Turmeric latte or “golden milk” – a combination of nut milk and juiced turmeric root – is a must-try unique drink.
And it’s not exactly a new idea: Market research firm Mintel named turmeric as one of its foods to watch back in 2016. Meanwhile, Google singled out turmeric’s rise in popularity in a report on food trends after searches for the spice increased by 56 percent from November 2015 to January 2016 – likely during the heyday of people Googling “how to make turmeric latte at home”.
Turmeric lattes, a tasty option for health-conscious folks to get a fix of turmeric, have since been added to menus at cafes spanning the globe, from Sydney to San Francisco. But turmeric itself has been used for its purported healing properties for ages.
Here, we answer some FAQs about turmeric and also give how-tos for creating your own golden milk at home.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice often used in curry and Middle Eastern dishes – and leaves bright yellow stains on kitchen utensils and chefs’ fingers. According to Wikipedia, turmeric itself “is a flowering plant, Curcuma longa, of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, the roots of which are used in cooking.” Got it?
The spice is a part of Ayurvedic medicine – the holistic approach to health that has been practised for centuries in India. It is believed to help with everything from cancer to coughs, and is often prescribed to children who have fever or as an anti-inflammatory for those with arthritis (scroll down for more info on the health benefits of turmeric).
Turmeric mixed with milk is well-known as a restorative in India. These days, the most commonly used recipe for turmeric latte calls for turmeric powder mixed with milk and a dash of black pepper, as well as an optional addition of ghee.
Modern twists on the turmeric latte are made with an espresso shot or as an iced drink. Other variations include using cold-pressed turmeric juice or adding steamed almond milk or coconut milk instead of regular cow’s milk.
Health benefits of turmeric
According to Healthline, curcumin, a bright-yellow chemical compound found in turmeric, has many health benefits. Below are some proven health benefits of the compound:
1. It is naturally anti-inflammatory
Curcumin is known to be strongly anti-inflammatory. The best part? Because it’s all natural, there’s less need to worry about its side-effects, unlike with some other pharmaceuticals prescribed reduce pain and fever or for chronic medical conditions like arthritis.
2. It boosts the body’s own antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential in protecting the body from free radicals – and curcumin works to neutralize these pesky particles.
3. It is said to lower the risk of brain diseases
Curcumin can help to increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – a type of growth hormone that keeps the brain functioning well. An increase in BDNF levels is known to delay or even reverse many brain diseases and age-related brain functions.
4. It can also lower the risk of heart disease
The endothelium – or lining of the blood vessels – is a vital aspect of cardiovascular health. It helps to regulate blood pressure, blood clot and many more. Several studies have suggested that curcumin improves the endothelial function, which in turn, gets the endothelium working well and thus, lowers the risk of heart-related diseases.
5. It may aid in cancer prevention, too
Some studies have shown curcumin can help to reduce the growth of cancer cells (and even stop its growth in test animals). However, while this area has yet to be fully researched and tested for humans, there is evidence curcumin helps prevent cancers from occurring (especially ones of the digestive system like colorectal cancer). It’s too early to say for sure about turmeric’s benefits against cancer, but the according to Healthline, the future looks promising.
How to make turmeric latte at home
What You Need:
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of grated fresh turmeric root
- 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger root (or 1 teaspoon of it, grounded)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Gently warm the almond or coconut milk (don’t bring it to a boil) and add the turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. Note: You can also swap the fresh turmeric out with turmeric paste – combined 2 parts turmeric powder with 1 part boiling water.
- Stir until frothy or heated through.
- Stir in honey or sweetener of choice to taste, and sprinkle with more cinnamon powder.