Turmeric is the golden yellow spice used in Asian curries. It is obtained from the ginger-like rhizome of Curcuma longa, a tropical herb from India. The well-researched anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties of turmeric make it worth including in your diet.
Turmeric milk, also sometimes referred to as golden milk, is an infusion of either dry turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root (rhizome) in milk. It is traditionally used in Indian households for treating specific diseases as well as a tonic for general health. This drink is easy to prepare and highly palatable, the milk taking most of the spiciness out of turmeric. If that doesn’t convince you, the health benefits of this drink would.
1. Turmeric milk helps build immunity
Turmeric milk is an excellent tonic to improve your general immunity against a host of diseases. It is especially useful in the cold and flu season, thanks to its antiviral effect. If you’re prone to pick up infectious diseases, make a habit of having a cup of turmeric milk on an empty stomach in the morning or just before bedtime at night.
This is particularly beneficial for children who tend to bring home not only colds and the flu, but chickenpox and measles from school and the playground. Swimmers and people who take public transport or otherwise engage in activities that bring them in close contact with a lot of other people would also benefit from a regular dose of this health promoting drink.
2. Gives relief from a cough and cold
Turmeric milk is a commonly used traditional remedy for a cough, cold, and other respiratory tract infections. Turmeric increases mucus production which naturally flushes out the microbes that have managed to get a foothold in the respiratory tract. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of turmeric can help fight the infections while the anti-inflammatory property helps relieve the symptoms. A cup of warm turmeric milk before going to bed will relieve nighttime coughing and provide restful sleep.
3. It is a good remedy for digestive problems
You can tackle most of the digestive tract problems with turmeric. That could be why it came to be regarded as an important culinary spice. It improves digestion, helps relieve gas and bloating as well as heartburn resulting from gastric reflux. Turmeric increases the flow of bile, which helps in fat digestion. Loss of appetite and indigestion can be successfully treated with a cup of turmeric milk a day.
Turmeric can prevent and treat gastrointestinal infections and get rid of worms. In the tropics where intestinal parasites are very common, especially in children, turmeric milk comes to the rescue.
4. It is a liver tonic
Laboratory tests and clinical studies have demonstrated the ability of the curcumin in turmeric to prevent and reverse liver cirrhosis and fatty liver. Liver, being the chemical hub of the body, is constantly engaged in the processing of chemical substances entering the body. That includes environmental pollutants, chemical additives in processed foods and drugs taken for other disease conditions. The hepato-protective and detoxifying action of turmeric reduces the impact of injuries to liver tissue by these toxic substances. Increasing the production of bile, it helps remove biliary obstructions too.
5. It is an excellent blood purifier
Turmeric has always been regarded as an excellent detoxifying agent. Our body has to deal with an onslaught of toxins that enter the blood through our food and drink as well as the respiratory tract. They can damage not only the blood vessels but all the other tissues that the contaminated blood reaches.
Toxins in the blood are the underlying causes of many abnormal skin conditions and other diseases. Turmeric helps the elimination of blood impurities by improving the function of the liver which is entrusted with the duty of identifying these toxins and finding a way to eliminate them. Moreover, the diuretic effect of turmeric helps flush out these toxins through urine.
6. Clarifies the skin
Turmeric has been used externally as a beauty aid because of the visible changes it produces on the skin. It makes the skin smooth, removes fine lines and other signs of premature aging, reduces acne, and lightens scars. Internal use further enhances these effects and makes the skin clear of liver spots, rosacea and skin eruptions.
Taking turmeric milk regularly gives tremendous relief to eczema sufferers. Eczema is often considered as a skin problem, but it has deeper roots, probably issues with immune responses and toxin accumulation in the body. The immune modulating effect of turmeric and its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties ease symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
7. Gives relief from autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases stem from the faulty action of our immune system which is supposed to protect us from foreign agents like pathogenic microbes and toxic substances. For some unexplained reasons, the immune system turns against our own tissues and organs, and that results in autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, psoriasis etc. The treatment of these diseases in mainstream medicine is limited to suppression of symptoms since the exact causes cannot be identified.
