Ingredients and Uses

Turmeric Milk: 11 Super-Powerful Benefits Of The Golden Milk

Reviewed By Registered Dietitian Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN
by
Turmeric Milk: 11 Super-Powerful Benefits Of The Golden Milk Hyderabd040-395603080 October 24, 2019

Turmeric milk is a traditional Indian drink that is gaining fame fast in the West. It is also called the golden milk. Not just for its color, but also its benefits.

This powerful beverage is made of cow- or plant-based milk along with turmeric. The concoction has a fantastic nutritional profile – including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Drinking turmeric milk is another easy way of adding the goodness of turmeric to your diet. It is one way you can steer clear of most illnesses and boost your immunity.

In this post, we have listed the top 11 evidence-based benefits of turmeric milk. We have included a recipe as well. Scroll down to get started!

How Is Turmeric Milk Good?

The goodness of turmeric milk comes primarily from turmeric. The milk is prepared by adding a few spices as well that add to the benefits.

Turmeric is the most researched spice on the planet. Its most important compound is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant (1).

The turmeric in the milk is a documented treatment for a host of health conditions. These include respiratory disorders, liver issues, inflammation and joint pains, digestive ailments, and even diabetes and cancer (1).

Turmeric has also been found to promote heart health (1).

This is just the tip of the iceberg. To understand how turmeric milk contributes to your overall well-being, it is important you get into the details.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Turmeric Milk?

Turmeric milk contains turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon – all of which are powerful spices with great health properties. These three, in combination, fight inflammation and associated ailments like joint pain, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

1. Fights Inflammation And Joint Pain

Fights Inflammation And Joint Pain Pinit

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The curcumin in turmeric milk fights inflammation and joint pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties are comparable with certain mainstream pharmaceutical drugs (2).

In one study, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who took 500 milligrams of curcumin every day showed more improvement than those who took a standard drug (3).

Similar results were found with ginger, another spice usually added to turmeric milk (4).

Curcumin inhibits the molecules that play a role in inflammation. Some of these include phospholipase, thromboxane, and collagenase (5).

Studies also recommend curcumin for joint pain relief as a potential alternative to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) (6).

2. May Prevent Cancer

Hundreds of studies have linked curcumin to potential anticancer activities. Research shows us that curcumin can treat or even prevent cancers of the breast, ovaries, lung, skin, brain, and digestive system (7).

Laboratory research also suggests that curcumin can slow down the progression of cancer and make chemotherapy more effective (8). It also protects healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy.

Ginger is another ingredient in turmeric milk. This spice contains 6-gingerol, which exhibits anticancer activity (9).

Cinnamon is another common ingredient used in turmeric milk. This spice contains cinnamaldehyde, a powerful compound that inhibits cancer (10).

Though most of these studies are done on animals, turmeric milk does have a promising potential in preventing cancer in humans. More research is warranted in this regard.

3. Promotes Heart Health

Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon have all been linked to reduced heart disease risk. The following studies tell you how.

The curcumin in turmeric inhibits the release of cytokines, which are compounds involved in inflammation. These cytokines are largely associated with cardiovascular disease (6).

In studies, the intake of ginger powder cut down the risk of heart disease in subjects (11). The powder reduced the levels of bad cholesterol and increased the levels of good cholesterol.

Intake of cinnamon had also shown similar effects (12).

Curcumin also improves the functioning of the endothelial cells. These cells form the blood vessel linings. Optimum functioning of the endothelial cells boosts heart health (13).

Curcumin was also found to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease (14).

4. Aids Diabetes Treatment

The curcumin in turmeric can lower blood glucose levels, aiding diabetes treatment (15). The compound also plays a role in preventing diabetes-related liver disorders. Additionally, curcumin has also been used in treating diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy.

Curcumin also prevents inflammation and oxidative stress, two common problems associated with diabetes (16).

In a study, spices like ginger and cinnamon were found to have beneficial effects on diabetes. In the rat study, these spices also exhibited anti-obesity and hepatoprotective effects (17).

Using turmeric milk for diabetes looks like an effective way to treat the disease and its symptoms.

