cup or be strained.
- Last but not least, you can season the golden milk to taste and add optional spices.
When Should I Drink Golden Milk?
When you should drink turmeric milk depends on your individual everyday life.
Unless you are on an intermittent fasting schedule, it is a warming eye-opener in the morning that can replace breakfast.
Moreover, golden milk can be a healthy alternative to desserts and round off both lunch and dinner.
Furthermore, the golden milk is related to turmeric tea and its effects, so it is also drunk in between at tea time.
In short, you can hardly use any other drink in so many ways.
Side Effects of Golden Milk
As a spice, tea or milk, turmeric is generally considered safe and can be consumed without severe side effects.
Accordingly, most studies on the effects of turmeric and also ginger report few to no side effects, although they perform better than commercially available drugs (Lao et al. 200636; Grzanna et al. 201537).
However, some people may experience the following side effects in isolated cases:
- Upset stomach
However, these rare side effects of golden milk are usually associated with excessive consumption.
For example, this can happen through the additional intake of turmeric supplements, so they are not suitable for pregnant women in particular.
Because of the potential high dosage, supplements can promote gallstones or kidney stones due to turmeric oxalates.
Moreover, some people may be allergic to turmeric, although turmeric allergies are relatively rare.
The Benefits of Golden Milk Can Outshine Rare Side Effects
Although it is not a miracle cure that can replace professional treatments, many people have had good golden milk experiences as a natural remedy.
According to studies, it can reduce the risks of those diseases that are significant causes of death. The preventive effect of golden milk ranges from cardiovascular diseases to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
However, do not buy ready-made mixtures, as the ingredients will hardly flatter your health.
Moreover, golden milk is healthy if it is unsweetened and prepared neither with oat nor cow’s milk, as these ingredients cause your blood sugar to skyrocket.
Furthermore, oat milk’s fat is usually highly inflammatory canola oil, inhibiting golden milk’s potential health benefits.
Since their lectin content harms gut health, I also avoid cashew and soy milk.
The Benefits of Golden Milk FAQ
Is it good to drink turmeric milk everyday?
On the one hand, drinking turmeric milk every day can have various health benefits. On the other hand, according to research, it hardly has side effects unless you take high doses of turmeric supplements.
Can you drink golden milk everyday?
Unless they are allergic or already take high doses of supplements, most people can drink golden milk daily.
Does Golden milk help you sleep?
Ayurvedic medicine leverages golden milk to help with upset stomachs. Moreover, it’s anti-inflammatory properties might aid sleep as well, as long as you don’t drink it very late.
Does Golden milk help with weight loss?
If you use high-quality coconut milk, add coconut oil, and don’t use honey, sugar, or sweeteners, golden milk can help with weight loss.
1Lao CD, Ruffin MT 4th, Normolle D, Heath DD, Murray SI, Bailey JM, Boggs ME, Crowell J, Rock CL, Brenner DE. Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Mar 17;6:10. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-6-10. PubMed PMID: 16545122; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1434783.
2Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450. PubMed PMID: 9619120.
3Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8. doi: 10.1089/107555303321223035. Review. PubMed PMID: 12676044.
4Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. J Med Food. 2005 Summer;8(2):125-32. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125. Review. PubMed PMID: 16117603.
5Nagpal M, Sood S. Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2013 Jan;4(1):3-7. doi: 10.4103/0976-9668.107253. PubMed PMID: 23633828; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3633300.
6Wang S, Zhang C, Yang G, Yang Y. Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review. Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Jul;9(7):1027-30. Review. PubMed PMID: 25230520.
7Shan B, Cai YZ, Sun M, Corke H. Antioxidant capacity of 26 spice extracts and characterization of their phenolic constituents. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Oct 5;53(20):7749-59. doi: 10.1021/jf051513y. PubMed PMID: 16190627.
8Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:105-25. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_3. Review. PubMed PMID: 17569207.
9Rayati F, Hajmanouchehri F, Najafi E. Comparison of anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Ginger powder and Ibuprofen in postsurgical pain model: A randomized, double-blind, case-control clinical trial. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2017 Jan-Feb;14(1):1-7. doi: 10.4103/1735-3327.201135. PubMed PMID: 28348610; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5356382.
10Daily JW, Zhang X, Kim DS, Park S. Efficacy of Ginger for Alleviating the Symptoms of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Pain Med. 2015 Dec;16(12):2243-55. doi: 10.1111/pme.12853. Epub 2015 Jul 14. Review. PubMed PMID: 26177393.
11Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639. Epub 2012 Mar 9. PubMed PMID: 22407780.
12Moghadamtousi SZ, Kadir HA, Hassandarvish P, Tajik H, Abubakar S, Zandi K. A review on antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity of curcumin. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:186864. doi: 10.1155/2014/186864. Epub 2014 Apr 29. Review. PubMed PMID: 24877064; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4022204.
13Gull I, Saeed M, Shaukat H, Aslam SM, Samra ZQ, Athar AM. Inhibitory effect of Allium sativum and Zingiber officinale extracts on clinically important drug resistant pathogenic bacteria. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2012 Apr 27;11:8. doi: 10.1186/1476-0711-11-8. PubMed PMID: 22540232; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3418209.
14Ooi LS, Li Y, Kam SL, Wang H, Wong EY, Ooi VE. Antimicrobial activities of cinnamon oil and cinnamaldehyde from the Chinese medicinal herb Cinnamomum cassia Blume. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(3):511-22. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X06004041. PubMed PMID: 16710900.
15Chang JS, Wang KC, Yeh CF, Shieh DE, Chiang LC. Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 9;145(1):146-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.10.043. Epub 2012 Nov 1. PubMed PMID: 23123794.
