I try to incorporate turmeric into my diet as much as possible. It’s one of nature’s finest superfoods, and Indian people LOVE it. Seriously, we use it as a panacea for any ill. Have a cold? Drink turmeric water. Joint pain? Wrap your joints in a turmeric paste. Feeling down? Drink turmeric milk. So today I thought I’d share my recipe for a Vegan Golden Milk Turmeric Latte.
First, let’s talk about what makes turmeric so healthy.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that boost the immune system. I learned this as a child when my sister sprained her ankle while we were playing dodgeball, and my aunt–instead of applying an elastic bandage or wrap, as we Westerners tend to do–made a turmeric paste and generously lathered it on my sister’s ankle. True story.
Turmeric is also an antioxidant superstar. This is because curcumin not only blocks damage-causing free radicals in the body, but it also stimulates the body’s own antioxidant defenses and mechanisms.
How to Get the Most out of Turmeric
Unfortunately, turmeric is not very bioavailable. That’s science speak for saying that it’s difficult for our bloodstream to absorb turmeric and reap the benefits. That’s because most of the curcumin gets metabolized before our bodies can absorb it. There are, however, two primary ingredients that can increase turmeric’s bioavailability, both of which you’ll find in this recipe.
First, black pepper. Black pepper contains an alkaloid called piperine, which enhances the bioavailability of many drugs, including turmeric. Studies have shown that combining just a little black pepper with turmeric can boost blood levels of curcumin by up to 2,000%!
Second, fat. Turmeric is fat-soluble (in contrast, it has a low solubility in water), so the presence of fat increases the solubility of curcumin. Combining turmeric with a healthy source of fat (such as coconut oil) allows the curcumin to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
But turmeric isn’t the only nutritional superstar in this Vegan Golden Milk Turmeric Latte. Let’s talk about our other superfood friends!
Ginger: ginger boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to aiding digestion, reducing heart disease risk, and possibly reducing muscle soreness and pain.
Cinnamon: cinnamon contains large amounts of polyphenol antioxidants, which also have anti-inflammatory benefits. And some studies suggest that cinnamon may help reduce blood sugar, especially helpful for those with diabetes.
Cloves: Like turmeric, cloves are an incredibly rich source of antioxidants and boast anti-inflammatory properties. Cloves also promote digestion by reducing gas pressure and dyspepsia.
Coconut oil: as mentioned above, coconut oil helps increase the bioavailability of turmeric.
Tips for making this Golden Milk Turmeric Latte
Use a creamy plant-based milk. While I love the versatility and wide availability of almond milk, it would not be my top choice for this milk. What makes this latte delicious and makes you forget you’re eating (drinking) a health food is the creaminess of the milk. I used Oatly oat milk with amazing results, but if you’re looking for a grain-free option, I recommend coconut drinking milk.
If you’re not used to consuming turmeric, start out slowly. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons, but if you’re new to turmeric, start with just 1 teaspoon (or even 1/2 teaspoon). Turmeric can have a strong taste, so it may take some time to acquire the taste.
The recipe instructs you to use an electric frother, but that’s only if you really want to get that frothiness associated with a latte. If that’s not important to you, feel free to skip that step.
Happy sipping, friends!
- 2 cups oat milk (substitute coconut drinking milk for a Paleo option)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric* (or 1 1/2 tablespoons of freshly grated turmeric)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, or 1-2 whole cloves (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, or 2-3 cardamom pods, crushed (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unrefined virgin coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup optional
- Add the milk to a small saucepan over low heat. Add turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves (if using), cardamom (if using), and black pepper. Whisk until well combined.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, but do not boil. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until smooth and hot. Alternatively, you warm the milk in the microwave and then whisk in all the ingredients using a whisk or an electric frother.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. If you used whole spices, strain the golden milk over a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. Stir the coconut oil and maple syrup (if using) into the milk. Taste and add maple syrup if needed.
- Use an electric frother to froth the latte, if desired.