5. Promotes Brain Health

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The curcumin in turmeric milk may cut the risk of depression and Alzheimer’s. This has to do with what scientists call the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF is a growth hormone in your brain that helps neurons multiply and increase in number (18).

Low levels of BDNF have been associated with depression and Alzheimer’s (19),(20). This is because BDNF is also associated with learning and memory (18).

The cinnamon in turmeric milk increases the levels of neuroprotective proteins in the brain. This has been found to cut the risk of Parkinson’s disease (21).

Even ginger was found to boost reaction time and memory (22).

The curcumin in turmeric also cuts the risk of age-related cognitive decline (23). It also promotes better mood (24).

6. May Aid Weight Loss

The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in turmeric milk might aid weight loss. This is because weight loss is often characterized by metabolic inflammation (25).

An animal study suggests that curcumin may also suppress fat tissue growth (26). Whether curcumin in the milk would have the same effects in humans or not needs more research.

7. Enhances Digestive Health

The turmeric in the milk may enhance digestion. It even promotes fat digestion by increasing bile production by 62% (27).

The ginger in turmeric milk also helps here. In studies, ginger stimulated gastric emptying in individuals with chronic indigestion (28).

In another preliminary study, turmeric ingestion improved the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The curcumin in turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory, carminative, and antimicrobial properties that promote the health of the gastrointestinal tract (29).

Curcumin also promotes liver health. It can protect the liver in times of acute or chronic liver injury. Curcumin was also found to interact with enzymes involved in liver cirrhosis – thereby reducing the risk of the disease (30). However, we need more studies to substantiate the beneficial effects of curcumin on liver health.

8. Boosts Immunity

The curcumin in turmeric milk is an immunomodulatory agent. It can promote the functioning of T cells, B cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells – all essential components of the body’s immune system (31).

Curcumin can also enhance the response of antibodies. This only means curcumin’s effects on arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s can be attributed to its ability to modulate the human immune system (31).

Turmeric milk can also help treat cold and sore throat (1).

9. Can Strengthen Bones

The milk in this power beverage plays a role here. Milk is usually rich in calcium and vitamin D. Both these nutrients are essential for strong bones (32).

Turmeric was also found to protect the bones. Preliminary research shows that turmeric, with the right amounts of curcumin, can prevent bone loss by as much as 50% (33). Whether these effects can prevent osteoporosis in humans or not warrants more study.

10. May Help Treat Insomnia

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Turmeric milk might also improve sleep quality. Mice studies have shown that turmeric in the milk can prevent sleep deprivation (34).

Curcumin may also reduce your anxiety levels, further promoting sleep quality (35).

11. Promotes Skin Health

Traditionally, turmeric is used as a remedy for a number of skin conditions. The spice is also believed to make the skin glow and keep harmful bacteria at bay (1).

Even topical application of turmeric was found to relieve skin tumors (1). There is not much information on how you can use turmeric milk for this purpose, except for consuming it.

Curcumin is often used as an ingredient in skin gels and other skin care products. The compound is known to enhance skin protection (36).

Also, the cinnamon in turmeric milk promotes collagen synthesis (37). This promotes skin health and fights premature signs of aging.

When we say turmeric milk, we do not mean turmeric alone. It is a powerful combination of other important spices (like cinnamon and ginger) that contribute to its overall nutritional value.

What we have discussed are the potential benefits turmeric milk can offer. To avail them, you must consume the milk regularly. But how do you do it? How to prepare this wonder decoction?

How To Prepare Turmeric Milk

Preparing the golden milk at home is easy. The following recipe gives you a single serving (1 cup) of the milk:

What You Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of unsweetened milk
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (optional, to improve taste)
Directions
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the drink through a fine strainer into mugs.
  4. Top the beverage with a pinch of cinnamon.

You can prepare this milk and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. Reheat it before drinking.

There is a reason we have included black pepper in the recipe. Curcumin in turmeric, by itself, is not very well absorbed in the body. Adding black pepper can help. The pepper contains piperine, a compound that enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000% (38).

