Is ‘golden milk’ the golden ticket to a illness-free winter? I decided to find out.
Spring is on its way, thankfully, but winter continues to hold us in its nasty clutches. On the train, in the playground, at work – no matter where, in fact – people are blowing their noses, clearing their throats and coughing. If you’re a hypochondriac like me, you’ll be instantly wondering when you’ll next be struck down. But is there any way to minimise the risk of catching a cold or flu?
As a beauty and wellness editor, I’m always trialling new ways to boost my health and immunity. Back in winter, I took a cold shower every day for six months – and found that I was significantly less susceptible to the lurgy.
Nevertheless, with a virus-spreading toddler and as a regular commuter on the train, I still sometimes catch a cold. But I’d rather not wear a mask all the time like during the pandemic. There must be another way!
A friend recommended I try drinking a turmeric latte – or ‘golden milk’ – a wellness drink that has been majorly hyped on social media, and has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. Supposedly, it has loads of immunity benefits.
I wanted to press ‘order’ immediately, but then I hesitate. A journalist always knows to ask the experts.
“Yes, turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has a strong antioxidant effect,” nutrition coach Sigrid Ilumaa tells GLAMOUR. “It’s all thanks to the curcumin it contains.” Antioxidants are vitamins that can neutralise free radicals in the body. They act like a protective shield against viruses that attack the body’s cells.
“When taken regularly, turmeric can alleviate illnesses, regulate digestion and even have a positive effect on the psyche and the health of skin and hair,” Ilumaa continues.
For a turmeric latte, or ‘golden milk’, add ginger, cinnamon and pepper – and you have a real immune booster mix, since these ingredients also have the aforementioned anti-inflammatory properties. While cinnamon also has an anti-diabetic effect, ginger has also been proven to kill viruses. “This combination optimally strengthens the immune system during the cold season,” explains Ilumaa.
To test the theory, I pledge to drink a turmeric latte every day for a month. For ease, I decided to buy a pre-mixed powder – but you can make golden milk yourself using a recipe such as this one.
“For a golden milk, stir 1 teaspoon of powder per cup into plant milk,” Ilumaa tells me. I try different varieties from oat milk to almond milk – but my favourite is a velvety-smooth foamed oat-soy milk alternative.
For my experiment, I usually drink my turmeric latte in the morning. I make it and sit down at my laptop during the week, while at the weekend I enjoy it with brunch. Or if not, I’ll drink it in the afternoon instead of coffee – it’s the perfect caffeine-free alternative, since I don’t tolerate coffee so well.
Since turmeric doesn’t have a stimulating effect, you can drink it at any time of the day. In fact, it has a calming effect when drunk in the evening – and can even help some people to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Drinking my daily golden milk has been far from a chore. In fact, I almost celebrate it, stirring my drink in pretty ceramic cups. As for its effects, I haven’t fallen ill in the last few weeks – despite the fact many family members have had one bug after another. Plus, I’ve noticed my skin is much better, with less breakouts. And I feel less bloated.
For me, golden milk works – and it’s a daily habit I’ll be sticking to.
A version of this article originally appeared on GLAMOUR Germany.