On frosty nights in India, people sip a glass of hot milk into which has been whisked a heaping teaspoon of turmeric. In Ayurvedic medicine, the drink — called haldi doodh — is considered a panacea for everything from the flu to inflammation. Proponents says regular turmeric consumption may also be one reason India has relatively low rates of Alzheimer's and dementia.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says turmeric has also "demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities in lab studies." Those findings along with turmeric's anti-bacterial properties is why Dr. Taz Bhatia, an Atlanta-based physician and author of "Super Woman RX," touts its benefits. There is one downside, she said.
"It is not always the most palatable, so when combined with other spices … it is delicious." (Bhatia's homemade version includes ginger and honey.)
Known more commonly outside India as "golden milk" — the "golden" comes from the rich yellow of the turmeric — the fortifying drink is now increasingly found in alternative formulations such as a breakfast bowl, bottled drink and an easy-to-prep mix.
Here are a few ways to get your fix as winter sets in:
Stir a teaspoon of this golden milk mix from Gaia Herbs into a cup of warm dairy or non-dairy milk. Other ingredients include date palm, cardamom, vanilla and black pepper. The mix also contains ashwagandha, a staple of Ayurveda medicine, for its immunity-boosting reputation.
Info: $19.99. gaiaherbs.com
You don't just have to end your day with golden milk; you can wake up with it too. Daily Harvest makes a golden milk breakfast bowl that stores in the freezer and is then warmed up on the stove or in the microwave with milk. The brand adds other healthful ingredients like chia seeds, organic mango and pineapple, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and pepper. Daily Harvest delivers the cups of Mango + Turmeric Chia Parfait to your home or office as part of a monthly subscription.
Info: Starts at $6.99 a cup. daily-harvest.com
GoldynGlow's Goldyn Mylk mix includes cacao, cayenne and nutmeg for an extra nutritional boost, said Saara Vakil, founder of the Los Angeles-based brand. "Adding these superfoods and other healing spices has helped improve the taste of a traditional golden milk while supercharging the benefits," said Vakil. A teaspoon of the ground powder can be mixed with any warm milk. The product has a small amount of coconut sugar, but sweetness can be enhanced with honey, agave or stevia.
Info: $25. goldynglow.com
Coconut milk is the base of the bottled Turmeric Golden Milk from Emeryville, Calif.-based brand Rebbl, creating a creamy and slightly sweet beverage that can be consumed right out of the refrigerator or heated on the stove. The black pepper fruit in the drink is said to make the turmeric easier for the body to absorb.
Info: $3.79 to $3.99 at Whole Foods, Sprouts and other natural grocery stores. rebbl.com