A nutrient-dense diet and active lifestyle may be the cornerstones of health, but don’t overlook how important it is to get enough sleep.
If you’re a young adult trying to balance long work hours, commuting and an active social life, or a middle aged adult who is struggling to keep up with family life and other obligations, you might at least occasionally struggle to fall asleep easily and/or stay sleeping throughout the night. This can be made worse if you deal with other sleep disruptors such as stress or chronic pain.
If this sounds like you, consider adding “golden milk” to your daily routine to help you unwind while also defending against aches, pains, an upset stomach, and even cravings for sugary snacks.
Let’s take a look below at what ingredients golden milk is made with, why it can have calming effects (and help to satisfy your sweet tooth too!), and how you can easily make it at home.
What Is Golden Milk?
Golden milk is a warm beverage made with milk (whether regular milk or a plant-based alternative like almond milk) and healing spices including ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.
Depending on the specific recipe, it may also contain other ingredients such as honey for added sweetness, black pepper to improve nutrient absorption, and certain other “superfoods” like maca powder or ashwagandha extract for added anti-stress benefits.
The spices in golden milk give it its signature orange-yellow hue and also provide many medicinal benefits, such as support for digestive health and protection against inflammation.
Because of its digestive-soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, golden milk has become well known as a relaxing beverage to sip on in the evenings. However you can enjoy it any time of day, including in place of your morning coffee or as a healthy alternative to ice cream and other treats.
Golden Milk Benefits
What kind of health perks does golden milk offer?
1. It’s made with herbs/spices that have proven anti-inflammatory and digestive-supporting effects
Ginger, turmeric and cinnamon have actually been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional system of medicine that originated in India, and are associated with science-backed health benefits. These include having antioxidant effects, fighting free radical damage, lowering blood sugar levels, and protecting against heart disease.
- Years of scientific research support the fact that ginger can help to calm the digestive system, sooth an upset stomach, reduce nausea, decrease anxiety, and also fight inflammation. Golden milk is also a great option during pregnancy to help with morning sickness or insomnia.
- Turmeric is another spice that has anti-inflammatory properties due to the active ingredient called curcumin, which is known to decrease swelling, aches and pains.
- Cinnamon, much like ginger, can help support digestive health and also has the ability to help balance blood sugar levels. It’s the perfect addition to sweet recipes due to not only its appealing taste, but also because it promotes metabolic health by supporting insulin sensitivity.
2. Contains healthy fats from milk or almond milk
Depending on your dietary preferences, golden milk can be made with regular dairy milk or a milk alternative such as almond or coconut milk. We would recommend using a plant-based milk to avoid any dairy intolerances. It’s also traditionally made with almond butter, which adds creaminess and makes it extra decadent and nutritious.
All of these ingredients provide you with healthy, filling fats that are needed for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and for other purposes such as supporting brain health and hormone production.
3. Has natural calming effects, but may also improve your daytime energy levels
Several ingredients found in golden milk give it its sleep-promoting qualities.
For example, almonds/almond milk, which are rich in magnesium, can help to soothe tense muscles, while honey which is a carbohydrate helps the body release serotonin.
Warm milk contains both protein and carbs and is considered a traditional remedy for encouraging restful sleep.
And if you choose to have golden milk in place of caffeinated or sugary drinks, then you may find that you sleep more soundly, have more steady energy throughout the day without relying on caffeine as a pick-me-up, and overall are more focused.
4. Can replace other sugary drinks/snacks in your diet
Golden milk serves as a comforting treat that can help satisfy your desire for something sweet and creamy; this means it may save you hundreds of calories if it replaces other sugary beverages, snacks or desserts in your diet that provide you with mostly unwanted “empty calories.”
A typical serving of golden milk has about 100 to 120 calories and 5 to 12 grams of sugar depending on the exact ingredients you use. Go easy on the honey and use unsweetened milk if you’d like to keep the sugar content down.
How To Incorporate It Into Your Routine
Golden milk makes a great addition to your nighttime routine, considering it’s a warm cup of coziness that also has natural sleep-inducing effects.
Try having a cup about 90 minutes or so before going to sleep. This allows for the calming effects to kick in and also lets enough time to go by before you head to bed so that your sleep isn’t interrupted by you needing to use the bathroom.
As mentioned above, golden milk doesn’t need to be limited to bed time. Feel free to start your day with a cup, or to sip on it between meals to give you an energy boost and keep cravings and hunger in check.
Homemade Golden Milk Recipe
Makes 1 serving (you can choose to double the recipe and save another serving for later)
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk or regular milk)
- 2 teaspoons raw honey (or use stevia extract or maple syrup if you prefer a low-sugar or vegan option)
- (optional) 1 1/2 teaspoons almond butter
- 1/2 teaspoon high quality cinnamon plus extra for dusting on top before
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- (optional) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract for extra flavor
- (optional) other additions such as ground black pepper, maca or ashwagandha powder
- Combine the milk, honey, almond butter, spices, and optional ingredients in a small saucepan on the stovetop. Heat over low or medium but do not boil.
- Use a whisk or spoon to stir so that everything melts together and warms up. Pour into a mug, top with extra cinnamon if you’d like and enjoy, or store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Have you ever tried Golden Milk? After reading this article, are you interested in making it for yourself? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts and/or experiences!