Turmeric Milk Benefits: Myth or Fact? Here's What Science has Discovered Until Today
You may have heard that for centuries, turmeric milk has been hailed as a miracle elixir with countless health benefits in ayurvedic medicine and traditional Indian practices.
But is this ancient remedy really all it's said to be?
Consider this: instead of adding turmeric to hot milk, what if you looked at it as adding milk to turmeric?
While the bright yellow spice may have some impressive anti-inflammatory properties and anti-cancer properties, the addition of milk could be doing more harm than good.
In this article, let's explore the science behind turmeric milk and uncover whether its purported benefits are fact or myth.
Debunking the Myths of Turmeric Milk Benefits
Turmeric milk has been touted as an ancient Indian miracle elixir with countless health benefits.
However, many of these purported benefits are due to the turmeric component and not the milk.
The bright yellow spice is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and anti-cancer properties, but what about milk?
Studies have shown that dairy products can increase inflammation in the body, which can lead to numerous health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.
Also, ghee, milk and buttermilk contain saturated fats which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of stroke and heart attacks, and even breast cancer.
On the other hand, turmeric itself has numerous health benefits including reducing inflammation, fighting cancer cells, improving digestion, boosting immunity, and even helping with depression.
Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage, and milk ends up working against this.
But then why was turmeric milk created in the first place?
Research shows that the bioavailability of phyonutrients in turmeric such as curcumin can be boosted when you consumed it with a source of fat, milk included.
But research also shows that you can get the same boost in bioavailability with soya milk!
So the next time you want to drink some golden milk, opt for soya milk instead of dairy milk and get all the benefits without any of the risks.
Health Benefits of Turmeric Milk Made from Plants
In the last few years, more than 5,000 research articles have been published about turmeric. Wow!
Turmeric has been shown to be beneficial in preventing and potentially supporting the treatment for:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis
Even one teaspoon of turmeric a day or less could have potential health benefits on your blood glucose level, cardiovascular disease risk, endothelial function, brain health, and brain function.
Let's learn more about these in this article.
Is Golden Milk Part of a Healthy Diet?
Turmeric is rich in phytonutrients such as curcumin. These phytonutrients are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
To maximize the absorption of these phytonutrients, it is recommended to consume turmeric with other spices like pepper and ginger, as well as a source of fat.
Plant-based golden milk may be a good option for those looking to get the benefits of turmeric without the health risks of dairy products.
Plant-based milks such as soya milk, almond milk, or oat milk can be used instead of dairy milk when making golden milk.
Additionally, adding spices like pepper and ginger can help enhance the flavor and increase the absorption of curcumin from turmeric. I have explained more about this below.
You can also incorporate turmeric, pepper and nuts into various other dishes like curries, gravies, vegetables dishes, sambar, rasam, and dal.
The Role of Pepper and Ginger in Golden Milk Recipes
Turmeric is a powerful spice that contains many health benefits, but only 5% of its weight is curcumin.
When you consume turmeric, the liver actively converts it into a water-soluble form and excretes it out because it is a foreign molecule.
This is a problem because it reduces the amount of curcumin that can be harnessed by the body to stay healthy.
Fortunately, spices like pepper and ginger contain phytonutrients like piperine that can suppress this function and allow curcumin to work 2000% more effectively.
This means that when you make plant-based turmeric milk with these spices, you are able to boost health benefits of turmeric.
Also, adding a healthy source of fat such as soya milk or almond milk can also help increase absorption of curcumin from turmeric.
So the next time you make golden milk, try adding some pepper and ginger to make it even healthier - and tastier!
Curcumin in Turmeric and Other Powerful Antioxidants
Curcumin is an active ingredient in turmeric and is widely known for its medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
Whole turmeric powder contains many other beneficial compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, terpenes, and essential oils which all have their own unique health benefits.
Did you know, these compounds work together to provide a synergistic effect that can help reduce inflammation and boost immunity?
When it comes to nutrition, the whole is usually more than the sum of its parts.
It is no surprise then, that research has shown that whole turmeric powder may be more effective than curcumin extract alone when it comes to fighting cancer and reducing inflammation.
What's surprising, though, is that curcumin-free turmeric has been shown to have similar benefits too!
