Have you heard of ‘golden milk’? I hadn’t, until recently. It’s a new trend taking over the health and wellness world, particularly in natural medicine and clean eating circles. A British news and media website declared it 2016’s drink of choice and a quick Google search found over 56 million results.
What is golden milk?
Golden milk is warm milk spiced with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and other similar spices. It’s also called turmeric milk, turmeric latte or turmeric tea (although it doesn’t contain any tea). Some say that it is similar to chai, a spiced milk tea. Used for centuries in holistic, natural medicine in India and traditional Chinese medicine, golden milk is worshipped for its healing properties.
What is turmeric and curcumin?
Turmeric is a cousin of ginger. It’s known for its vibrant yellow colour and use as a curry spice in Asian cooking. It’s getting a lot of attention these days for its anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric contains the phytochemical curcumin which research has shown to reduce inflammation, particularly with osteoarthritis. Curcumin has proven to be safe and well tolerated for most people. Still more research is needed to determine how effective it is in preventing or treating various chronic diseases. If you were to believe everything you read online, curcumin is purported to have the following properties:
It makes it seems like drinking some golden milk will cure whatever ails you. I’m a skeptic and will wait for more research to support the multitude of claims made regarding its health benefits. In the meantime, I love chai lattes and thought I would experiment with some golden milk. Although there are various recipes online, golden milk is just a sweetened milk with spices. This is a common formula: milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and some type of sugar. I’ve provided a simple recipe if you would like to give it a try.
What did I think about golden milk?
I liked the golden milk:
- It was warm, spicy, earthy and soothing.
- It’s not anything like chai (ok, it has some common spices).
- I think it is an acquired taste.
It was easy to make:
- Ground turmeric was easy to find in the spice aisle at my usual grocery store.
- All the other ingredients were on hand.
- I used sweetened condensed milk as a sweetener because that’s what I use for my chai.
- Doubling the recipe and storing in the fridge overnight helped the flavour develop.
Some things for you to know
I didn’t like that the spices settled and collected on the bottom of my cup. You could use fresh turmeric but it is more difficult to find. You should also be aware that turmeric can stain your hands, teeth, plastic ware and counter tops. Several coffee cups rings appeared on my counter top but wiped up easily. Also, many golden milk recipes used a lot more sugar than my recipe—you can adjust the sweetness to suit your personal taste.
Golden milk is a very trendy beverage, found in all the trendy locales: San Francisco, Australia and Britain for example. It may be awhile before we see golden milk at our local coffee shops but it’s likely on the way. Expect to see lattes, iced coffees and smoothies that rival PSL (pumpkin spice lattes). You may doubt all the purported health benefits like I do, but it is an enjoyable hot beverage. Even if you decide not to try it (like my teens and some co-workers) at least you can say that you have heard of golden milk.
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Written by a Registered Dietitian.