Medical News Today: What are the benefits of golden milk?

Golden milk is a traditional Indian drink that people make with turmeric, which gives it a yellow or gold hue. People also call golden milk “turmeric milk.”

To make golden milk, a person must warm up nondairy milk with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and other spices.

Many of these spices contain antioxidants or have anti-inflammatory properties. In this article, learn about the benefits of golden milk and how to make it.

Benefits

The potential benefits of golden milk include:

1. Reducing inflammation

Golden milk turmeric tea in glass on wooden table
People make golden milk with various spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon.

Golden milk’s ingredients, which are ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric, contain anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation can help prevent or manage conditions including:

A person may reduce inflammation by adding golden milk to their regular diet. For example, a small study of 45 participants showed that consuming 500 milligrams (mg) of curcumin was as effective as taking 50 mg of a common arthritis medication at reducing inflammation. Curcumin is the active component in turmeric.

2. Preventing cell damage

Curcumin also has antioxidant properties. Some studies have shown that antioxidants can help a person’s body repair cell damage and help reduce the risk of many illnesses.

For example, one 2015 study found that antioxidants in foods and spices have a positive effect on reducing cell damage.

3. Improving mood

There is evidence to suggest that curcumin can help improve mood in people who consume it regularly.

A small study consisting of 60 participants found that taking curcumin supplements could help reduce symptoms in people with major depressive disorder. Those taking both curcumin and antidepressant drugs saw the most significant improvement.

However, more research is necessary to determine its efficacy and the right doses, as the authors of the study also said that the results were not statistically significant.

4. Supporting brain function and improving memory

Some older studies have suggested that turmeric may help improve brain function, but more recent research is necessary to fully prove its effectiveness.

Ginger and cinnamon, the ingredients in golden milk, have shown some promise in animal studies.

For example, one study looked at cinnamon’s effect on preserving specific proteins related to Parkinson’s disease. These proteins are protective against its symptoms, such as memory loss and tremors.

The study showed promising results, but studies in human are necessary to fully show how effective cinnamon is for improving brain function.

5. Preventing heart disease

Woman drinking hot drink from mug in cafe.
Benefits of golden milk include improving mood and lowering the risk of heart disease.

The three major ingredients in golden milk have all shown some promise in helping reduce the risk of heart disease.

However, the studies tend to be small and limited. Also, the amount of each ingredient present in golden milk may not be enough to fully show the benefits found in research.

One small study showed that those taking curcuminoids had a lower incident rate of myocardial infarction events, such as heart attack, after coronary artery bypass surgery.

The rate fell from 30 percent in the placebo group to about 13 percent in the curcuminoid group. More research is still needed to prove these findings, however.

6. Possibly reducing the risk of cancer

Older studies on ginger, cinnamon, and curcumin show that they may have some effects on reducing the risk of cancer.

While many alternative health sites repeat these claims, most studies are:

  • limited
  • older
  • done in test tubes
  • not definitive

It is unlikely that the small amounts of these spices in golden milk would have an impact on cancer risk. However, more research is necessary to find definitive results.

7. Lowering blood sugar levels

Similarly to possibly reducing the risk of cancer, more research is necessary to show that the ingredients in golden milk can help lower blood sugar.

Some research has found that consuming ginger may help reduce fasting blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

A 2017 double-blind placebo-controlled trial supported these results. The scientists divided 50 participants with type 2 diabetes into two groups. For 10 weeks, one group took 2,000 mg of ginger per day, while the other group took a placebo.

At the end of the trial, the researchers found that the ginger had significantly reduced the participants’ fasting blood sugar levels.

8. Boosting the immune system

People tend to use golden milk to help fight common illnesses, such as the cold.

One review of studies found that curcumin contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties that can help a person better fight infections.

Ginger and cinnamon are also common home remedies for colds and flus.

9. Improving bone health

Many enriched plant-based milks contain vitamin D and calcium, which are very beneficial to bone health.

Calcium is a necessary nutrient for maintaining bone health. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from foods.

People tend to make golden milk using nondairy milks such as coconut milk. For this reason, people should be sure to find enriched versions that contain additional nutrients to gain this benefit.

10. Aiding digestion

The ginger present in golden milk may help aid digestion. Ginger is a common home remedy for nausea and vomiting.

Research supports this. For example, one study in people with chemotherapy-induced nausea found ginger to be an effective and low-risk way to reduce symptoms.

How to make it

Golden tea is traditionally dairy-free, with almond milk being a popular ingredient.
Golden milk is traditionally dairy-free, with almond milk being a popular ingredient.

Golden milk is available online, in health stores, and in some grocery stores. However, a person can easily make golden milk at home.

To make golden milk, a person will need:

  • ½ cup nondairy milk, such as coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp honey

Combine all the ingredients in a pot. Next, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes or until it is fragrant.

To serve, strain the mixture through a fine strainer to remove the spices. Golden milk will keep in the refrigerator for around 5 days.

Summary

Golden milk may have several health benefits and has few risks unless a person is allergic to one of its ingredients.

For those interested in trying it, they can make their own recipe at home or buy a premade mixture.

It is worth noting that although golden milk may have health benefits, it is not a replacement for medical treatments.

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