It is widely known that calcium is required for strong bones. But there are other essen...VIEW POST
4 Benefits of Golden (Turmeric) Milk + Bedtime Sleep Recipe†
Written by: Sally Johnson, MA, RD, LD, CFMP®️
Do you have trouble sleeping? What if you were to discover the most wonderful way to power-down after a long day and set yourself up for a blissful night of restorative sleep? What if it was also nutritious and absolutely delicious?
Sounds like you’ve found gold — a warm, comfy cup of yummy golden milk that is!
Read on to learn why golden milk not only supports a relaxed mood and restful sleep but provides a bevy of nutrients for a healthy body and mind. Or, click here to jump to the recipe and indulge in a cozy cup of Sleepy Time Golden Milk!
What is Golden Milk?
Golden Milk is known by many names, including turmeric milk, turmeric tea, turmeric latte, or Haldi ka doodh in India, where it originated. True to its name, golden milk is milk infused with turmeric, which gives it a brilliant gold color. Honey for a touch of sweetness and warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, chai, star anise, cayenne, and black pepper are common additions.
Golden milk has been used as a general palliative in ancient Indian medicine known as Ayurveda for thousands of years. It continues to be used as a comforting tonic in Indian homes and has been adopted widely around the world for its many potential health benefits. Not only can a steamy mug of golden milk facilitate a balanced and happy disposition and a good night's sleep, but science shows that the spices and healthy fats can contribute to total body wellness by supporting metabolism, digestion, nervous system health, and immunity.
4 Benefits of Golden Milk
1. Turmeric Benefits
As the premier ingredient in golden milk, turmeric deserves special attention. Turmeric has an earthy, bitter flavor that provides savory depth to recipes. It’s a staple in Indian curries, many dishes across Southeast Asia, and cultural traditions such as golden milk.
Like other rhizomes, including ginger, turmeric is a nubby stem that grows horizontally under the soil, sending out roots and new plant shoots. Just like ginger, you can eat fresh turmeric; however, most recipes use the dried and ground form.
Turmeric is in a league of its own not only because of its cultural importance as a foundational component of Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cuisine, but because of its potential to benefit human health. Let's take a look at why this vibrant yellow-orange aromatic is such a superstar.
Turmeric is a beneficial source of manganese, iron, vitamin B6, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Most notably, turmeric contains curcumin, a highly potent polyphenol antioxidant with potential for many applications for wellness.†(1)
For instance, curcumin has been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels, inflammatory responses, liver function, digestion, and menstrual cycles. Research also shows that curcumin can support a happy mood and sense of calm, moderate physical discomfort, and provide immune system support.† (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
A drawback to curcumin is that it is poorly absorbed at the intestinal wall. Fortunately, adding a little healthy fat and black pepper to your golden milk significantly increases curcumin’s availability. This is due to a natural substance in pepper called piperine. In fact, piperine increases the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent!† (10)
2. Antioxidant Benefits
Golden milk is more than a pleasing cup of comfort and deliciousness. Three key ingredients — turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon make it an antioxidant-rich brew full of curcumin, gingerols, and cinnamaldehyde, respectively.
Antioxidants keep unstable molecules known as free radicals from wreaking havoc on the stable, healthy molecules that make up your cells, proteins, and DNA. Free radicals are normal by-products of living, eating, breathing, and all other routine metabolic processes. A healthy body has a well-functioning antioxidant defense system to neutralize free radicals before they can do any harm. However, too many free radicals from poor diet and lifestyle, pollution, toxins, and even infections can overwhelm the body’s natural defenses. (11)
Curcumin, gingerols, and cinnamaldehyde act as scavengers that mop up excess free radicals before they can disrupt the harmony of your healthy physiology.† (12, 13, 14)
3. Benefits of Healthy Fats
Traditionally, golden milk is made with dairy, and only recently have the vegan, dairy-free, and Paleo crowds popularized dairy-free milk recipes using alternatives like coconut milk, almond milk, and other nut milks, as well as milk made from grains such as oat milk. Whichever milk you choose, make sure it contains fat, or coconut oil, butter, or ghee. Many of the beneficial ingredients in golden milk need fat for absorption into the body, including our star ingredient, curcumin.
Healthy fats nourish our bodies, provide satiety, and do not turn rancid when exposed to heat, light, and air. The saturated fats in dairy and coconut milk are very stable and maintain their integrity under varying conditions. Although maligned and misrepresented for decades as agents for disease, it is now recognized that foods containing natural saturated fats are healthy components of standard diets. (15, 16)
In fact, saturated fat from dairy sources appears to have many health benefits. Whole milk consumption has been shown to support heart health, sugar metabolism, healthy cell metabolism, and weight loss. (17)
If you avoid dairy for any reason, full-fat coconut milk is a great choice for golden milk due to its trio of saturated, medium-chain fats with unique properties. Lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid are well known to support immune health. (18, 19) These unique fatty acids are also known to provide cognitive support in aging adults and neurological support in children. (20, 21)
4. Sleep Benefits
Is a night of restful and restorative sleep just a dream? Let’s see why a steamy, creamy cup of golden milk can make soothing slumber a reality.
