Health Benefits of Golden Milk
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Herbs and spices have been used through the years to improve the taste and flavor of food. They have also been used to boost health and to treat disease.
Turmeric is one of the most popular spices, especially in Asia where it is used in many different recipes and in preparation of medicine. One such medicinal preparation is golden milk.
Golden milk is made from turmeric powder or grated turmeric tuber together with coconut milk, or other types of milk and black pepper. Other ingredients like cinnamon powder, cardamom and honey may also be included.
Turmeric and golden milk have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years to treat different types of health conditions. Recent scientific studies have unraveled how they work.
In today’s discussion, we will look at the health benefits of golden milk. But first, let us find out what it is and how it is made.
What is golden milk?
Golden milk is a liquid beverage made by combining turmeric powder, coconut milk and black pepper. You may also include other ingredients like cinnamon to increase the potency of the beverage or to customize its taste.
Golden milk has a long history that stretches back hundreds of years. It was used as medicine for long range of ailments in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. In recent years, golden milk has increasingly become an important component of healthy living in many parts of the world.
But, what has led to the popularity of golden milk?
Health benefits of golden milk ingredients
The ingredients that make golden milk have their individual health benefits. These are well known and are the reason why these ingredients have been used for hundreds of years.
But, while the benefits have been known for generations, it was not always clear how the herbs and spices work.
However, research studies conducted in recent years have led to the identification of the bioactive components in the individual ingredients and therefore in golden milk.
Turmeric, whose scientific name is curcuma longa, has been scientifically proven to have many health benefits. It contains curcumin which gives turmeric and golden milk the golden yellow color. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, responsible for most of its health benefits.
Black pepper, another ingredient of golden milk contains piperine (1) which is known to boost the absorption of curcumin.
Piperine works by preventing the breakdown of curcumin in the liver. This means that more curcumin remains unchanged so that it ultimately makes its way to where it is required, including the brain.
Coconut milk contains several beneficial components including the antibacterial and antiviral lauric acid and several electrolytes.
On their parts, cinnamon and cardamom have several health benefits including controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
As would be expected, when these ingredients are combined, they work synergistically to produce a highly potent product that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and anti-carcinogenic properties.
How to make golden milk
There are many different recipes for making golden milk all of which include turmeric. Most of them also include coconut milk or coconut oil, although some may use other types of milk, including dairy.
Other ingredients include black pepper, cinnamon powder, cardamom, ginger powder. You may also sweeten with a bit of raw honey.
Following is a basic recipe for golden milk:
2 cups coconut milk
1 tsp. turmeric powder
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder
Additional ingredients if desired
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. raw honey
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Using a blender, mix the ingredients except honey and cayenne pepper, into a smooth mixture
Pour the mixture into a pot and heat until it almost starts boiling
Turn off the heat
Pour into a cup and let it cool to a comfortable temperature
Add the raw honey and enjoy your golden milk beverage
Golden milk dosage
There is no universally accepted dosage for golden milk, turmeric or curcumin for that matter. However, several sources recommend an average of 500 mg of curcumin for up to three times daily.
For coconut milk, it is important to remember that it contains significant amounts of fat. For this reason, you should limit your intake of the coconut milk component so that you don’t consume excess amounts of fat. This is different for different types of coconut milk.
If you use thick coconut milk which contains about 20% fat, you should limit your intake to a maximum of 330 ml in a day. However, if you use light coconut milk containing less than 7% fat, you can take up to about one liter daily.
The other ingredients are included in minimal quantities and their effects are thus insignificant.
It is worth noting that the above dosage, especially for turmeric is preventive. Curative dosages are generally higher and dependent on the condition being treated.
Interactions and contraindications
Most studies indicate that there is no known danger of consuming turmeric in significantly large quantities. However, people on blood thinning medications and anticoagulants like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen should avoid high amounts of turmeric especially in form of curcumin supplements.
Health Benefits of Golden Milk
As indicated earlier, golden milk is a combination of ingredients with individual health benefits. Its health benefits include the following:
Boosts health of the digestive tract
Digestive diseases such as IBS, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the result of inflammation. To treat these conditions, doctors prescribe drugs known as corticosteroids. Unfortunately, these drugs can interfere with gut flora and worsen digestive health.
But you can improve your digestive health using golden milk. According to some studies, by taking curcumin supplements, it is possible to discontinue taking corticosteroid medications.
Regulates blood sugar levels and improves type-2 diabetes
High blood sugar level leads to diabetes, a condition that affects millions of people around the world. Once you have diabetes, you rely on medication to control your blood sugar levels.
But according to studies, regular intake of turmeric can help to regulate your blood sugar. One study found that curcumin is more effective than a popular diabetes medicine known as metformin in activating an enzyme that has potential to reverse type-2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin help to reverse hyperglycemia complications like retinopathy and neuropathy.
Protects against memory decline
Regular use of golden milk improves the cognitive function. This is courtesy of curcumin.
This study (5) found that people aged between 60 and 80 had better functioning memory after taking curcumin supplements for 4 weeks compared to those who took a placebo. This improvement could result from an improvement in blood flow.
These results are important for seniors who typically suffer from age-related memory decline.
Improves heart and circulatory health
Millions of people have heart disease and millions more have circulatory problems such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These conditions condemn patients to a lifetime of medications.
Additionally, most of these medications have serious adverse effects including causing damage to the kidneys and the liver.
Fortunately, there is increasing evidence that curcumin can help improve circulatory health without causing damage to body organs.
Regular consumption of golden milk reduces inflammation and oxidative stress and therefore improves heart health and overall circulatory health.
Relieves body aches and pain
You can get relief from pain by taking golden milk regularly. The anti-inflammatory properties come in handy to reduce or stop the inflammation that causes joint and back pain.
Detoxes the liver
Turmeric is regarded as a natural liver tonic. It detoxes the liver, the blood and the lymphatic system and thereby boosts overall health.
Relieves respiratory ailments
Both turmeric and lauric acid in golden milk have antibacterial and antiviral properties. These make the beverage a great remedy for respiratory illnesses including congestion, bronchitis and even asthma.
Alleviates arthritic pain
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory that also helps to relieve pain. These properties are important in arthritis. This study (6) compared how well curcumin, diclofenac sodium and a combination of the two worked.
The study found that taking 500mg of curcumin provides more effective relief than taking 50 mg of diclofenac or a combination of curcumin and diclofenac.
Additionally, the study also found that curcumin did not have any adverse effects.
Many studies show that cancer usually develops as a result of chronic inflammation. This means that stopping or reducing inflammation can lower the risk of cancer.
According to various studies, the curcumin in turmeric inhibits COX-2, an enzyme that causes inflammation that leads to the development of cancer. Moreover, curcumin has been found to be selective such that it can destroy cancer cells without causing harm to non-cancerous cells.
Golden milk is said to produce tryptophan, an amino acid that induces restful sleep. It can therefore help someone with insomnia to sleep better.
Improves skin tone
Golden milk was used to improve skin tone, clear acne, and reduce wrinkles. Golden milk has antioxidant properties which help fight free radical damage and restore skin health.
Increase good cholesterol
Studies have found that the MCT oils from coconut milk cause an increase in good cholesterol, HDL. MCT oils have also been shown to reduce tooth decay.
The curcumin in golden milk helps to stimulate increased production of bile within the liver. This plays an integral part in weight management because increased bile production leads to increased breakdown of fat and therefore reduction of body weight (7).
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