Doesn’t turmeric milk sound like the ultimate elixir of life? Well, there are certain concerns about turmeric milk that we must be aware of.

What Are The Side Effects Of Turmeric Milk?

  • May Aggravate Kidney Stones

Turmeric contains 2% oxalate (39). At high doses, this can cause or even aggravate kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Hence, please avoid use if you have kidney issues.

  • May Cause Iron Deficiency

Excess turmeric may hamper iron absorption (40). This can lead to iron deficiency in people who do not consume enough iron.

  • May Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels Way Too Much

If you are already on diabetes medication, the milk may lower your blood sugar levels way too much (as it already has anti-diabetic properties). Please check with your doctor before you consume turmeric milk if you have diabetes.

Conclusion

Turmeric milk is the golden milk, indeed. It contains natural spices and other ingredients that offer great benefits. It is simple to make – takes less than 15 minutes.

Having it once a day is a better option than your evening cup of coffee or a can of Cola. Hence, it is time for you to make a wise choice.

Do you already drink turmeric milk every day? How do you find the results? Do share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment in the box below.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can you take turmeric milk?

Drinking turmeric milk at night would be the better option as it can promote sleep.

Can you take turmeric milk every day?

Yes, you can drink turmeric milk every day. But if you have any medical condition, please consult with your doctor before you do so.

References

    1. Turmeric, the golden spice” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, US National Library of Medicine.
    2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents…” Oncogene, US National Library of Medicine.
    3. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy…” Phytotherapy Research, US National Library of Medicine.
    4. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in…” Arthritis and Rheumatism, US National Library of Medicine.
    5. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin…” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
    6. Curcumin: a review of its effect on human health” Foods, US National Library of Medicine.
    7. Curcumin and cancer: an…” Cancer Letters, US National Library of Medicine.
    8. New insights into therapeutic activity…” Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
    9. 6-gingerol as a cancer chemopreventive agent…” Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine.
    10.  “Cinnamaldehyde inhibits…” International Journal of Immunopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
    11.  “The effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar…” Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, US National Library of Medicine.
    12. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes…” Annals of Family Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
    13. Endothelial cell functions…” Basic Research in Cardiology, US National Library of Medicine.
    14. Effect of curcumin on permeability of coronary…” International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology, US National Library of Medicine.
    15. Curcumin and diabetes…” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
    16. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of…” Current Pharmaceutical Design, Bentham Science.
    17. Some pharmacological effects of cinnamon…” Journal of Intercultural Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
    18. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor” Growth Factors, US National Library of Medicine.
    19. Alterations of serum levels of…” Biological Psychiatry, ScienceDirect.
    20. BDNF mRNA is decreased in the…” Neuron, ScienceDirect.
    21. Cinnamon treatment upregulates…” Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
    22. Zingiber officinale improves cognitive…” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
    23. Efficacy of curcumin for age-associated…” GeroScience, US National Library of Medicine.
    24. Curcumin treatment leads to better…” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, US National Library of Medicine.
    25. Curcumin and obesity” Biofactors, US National Library of Medicine.
    26. Turmeric extract suppresses fat tissue growth…” Tufts University.
    27. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in…” World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine.
    28. Effect of ginger on gastric motility…” World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine.
    29. Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome…” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
    30. Antioxidants in liver health” World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine.
    31. Spicing up of the immune system…” Journal of Clinical Immunology, US National Library of Medicine.
    32. Dietary protein and calcium interact to…” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
    33. Laboratory study shows turmeric may have…” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
    34. Possible nitric oxide modulation in…” Phytomedicine, US National Library of Medicine.
    35. Efficacy of curcumin in the modulation of…” Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, US National Library of Medicine.
    36. A review on antibacterial, antiviral…” BioMed Research International, US National Library of Medicine.
    37. Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
    38. Therapeutic roles of curcumin…” The AAPS Journal.
    39. Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary…” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
    40. Iron deficiency anemia due to…” National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the field for well over 4 years now. His work involves extensive research on how one can maintain better health through natural foods and organic supplements. Ravi has written over 250 articles and is also a published author. Reading and theater are his other interests.