Hmmm this spiced chai milk is like a warm hug on a cold evening. Scents of cardamom, ginger, vanilla
and cinnamon waft through the air, steaming from your warm cup with sweet, spicy notes. Bright yellow, this caffeine-free and plant-based latte isn’t just pretty to look at, it’s also an easy way to get a daily dose of turmeric, the potentially anti-inflammatory and antioxidant boosting spice (to read more check out my previous turmeric post).
The healthy fats present in the plant-based milk along with the black pepper increase the bioavailability of the turmeric, transforming this begrudging spice to it’s full ninja inflammatory-busting mode (we hope). While there haven’t been enough studies done in humans, there are preclinical trials (animal and in vitro) that suggest that the active component in turmeric called curcumin has the potential to target several parts of the inflammatory process, as well as anticancer activity, anti-oxidant properties and more. It’s one of those cases where we don’t quite have the weight of evidence yet to support it’s lauded ‘superfood’ status, we need more human trials to see if the exciting preclinical studies can easily translate into our own biological make-up. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, it’s not going to stop me from enjoying turmeric on a regular basis, we’ve got nothing to lose from doing so and all the chance of reaping the rewards from the ‘for-now-not-fully-confirmed’ beneficial mechanisms.
I like to have this warm soothing milk at night if I’ve feeling a little tired and in need of some comforting TLC as I wind down after work, or often instead of breakfast in the morning if I’m in a rush – I keep the spices and maple syrup all mixed together in a jar, so all I have to do is spoon in a dollop to some milk and warm though, and I’m set to go.
Chai Turmeric Latte
Makes enough for a generous cuppa, or two smaller ones.
2 cups milk (I like almond milk)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp turmeric (if you find it too strong, start with 1/2 tsp and gradually work your way up)
2 pinches black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1/2 vanilla pod
Whisk all the ingredients together over a medium heat, sieve, pour into a mug and enjoy.
Feel free to play around with the spice mix, just make sure you keep the turmeric and the black pepper together for their synergistic health benefits.
If you suffer from kidney stones, gallstones or are pregnant, please check with a doctor before consuming turmeric.