Antioxidants: As we have seen, the antioxidants in golden milk support healthy physiology and metabolism. When your cells, organs, and systems are protected from free radical oxidation, they are more likely to function properly, and you are more likely to feel good at the end of the day so that sleep can come easier, get deeper, and last longer.
Milk: Yes, a glass of warm milk before bed really can make you sleepy! Dairy milk is a beneficial source of tryptophan, casein, and calcium that all help to put your brain into sleep mode.
- Your brain needs the amino acid tryptophan to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a sense of calm. From serotonin, your body can make the hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep in response to nighttime darkness. (22)
- Calcium, the most abundant mineral in dairy products, is associated with decreased difficulty falling asleep and non-restorative sleep, possibly due to its blood-pressure-lowering effects. (23)
- Casein, the main protein in milk, contains fragments known as casomorphins. These exert opioid-like effects on the brain, which has a relaxing effect and can help you fall and stay asleep. (24)
Turmeric: As noted above, turmeric, via curcumin, supports whole-body wellness, which can go a long way to helping you feel relaxed and ready for sleep at the end of the day. However, if restful sleep remains elusive, even with your cup of golden milk, continue to drink up because curcumin can support a healthy hippocampus, the memory center in your brain, which may be compromised by sleeplessness.† (25)
Cinnamon: This bold, spicy, yet sweet aromatic does more than flavor your food — it supports healthy sugar metabolism, which favorably affects sleep quality.Two recent studies showed that the higher sugar is in the bloodstream, the more likely people were to have difficulty sleeping. (26, 27, 28)
Ginger: Ginger is well known to calm a troubled stomach by relieving indigestion and nausea, making falling asleep and staying asleep easier. (29)
Nutmeg: Adding a pinch of nutmeg to your golden milk may support sleep by acting as a calming agent. (30)
Honey or maple syrup: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and the insulin go temporarily up, which can promote better sleep. Insulin makes it easier for the amino acid tryptophan to enter the brain, where it can increase levels of calming serotonin and the sleep-supporting hormone melatonin. (31)
How to Make Turmeric Golden Milk[recipe id="592"]
You may have noticed this recipe includes Magnesium Glycinate powder. That’s because magnesium can be wonderfully effective for sleep support! A little magnesium stirred into your golden milk can go a long way to set you up for a night of sweet slumber.†
Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of every cell in your body and is involved in several hundred enzymatic reactions that support health. (32)
With roles in so many processes, it’s no surprise that magnesium supports sleep by several mechanisms. First, it increases the parasympathetic nervous system’s activity (PNS), which helps you feel calm and relaxed. Instead of getting primed for fight or flight, the PNS helps you rest and digest. Second, magnesium helps calming neurotransmitters such as GABA and taurine do their jobs of preparing you for sleep. Third, magnesium helps your biological clock keep time with the light and dark cycles of the 24-hour day via the action of melatonin. When magnesium is low, melatonin is low and can lead to wakefulness at night, irritability, lack of concentration, and low mood. Finally, magnesium may help support healthy muscle relaxation.† (33, 34, 35)
Magnesium is found in many foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, chocolate, grains, seafood, and water (mineral water generally has higher levels). However, food processing and environmental conditions can decrease levels found in food. Additionally, only 30 to 40 percent of the magnesium we consume is absorbed. Low intake, medical conditions, and food-medication interactions can interfere with magnesium adequacy as well. Supplementing with magnesium can help us meet our requirements.† (36, 37)
For adults over the age of 18, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 310 to 320 mg for women and 400 to 420 mg for men. The upper limit considered safe for adults from supplements is 350 mg per day to avoid potential side effects of nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. (38)
The best supplemental form of magnesium is magnesium glycinate, in which magnesium is bound to the amino acid glycine. Glycine may support sleep by triggering the central nervous system to increase blood flow to the skin while lowering the body’s core temperature.† (39)
When choosing a magnesium supplement, look for a high-quality product from a reputable company with no added flavors or sweeteners. Chelated to enhance absorbability, Seeking Health’s Magnesium Glycinate Powder is free of unwanted additives and is in a form that rarely causes adverse gastrointestinal side effects. Each scoop provides 200 mg of bioavailable magnesium in a convenient powder format that makes customizing dosage easy.† Simply add your desired dosage to water, juice, a smoothie, or your golden milk!
The Bottom Line
Golden milk is vibrantly hued, with sweet and savory flavor notes that can facilitate calm and comfort when enjoyed pre-bedtime. This Sleepy Time Golden Milk Drink Recipe is a quick and easy blend of milk infused with aromatic warming spices and just a touch of honey. Not only will this cup of cozy deliciousness help you to unwind, but it’s also a tonic that can support many aspects of health.†
Adding magnesium glycinate boosts nutrition and optimizes your golden milk’s potential for sleep support.† You can find magnesium glycinate powder and other high-quality, bioavailable supplements at SeekingHealth.com.
† This information is for educational purposes only. No product results are implied.