16Singh HB, Srivastava M, Singh AB, Srivastava AK. Cinnamon bark oil, a potent fungitoxicant against fungi causing respiratory tract mycoses. Allergy. 1995 Dec;50(12):995-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1995.tb02515.x. PubMed PMID: 8834832.
17Xu Y, Ku B, Tie L, Yao H, Jiang W, Ma X, Li X. Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB. Brain Res. 2006 Nov 29;1122(1):56-64. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.09.009. Epub 2006 Oct 3. PubMed PMID: 17022948.
18Mishra S, Palanivelu K. The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2008 Jan;11(1):13-9. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.40220. PubMed PMID: 19966973; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2781139.
19Hurley LL, Akinfiresoye L, Nwulia E, Kamiya A, Kulkarni AA, Tizabi Y. Antidepressant-like effects of curcumin in WKY rat model of depression is associated with an increase in hippocampal BDNF. Behav Brain Res. 2013 Feb 15;239:27-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.10.049. Epub 2012 Nov 8. PubMed PMID: 23142609; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3525727.
20Kulkarni SK, Bhutani MK, Bishnoi M. Antidepressant activity of curcumin: involvement of serotonin and dopamine system. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 Dec;201(3):435-42. doi: 10.1007/s00213-008-1300-y. Epub 2008 Sep 3. PubMed PMID: 18766332.
21Monroy A, Lithgow GJ, Alavez S. Curcumin and neurodegenerative diseases. Biofactors. 2013 Jan-Feb;39(1):122-32. doi: 10.1002/biof.1063. Epub 2013 Jan 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 23303664; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3578106.
22Saenghong N, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S, Tongun T, Piyavhatkul N, Banchonglikitkul C, Kajsongkram T. Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:383062. doi: 10.1155/2012/383062. Epub 2011 Dec 22. PubMed PMID: 22235230; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3253463.
23Zeng GF, Zhang ZY, Lu L, Xiao DQ, Zong SH, He JM. Protective effects of ginger root extract on Alzheimer disease-induced behavioral dysfunction in rats. Rejuvenation Res. 2013 Apr;16(2):124-33. doi: 10.1089/rej.2012.1389. PubMed PMID: 23374025.
24Takada Y, Bhardwaj A, Potdar P, Aggarwal BB. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-kappaB activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferation. Oncogene. 2004 Dec 9;23(57):9247-58. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208169. PubMed PMID: 15489888.
25Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin and cancer cells: how many ways can curry kill tumor cells selectively?. AAPS J. 2009 Sep;11(3):495-510. doi: 10.1208/s12248-009-9128-x. Epub 2009 Jul 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 19590964; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2758121.
26Poltronieri J, Becceneri AB, Fuzer AM, Filho JC, Martin AC, Vieira PC, Pouliot N, Cominetti MR. -gingerol as a cancer chemopreventive agent: a review of its activity on different steps of the metastatic process. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2014 Apr;14(4):313-21. doi: 10.2174/1389557514666140219095510. Review. PubMed PMID: 24552266.
27Koh WS, Yoon SY, Kwon BM, Jeong TC, Nam KS, Han MY. Cinnamaldehyde inhibits lymphocyte proliferation and modulates T-cell differentiation. Int J Immunopharmacol. 1998 Nov;20(11):643-60. doi: 10.1016/s0192-0561(98)00064-2. PubMed PMID: 9848396.
28Khandouzi N, Shidfar F, Rajab A, Rahideh T, Hosseini P, Mir Taheri M. The effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin a1c, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein a-I and malondialdehyde in type 2 diabetic patients. Iran J Pharm Res. 2015 Winter;14(1):131-40. PubMed PMID: 25561919; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4277626.
29Kirkham S, Akilen R, Sharma S, Tsiami A. The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2009 Dec;11(12):1100-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01094.x. Review. PubMed PMID: 19930003.
30Akazawa N, Choi Y, Miyaki A, Tanabe Y, Sugawara J, Ajisaka R, Maeda S. Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. Nutr Res. 2012 Oct;32(10):795-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Oct 15. PubMed PMID: 23146777.
31Shah BH, Nawaz Z, Pertani SA, Roomi A, Mahmood H, Saeed SA, Gilani AH. Inhibitory effect of curcumin, a food spice from turmeric, on platelet-activating factor- and arachidonic acid-mediated platelet aggregation through inhibition of thromboxane formation and Ca2+ signaling. Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Oct 1;58(7):1167-72. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(99)00206-3. PubMed PMID: 10484074.
32Prakash P, Misra A, Surin WR, Jain M, Bhatta RS, Pal R, Raj K, Barthwal MK, Dikshit M. Anti-platelet effects of Curcuma oil in experimental models of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion and thrombosis. Thromb Res. 2011 Feb;127(2):111-8. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2010.11.007. Epub 2010 Dec 8. PubMed PMID: 21144557.
33Nguyen TA, Friedman AJ. Curcumin: a novel treatment for skin-related disorders. J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Oct;12(10):1131-7. Review. PubMed PMID: 24085048.
34Vaughn AR, Branum A, Sivamani RK. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Phytother Res. 2016 Aug;30(8):1243-64. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5640. Epub 2016 May 23. Review. PubMed PMID: 27213821.
35Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450. PubMed PMID: 9619120.
36Lao CD, Ruffin MT 4th, Normolle D, Heath DD, Murray SI, Bailey JM, Boggs ME, Crowell J, Rock CL, Brenner DE. Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Mar 17;6:10. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-6-10. PubMed PMID: 16545122; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1434783.
37Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. J Med Food. 2005 Summer;8(2):125-32. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125. Review. PubMed PMID: 16117603.