Turmeric is just about everywhere. This magical spice can transform any dish, offer up serious anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, and boost the immune system. Turmeric’s starring role, however, may just be as the vibrant ingredient in golden milk: a turmeric-based elixir to help renew mind, body, and spirit.
Golden Milk and Turmeric Health Benefits
Golden milk is a combination of milk (cow or nondairy milk), turmeric, a sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup, coconut oil, and black pepper, along with other flavorful ingredients like the warming spices cinnamon and nutmeg. Turmeric’s golden hue is how the drink gets its namesake color and the majority of its associated healing and elixir status benefits.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in both traditional Chinese medicine as well as India’s Ayurvedic medical system. Historically, turmeric has been used for the treatment of liver disease, skin problems, respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments, sprained muscles, joint pains and arthritis, inflammation, and wound healing.
The majority of turmeric’s potent healing power is due to a powerful compound known as curcumin, a bioactive chemical with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research has proven that turmeric and curcumin have the abilities to:
- Help improve the memory of individuals in the early stages of diabetes and those at risk for cognitive damage.
- Reduce free radical damage to cells and tissues thanks to potent antioxidants.
- Reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well as numerous other inflammatory joint conditions.
- Support healthy cholesterol levels and prevent low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol oxidation.
- Positively modulate more than 160 different physiological pathways.
- Improve liver function.
- Protect against heavy metal damage.
- Inhibit and prevent certain types of cancer, including pancreatic, breast, and colon cancer.
- Reduce the degenerative symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric is also a source of numerous vitamins and minerals including manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, E, and K.
Organic or Conventional Turmeric?
Look for certified organic turmeric powder in a glass bottle or certified organic knobs of fresh turmeric root. Organic turmeric has been grown in certified organic soil without the use of certain synthetic pesticides and herbicides, making it a better choice than conventionally-grown turmeric.
Organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and roots often contain a higher amount of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. A 2014 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition, which included data from more than 300 studies, found that organic crops have considerably higher concentrations of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds–about 50 percent more, compared to conventional crops. This means organic turmeric may provide more potent curcumin and antioxidant benefits, compared to conventional turmeric. But the benefits of turmeric–even if grown conventionally–outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. So if you can only find conventional turmeric, give it a go for this delicious and nutritious golden milk recipe.
If you choose powdered turmeric, look for options without any additives or fillers. The ingredient list should simply read: ground turmeric. Our favorite ground turmeric brands include:
- Simply Organic ground turmeric
- The Spice Hunter organic turmeric
- Healthworks Turmeric Root Powder
- Frontier Natural organic ground turmeric
How to Add Turmeric to Your Diet
Turmeric has a pleasant earthy and mild taste that can boost and transform any dish. It works well with vegetables, meat, and even in breakfast and desserts–just remember that the slight hint of turmeric will naturally color any dish yellow. Here are a few ways to get your turmeric fix:
- Golden milk (see delicious recipe below)
- Stirred into porridge or chia seed pudding
- Pancake and waffle batter
- Added into mashed sweet potatoes
- Baked goods like quick breads and muffins
- Soups, stews, and chili
- Add a dash to guacamole
- Stir a dash into yogurt
- Fresh root juiced with apple, beets, and carrot
- Salad dressings
- Marinades for chicken or meat
- On roasted vegetables
Related On Organic Authority
9 Turmeric Benefits You Need to Know: The Power of Kitchen Gold (Plus Recipes!)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Turmeric and Garlic: Comfort Food Hack!
It’s Turmeric Time: Why You Need the Benefits of This Skin Savior (Plus: Product Picks)
Photos by Kate Gavlick