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Food Trends: Golden Milk

It has been touted as the weight-loss boosting, debloating, antiseptic, pain-relieving, antidepressant wonder drink. But is Golden Milk really that good for you? And just what is Golden Milk anyway?

Golden Milk is a westernized version of a classic Indian called haldi doodh, or turmeric milk. In its original form haldi doodh was simple tumeric mixed with milk, and it was used in Ayurvedic medicine and by Indian mothers to treat everything from headaches and menstrual cramps to arthritic joint pain and even cancer. Today it’s more likely made with piping hot coconut milk, honey, tumeric, and a dash of freshly ground black pepper on top. As with most late-night infomercial sales pitches, anything that looks too good to be true, probably is. But in the case of Golden Milk, there appears to be at least some scientific validity to the claims.

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which does have some potent biological properties, according to Medical News Today. Studies suggest it has anti-inflammatory properties which might relieve pain and discomfort, particularly for arthritis sufferers. Its antioxidant properties help prevent liver damage from toxins. It may aid in healthy digestion and is being studied as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. A study published in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology indicates it could have protective effects against certain certain types of cancer, including pancreatic and prostate cancer.

On the down side, tumeric stimulates the production of stomach acid, which can create significant digestive problems for some people. Anecdotal evidence says tumeric can stimulate contractions, and has been used to initiate labor, but because it is also a natural blood thinner, pregnant women and people taking blood thinning drugs like warfarin, should consult their health care provider before taking tumeric supplements.

Bottom line: Golden Milk might be a trendy and tasty addition to your morning in place of coffee or hot tea. There’s probably not enough of the active ingredient in a daily cup to make much difference in your health. For that, you’ll likely need to take higher dose supplements. But as with any alternative therapy, Medical News Today recommends talking with your physician or other health care provider before using turmeric to treat any health condition.

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