Therefore, it is important to remember that while curcumin is an important part of turmeric’s health benefits, there are many other powerful antioxidants in whole turmeric powder that can also contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
For this reason, it is recommended to consume whole turmeric powder in your glass of turmeric milk tonight rather than just taking a curcumin supplement if you want to maximize the health benefits of golden milk.
The Effects of Turmeric Milk on Heart Disease
Turmeric has been studied extensively for its potential to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Multiple studies have found that curcumin, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, can help reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar levels, both of which are important factors for good heart health.
Curcumin has also been shown to protect the lining of blood vessels from damage caused by oxidative stress.
This helps prevent atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries and leads to heart attack and stroke.
Turmeric has also been studied and found to be useful in preventing several types of heart diseases:
- Cardiac hypertrophy
- Heart failure
- Drug-induced cardiotoxicity
- Myocardial infarction
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Diabetic cardiovascular complications
How Does Plant -based Turmeric Milk Improve Immune Function?
By avoiding dairy milk, plant-based turmeric milk may even help improve immune function.
Turmeric in plant-based turmeric milk is free to perform its anti-inflammatory and immune boosting functions without any interference.
This allows the body to reap the full benefits of turmeric's powerful antioxidants and compounds, which can help reduce inflammation and boost immunity protecting you from both infections as well as chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Does Golden Milk Help with Pain Relief? What are the Benefits of Turmeric Milk for Joint Pain?
Turmeric has been studied extensively for its potential to reduce inflammation and pain.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been found to be as effective as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in reducing inflammation and pain suffered by knee osteoarthritis patients.
In some studies, curcumin has been found to be equally or more effective than placebo in improving physical function and reducing joint stiffness.
This suggests that turmeric may be an effective natural therapy with fewer side effects for osteoarthritis and other diseases that give you chronic pain.
Also, long term pain killer use could lead to kidney damage, while long term turmeric use could protect your kidneys!
Can Turmeric Milk Reduce Risk of Cancer?
Studies have shown that Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone found in dairy milk, may increase the risk of certain cancers.
We know that consuming more animal foods including dairy products is linked with higher circulating IGF-1 levels in men and women.
Saturated fat, also found in dairy milk, has also been linked to an increased risk of cancer like breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Turmeric, on the other hand, has been studied widely for its potential anticancer properties.
Curcumin, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, has been found to have beneficial effects on various types of cancer cells.
One of the effects of curcumin is that it can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which are associated with cancer development.
By drinking plant-based turmeric milk instead of dairy milk, you can get all the benefits of turmeric without any adverse effects from IGF-1 or saturated fat from dairy milk.
How Turmeric and Ginger Affect Health and Disease Prevention
Combining soya milk with turmeric in a plant-based turmeric milk drink can help avoid the negative effects of dairy products, but how healthy is it?
Eating healthy is one of the best ways to prevent disease and stay healthy. Healthy food can be used as medicine to help boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and even fight off chronic diseases.
One great example of this is the combination of turmeric, ginger, and soya milk. This powerful trio has been found to have a synergistic effect that boosts benefits of turmeric 2,000% or more.
Turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce pain associated with arthritis and other joint problems.
It also helps boost immunity by increasing the production of white blood cells which fight off infections and prevents everything from sore throats to heart disease.
Ginger is another powerful ingredient that helps reduce inflammation and pain while also helping to improve digestion. What's more, adding ginger along with ground turmeric to your turmeric latte can boost the benefits of turmeric by improving its bioavailability.
You can use fresh ginger or ginger powder, they should both work well because they contain similar anti-inflammatory compounds.
Best Turmeric Milk Recipe to Boost Health Benefits
Here is the best turmeric milk recipe to boost health benefits:
- In a small saucepan, heat up 1 cup of unsweetened soya milk over medium-low heat.
- Once the milk is warm, add in ¾ tsp of ground turmeric and a pinch of ground ginger. Stir until fully combined.
- Continue to stir the mixture until it reaches your desired temperature and consistency.
- Pour the warm turmeric milk into a mug and enjoy!
Plant Based Nutrition Pro Tips
- You can also use other plant milks such as almond milk or cashew milk if desired, but I recommend avoiding coconut milk due to its high saturated fat content.
- How to make your own almond milk? Simply dissolve 1 tbsp almond butter in a glass of hot water. Simple, delicious and healthy too.
- You can also get the same health benefits using turmeric paste and fresh ginger too.
- Warm milk boosts the activity of turmeric root significantly!
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