People often report not only relief of symptoms but long-term remissions, or even complete cure, with alternative treatments with herbals. Turmeric scores high in this regard, especially in the case of problems with the digestive system, skin, and joints. Turmeric milk is a convenient way to derive the immune-modulating benefits of this wonderful herb.
8. It’s a good headache remedy
A cup of warm turmeric milk can ease headaches whether it is due to sinus congestion or stress. Turmeric increases mucus flow as well as lightens its texture, promoting sinus drainage.
The blood thinning effect of turmeric is well known, as you can see from the frequent warning to avoid it if you are taking other blood thinners. Thinning of blood naturally improves blood circulation, so people suffering from frequent headaches and migraine would do well drinking turmeric milk regularly.
9. Reduces arthritic pain
Relief from arthritic pain is one of the most common reasons for a large majority of people turning to herbal remedies like turmeric. If external application of capsaicin gives temporary pain relief, taking turmeric internally can make it still better. Anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric could be at work here, but if you find dairy worsening your symptoms, prepare turmeric with coconut milk instead.
10. Improves reproductive health of women
Turmeric acts as a mild phytoestrogen, promoting the reproductive health of females. It increases fertility in women who have trouble conceiving due to hormonal insufficiency. Women with painful periods find relief with turmeric milk taken during the week of their period. It relieves post-menopausal symptoms too.
Although turmeric reduces the pain associated periods, it is a uterine stimulant that promotes the free flow of menstrual discharge. For this reason, turmeric in therapeutic doses should be avoided during pregnancy.
11. It has anticancer properties
The curcumin in turmeric has been shown to kill cancer cells (apoptosis) and prevent their spread to other areas (metastasis) in laboratory studies. It is found to be effective against cancers of the breast, prostate, skin, colon, and lung. Many cancerous growths go undetected and untreated in the initial stages when it would have been much easier to stop them in their tracks. Drinking turmeric milk regularly may help prevent malignant growths as well as stop their progress in the early stages.
12. It is a good sleep aid
Drinking warm milk at bedtime is a well-known remedy for insomnia on account of the amino acid tryptophan which can increase serotonin levels in the brain. This neurotransmitter chemical is associated with relaxation, calm mood, and sleepiness. Milk contains tryptophan, but its bioavailability to the brain is usually low because of other competing amino acids present in the milk. Turmeric can change that.
Turmeric is known to elevate insulin levels in the blood, which, in turn, increases the intake of competing amino acids into body tissues. However, it leaves tryptophan alone, making it available to the brain for the production of serotonin. That can explain why turmeric milk is even more beneficial than plain milk in inducing sleep.
How to prepare turmeric milk
Turmeric milk is ideally prepared with full-fat milk. You can use skimmed milk, but milk fat, or any kind of fat or oil for that matter, aids the absorption of turmeric constituents. Piperine in black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin.
Ginger contains substances known as gingerols that quash inflammation and turn off pain-causing compounds in the body. The anti-inflammatory benefits can also help soothe red, irritated skin. A promising study in rats also found that eating a combination of curcumin (tumeric) and ginger helped skin improve its appearance and function and helped it heal faster.
Ginger is also packed with antioxidants that help protect the body from cancer, particularly ovarian cancer. Antioxidants also protect the skin from free-radical damage that affects collagen production, helping you look younger.
It'll help calm your stomach and stave off bloating and gas. In general, ginger is also a research-backed remedy for nausea, whether you’re on a bumpy road trip, recovering from chemotherapy, or cursing pregnancy’s morning-sickness symptoms.
Ginger can help lower LDL cholesterol levels (the bad kind!), reducing your risk of heart disease. What’s more is that its blood-thinning properties could help prevent the formation of blood clots, reducing your risk of heart and stroke. However, if you already take blood-thinning medications, check with your doctor before having more ginger.
The same gingerols that fight inflammation also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties to help fight infections and boost your immunity.
This king of spices is known to offer a number of health benefits while providing an excellent depth of flavor to any dish. The use of black pepper in the diet helps promote weight loss, improve digestion, relieve cold and cough, boost metabolism, and treat skin problems.
What is Black Pepper?
Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as both, a spice and medicine. The chemical piperine, present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to Kerala, the southern state of India. Since ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely-traded spices in the world. It is not a seasonal plant and is, therefore, available throughout the year. When dried, this plant-derived spice is referred to as a peppercorn. Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is used to preserve food. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.
