It is that lovely month of the year when red roses and milk chocolates are on everyone’s mind. Some are thinking jewelry but I am thinking gold! I just recently read that coffee shops in large cities are serving gold lattes–lattes made with milk and turmeric. Although the spice turmeric has been around for centuries it has become “the new gold” in America and it is popping up everywhere-from scientific journals to popular media. Personally, I was surprised about this new popularity of the spice since I grew up seeing my family use turmeric in their cooking. It is used in recipes all over India for color, flavor and healthful properties. In addition to cooking with it, I remember my mom pickling the fresh turmeric in lemon juice to take the pungency out, it was a great way to ensure it was fresh. The other vivid memory I have is of the hot turmeric milk that we had to drink every time we caught a cold. This made me forget the miserable feeling of a cold but instead the delicious tasting turmeric milk. Ironically, I followed in my mom’s footsteps and gave the same turmeric milk to my daughters when they became sick, which they didn’t like at first but now they make their own. I am very excited to share the recipe for this turmeric milk which I believe is “the golden latte” instead of spending $4-$5 on one at your local coffee shop!
Now let’s talk about why turmeric is getting so popular. Being a dietitian and nutritionist I dive deep into scientific properties of foods and the more I read about turmeric the more I am convinced it is something worth elaborating on.
While Curcumin and thus turmeric have many benefits there is one challenge. Its bioavailability, which affect absorption in the body. Scientists are still trying to figure out how best to make Curcumin more bioavailable. Some recommend consuming it with black pepper to increase its bioavailability. Imagine golden lattes with a touch of black pepper – sounds very heart warm
The best way to increase consumption would be to start purchasing ground turmeric (this is available in grocery stores and online) which is a yellow powder. Then mix it in a spice blend or marinades to use on chicken, seafood and meats. Turmeric makes soups and gravies come alive with a spicy yellow color! For using fresh turmeric, just peel the root and chop or grate it like ginger and sprinkle on foods. For those who like warm milk, I have shared the perfect way for you to create “the golden latte” below (I drink milk only this way whether I have cold or not) which is the most delicious way to enjoy milk and Curcumin.
I wish all of you a loving and healthy February!
2 Cups low-fat milk
1 Tsp turmeric powder
½ Tsp Cardamom powder
Pinch of Saffron