How many different types of milk have you tried?
There are the standard dairy milks: whole, 2%, fat-free, etc or alternatives to cow’s milk such as goat or sheep milk. Many people prefer non-dairy "milk" such as beverages made from soy, almond, rice, hemp, or coconut. Any of these types of milk can be flavored, usually with something sweet like vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.
So where does golden milk fit? Golden milk, also known as haldi doodh, is based on a traditional Ayurvedic recipe that uses turmeric for its health benefits, golden color, and slightly spicy flavor. Golden milk is often flavored with other spices such as black pepper and ginger that also have health benefits.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda originated over 3000 years ago in India and is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. Ayruveda comes from the Sanskrit words "ayur" (life) and "veda" (science or knowledge), and is based on the belief that mind, body, and spirit are interconnected. Ayruveda incorporates fresh, whole foods, herbs, and spices into a healthful lifestyle.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant that's often used as a spice. It has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine. With its bright yellow/orange color and curcumin content, turmeric may help prevent type 2 diabetes, decrease swelling and pain in rheumatoid arthritis, manage ulcerative colitis symptoms, and possibly decrease risk of some types of cancer. After all, curcumin is a polyphenolic compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
How can you make golden milk?
Google “golden milk recipe” and you’ll find 167,000,000 hits. Like any family recipe handed down through the generations, the recipe for golden milk changes based on taste preferences and the types of seasonings available.
To make a basic recipe, combine 1 cup of your favorite unflavored milk with turmeric, ginger, and black pepper to taste and heat. You could also add cinnamon, cayenne pepper, or vanilla. Some recipes include honey or maple syrup for a sweetener but go easy on these since they add calories and simple sugars.
Why add ginger and black pepper to golden milk?
Ginger has been used in Asian medicine, including Ayurveda, for thousands of years to treat diarrhea, nausea and stomachache. Research shows that ginger can help decrease motion sickness, relieve nausea experienced in pregnancy, and help reduce nausea from chemotherapy.
Black pepper improves digestion by stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Without enough hydrochloric acid, food sits in the stomach for too long, often leading to heartburn and indigestion. Black pepper also has antioxidant and antibacterial properties to promote overall health. Further, the piperine in black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin, enhancing its health benefits.
Golden milk is best enjoyed during a quiet time in your day. Drink a cup in the morning while you sit outside, or inside in a sunny spot where you can look out the window. Sip golden milk slowly during a mid-afternoon break away from your desk to bring some peacefulness to your busy day. Or, instead of snacking in the evening, enjoy a warm cup of golden milk while you relax before bed, listening to favorite music or reading a book instead of watching TV or using your phone.
By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDE, CPT, CHWC
- Gaia Herbs. The Ultimate Guide to Golden Milk. Stepfanie Romine. https://blog.gaiaherbs.com/2016/10/20/the-ultimate-guide-to-golden-milk/ 10-20-16. Accessed 6-4-18.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Ayurvedic Medicine: In Depth. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm Last updated January 2015. Accessed 6-4-18.
- Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Turmeric, the Golden Spice: From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 13. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
- Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Curcurmin. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin updated February 2016. Accessed 6-1-18.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Industry Resources on the Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm513734.htm#AddedSugars last updated 5-3-2018. Accessed 6-5-18.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Ginger. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger updated September 2016. Accessed 6-5-18
- The World’s Healthiest Foods. Black Pepper. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=74 Accessed 6-5-18
- Prasad S, Tyagi AK, Aggarwal BB. Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice. Cancer Research and Treatment?: Official Journal of Korean Cancer Association. 2014;46(1):2-18. doi:10.4143/crt.2014.46.1.2.
Infographic: Golden Milk Infographic
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.