At the beginning of the year, midway through the cold and flu season, I came across an article talking about turmeric milk. I was instantly intrigued. I love turmeric, and have been eating it regularly since I was a teenager when my mother read about some of its benefits. From that day on all rice in our house was yellow.
Turmeric is a plant from the same family as ginger, and like ginger it’s from the root that we get the spice. It has been used for millenia in Asia as a dye, in cooking and for medicinal purposes. In the last couple of years it’s been increasingly surfacing as a popular health food, as people are taking notice of its massively health enhancing properties.
This beautiful bright yellow-orange spice is really fascinating. It’s loaded with compounds called curcuminoids, the most significant of which is curcumin, which improves brain function, lowers cholesterol, can help to treat depression and is an extremely strong antioxidant. It’s also been found that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties as strong as off-the-shelf anti-inflammation drugs! As well as these impressive credentials, the spice has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, improves immunity, helps to regulate blood sugar levels and improves digestion. Really, what more could you ask for during if you’ve got a cold?
Turmeric milk has been used as a valued remedy in Ayurvedic medicine through the ages. When I first read about it I must admit, I kind of thought it was a bit weird. The idea of adding turmeric to a sweetened milky drink rather than to curry or rice was surely nothing short of madness! How wrong I was. This has become one of my all time favourite recipes. The earthy flavour of the turmeric with the heat of ginger and black pepper, and warming cloves all supped down in warm milk with a touch of honey sweetness. It is wonderous, calming, comforting, and you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer way to wind down in the evening than with a warm cup of turmeric milk and a good book. It is also the best thing I’ve ever come across for soothing a sore throat, and if it can boost immunity so that you avoid the sore throat in the first place then I’m definitely in.
If you look up turmeric milk on the internet you will find zillions of various recipes, some really traditional, passed down through the generations, and some from those of us who have newly discovered this lovely drink. This is a great place to experiment to find a recipe that you like the best. The one that I’ve shared below is perfect for me, it does have quite a kick from the pepper because I love it like that, but if you’re not a fan you may want to tone it down to just a pinch of black pepper. A couple of notes though;
- Don’t cut out the pepper altogether. Curcumin is quite difficult for our bodies to absorb and a compound in black pepper called piperine helps with its absorption.
- You can use any kind of milk to make turmeric milk, but curcumin is fat soluable, so a milk with a bit of fat in it is your best option. I wouldn’t use fat-free as your lowering the bio-availability of this super valuable compound.
I really think, if you’re going to try one new recipe this week, try this one, it is really is a lovely, nourishing and soothing mug-full of bliss.
- 1 mug of milk of your choice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 whole cloves, slightly crushed between two spoons
- 1/8-1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp honey (or to taste)
- Mix all of the ingredients except for the honey, together in a small pot over medium-low heat.
- Heat the mixture gently, stirring continuously, until it begins to form small bubbles at the edges.
- Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes so that the milk becomes infused with the spices.
- Strain into a mug and stir in the honey. Enjoy warm with a good book!
- This recipe is quite peppery. If you're not a fan of peppery heat, just add a pinch of pepper instead of the amount recommended, but try not to cut it out altogether as there's a compound in pepper which helps with the absorption of the curcumin from the turmeric.