Black Pepper Nutrition Facts
Black pepper is a rich source of minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin C, K, and B6. Black pepper has a high content of dietary fibre and has a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrates too.
Health Benefits of Black Pepper
Black pepper aids in weight loss, and treats sinus, asthma, and nasal congestion. It also reduces the risk of cancer, and heart and liver ailments. Let us know the health benefits of black pepper in detail.
Consumption of pepper increases the hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, thereby facilitating digestion. Proper digestion is essential to avoid diarrhea, constipation, and colic. Pepper also helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas, and when added to a person’s diet, it can promote sweating and urination. Sweating removes toxins and cleans out the pores of the foreign bodies that may have lodged there and it can also remove excess water. In terms of urination, you can remove uric acid, urea, excess water, and fat, since 4% of urine is fat. A good digestion helps in weight loss, makes your overall body function better, and prevents severe gastrointestinal conditions. As black pepper is carminative in nature, it easily expels the gas out of the body in a healthy downward motion, as upward moving gas can be dangerous because it can strain the upper chest cavity and other vital organs.
The outer layer of peppercorn assists in the breakdown of fat cells. Therefore, peppery foods are a good way to help you shed weight naturally. When fat cells are broken down into their component parts, they are easily processed by the body and applied to other processes and enzymatic reactions, rather than settling in your body and making you overweight.
Pepper helps to cure vitiligo, which is a skin disease that causes some areas of skin to lose its normal pigmentation and turn white. According to researchers in London, the piperine content of pepper can stimulate the skin to produce melanocytes pigment. Topical treatment of piperine combined with ultraviolet light therapy is much better than other harsher, more chemical-based treatments for vitiligo. It also reduces the chances of skin cancer due to excessive ultraviolet radiation.
Provides Respiratory Relief
In Ayurvedic practices, pepper is added to tonics for treating cold and cough. Pepper also provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has an expectorant property that helps break up the mucus and phlegm depositions in the respiratory tract. Its natural irritant quality helps you expel these loosened materials through the act of sneezing or coughing, which eliminates the material from the body and helps you recover from infection or illness that caused the deposition in the first place.
The antibacterial property of black pepper helps fight against infections and insect bites. Pepper added to the diet helps keep your arteries clean by acting in a similar way to fiber and scraping excess cholesterol from the walls, thereby helping reduce atherosclerosis, the condition highly responsible for heart attack and stroke.
Antioxidants in pepper can prevent or repair the damage caused by the free radicals and thus help prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and liver problems. Free radicals are the by-products of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells and cause their DNA to mutate into cancerous cells. Antioxidants neutralize these harmful compounds and protect your system from many conditions and even symptoms of premature aging like wrinkles, age spots, macular degeneration, and memory loss.
Black pepper helps in transporting the benefits of other herbs to different parts of the body, thus maximizing the efficiency of the other foods we consume. That is why adding it to food not only makes it delicious but also helps to make the nutrients more available and accessible to our system.
Improves Cognitive Function
Piperine, one of the key components of black pepper, has been shown in numerous studies to reduce memory impairment and cognitive malfunction. The chemical pathways in the brain appear to be stimulated by this organic compound, so early research demonstrates the possibility of pepper to benefit Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering from dementia and other age-related or free radical-related malfunctions in cognition.
Treats Peptic Ulcers
A number of studies have shown that black pepper may have beneficial effects on gastric mucosal damage and peptic ulcers, due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pepper is a good treatment for respiratory conditions due to its properties as an expectorant, as well as its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Preparing grounded pepper powder at home is better than buying it ready-made. However, even home-made powder retains its freshness for only 3 months, while whole peppercorns can keep their freshness indefinitely. Thus, adding a pinch of black pepper to every meal helps to improve both taste and digestion. It also improves your overall health and well-being.
Is Black Pepper Good for you?
Yes, it is. According to Ayurvedic medicine, black pepper helps prevent ear-aches and gangrene. It is also good for treating conditions like hernias, hoarseness, and insect bites. It is also commonly used to treat tooth decay and toothache. In ancient times, pepper was also administered to treat vision problems.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and have been sourced from the reputable Wellness Mamma, Women's Health Magazine, Organic Facts.