Turmeric milk, which is used as a traditional homemade remedy for cold and cough in Indian households is now gaining popularity in the West. Turmeric milk has made an appearance in the menu of the coffee shops in the West as 'turmeric latte'.
The Guardian reported that "'Golden milk' or turmeric latte—a combination of nut milk and juiced turmeric root—is 2016's drink of choice."
‘Turmeric contains an antioxidant compound called curcumin, which helps relieve inflammation. Turmeric milk is considered as an alternative to caffeinated drinks.
Turmeric, a spice that belongs to the ginger family has been used in curries for decades.
The market research firm Mintel named turmeric, which has been used medically in South Asia for thousands of years, as one of the superfoods for this year.
Consumers believe that turmeric milk is an anti-inflammatory alternative to caffeine drinks. Studies have shown that curcumin, the compound found in the turmeric root is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.
"Anything that helps relieve inflammation can also prove helpful in improving complaints of indigestion, diabetes, heart disease, even cancer. It's also good for acne, for it's a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, and is useful in disinfecting cuts and burns," says Daljit Kaur, senior nutritionist at Delhi's Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition,
curcumin helps block rogue proteins that trigger Alzheimer's disease. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
found that curcumin may help suppress body fat growth and reduce weight gain.
Researchers at the Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, published a study in the journal Phytotherapy Research
in 2013 that said curcumin could help treat depression.
"As such there's no fixed amount of how much turmeric one should have in a day," Kaur clarifies, "but one-fourth to half a teaspoon is more than enough."
Mumbai-based cold-pressed juice company RAW Pressery offers HEAL (Rs.100), a 125ml booster shot that contains a nutritious blend of turmeric, coconut milk, cayenne pepper and pineapples.
"There was a growing demand among our customers to have a turmeric-based drink. So we launched HEAL in July last year," says Anuj Rakyan, the managing director of the company that offers over 15 juices in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune.
"Turmeric is fat soluble, which means it dissolves in fat. Hence, some of the best ways to derive the full nutritional benefits of turmeric is to have it with milk or even ghee," adds Rakyan. "We use coconut milk since many people are lactose intolerant or are vegan." RAW Pressery sells about 150 bottles of HEAL a day.
Besides milk and curries, turmeric can be added to biscuits, cakes, tea, smoothies, soups and even salads. Pepper or cinnamon can be added to lighten the bitter taste, suggests Kaur.
"Like with so many other things (ghee, home-made curd, coconut oil), the West is waking up to the benefits of items in the Indian pantry. Only if we could spot the gold dust languishing in our kitchens and not wait for a health fad starting in another part of the world to direct us," says Kaur.