Chai tea is a type of tea that is sweet and spicy. It has a distinct aroma that is favored by tea lovers all over the world. Chai tea is also known as masala chai in South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Chai tea is not just the regular tea even if it is made with the regular black tea leaves or black tea powder. Ginger and spices are the major components in chai tea that enhance its taste and fragrance. The most common spices that are added to chai tea are black pepper, coriander seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, fennels and pepper corns.
Chai teas can be regular as well as chai lattes. Chai lattes contain steamed milk much more than in regular chai teas and both these varieties of the beverage are available in many cafes today. However, making chai tea at home is very simple if you have the spices and the tea powder. Another option would be to buy ready made mixes or tea bags which will give you instant chai teas whenever you are in a hurry.
Chai tea, which is Indian in its origin, has gained popularity throughout the world due to its fragrance and distinctive taste. You can easily differentiate chai tea with a normally brewed tea in a single sip of it. Moreover, because of the ingredients present in it and their combination, chai tea has many health benefits which not many people know about.
Health Benefits of Chai Tea
Here are a few health benefits of chai tea which will make you want to drink them every day.
Keeps Your Heart Healthy
According to studies conducted on animals, cinnamon in chai tea has proven to lower the blood pressure. Studies conducted on humans who consumed chai tea on a regular basis showed that it effectively reduces the level of LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins) which is bad cholesterol. Cinnamon in chai tea is responsible for this as well as lowering of triglycerides, which are bad for the body as well.
Recent researches have come to conclusions which suggest that even 120mg per day of cinnamon which is contained in your regular cup of chai tea can reduce the risks of heart diseases. Black tea, which is the main component of chai tea is said to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Studies have also found that drinking tea more than three to four cups a day can reduce blood pressure levels as well as it reduces the risk of heart diseases.
Tea contains antioxidants that oxidize free radicals in the body which are harmful to the heart. These free radicals, if not oxidized, attacks the LDL and forms plaque like blocks inside arteries which will lead to heart attacks and strokes if not taken care of.
It Helps in Reduction of Blood Sugar Levels
Chai tea is said to be effective in reducing the blood sugar levels because of cinnamon and ginger in it. According to research, Cinnamon is said to reduce blood sugar level by 10-29%. This is because cinnamon plays an important role in the reduction of insulin resistance. When insulin resistance is lowered, the body uses insulin easily to transfer sugar from your blood to your cells which will be then converted into glucose and can be used as energy.
Another study has found that ginger in chai tea, when consumed more than 2 grams a day helps reduce blood sugar levels in people by 12%. If you opt to use tea bags for preparing chai tea, you may not be able to consume the amount of ginger or cinnamon you require. And, if you get chai tea or chai latte from cafeterias or coffee shops, you may be consuming a lot of sugar and fatty milk which in turn increases your blood sugar level. This is why it is best to add the ingredients according to your preference and make chai tea at home.
Improvement of Digestion and Prevention of Nausea
Ginger in chai tea is well known for its ability to get rid of nausea. If you’re pregnant, consuming chai tea with ginger will help you deal with nausea. Studies conducted in pregnant women have found that those who consumed 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger every day had reduced nausea.
Cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cardamom in chai tea, which are known for their anti-bacterial properties in better digestion by preventing bacterial infections.
It Helps in Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, having chai tea can have many benefits. Chai tea is made with milk or soy milk which are rich sources of proteins. If you’re following a diet or want to lose weight, consuming food which is abundant in proteins will keep you feeling full for a longer time without making you feel hungry easily. This will help you stay away from snacks that are unhealthy and will result in weight gain.
Tea contains caffeine which helps in fat burning as well as keeping the body and mind active throughout the day. A few cups of chai tea will help you lose fat, especially around the belly according to studies. Also, as it keeps you active all day long, you would feel for interested to engage in physical activities which will also help you reduce weight.
A few animal studies show that the black pepper used in chai tea helps in reducing body fat. Even though its effectiveness is not yet known in humans, we can still hope for positive findings in the future. If you’re trying to reduce your weight, it is better that you prepare your chai tea at home with low-fat milk and no sugar. Chai tea and chai lattes which you get in cafes and coffee shops contain milk with high fat as well as a lot of sugar which will reverse the action of chai tea on your weight.
Betterment of Immune System
Chai tea is said to improve the immune system because it contains ginger and cardamom. They may sound like two humble spices but they can create wonders to your immune system and make you healthier.
Antioxidants are present in many of the ingredients of chai tea including the black tea itself. Anti-oxidants can be seen as the heroes who fight away evil free radicals in our body. Free radicals are formed in our body as by-products of digestion of the food that we consume. Free radicals attack molecules in our body because they need electrons to neutralize themselves. This will alter the natural composition of these molecules which will result in their degeneration. The degeneration of these molecules will lead to serious health problems as well as your muscles which will make you age faster.
For example, free radicals combine with LDL or bad cholesterol in our body which results in the formation of a plaque like a block in the walls of the arteries causing heart problems. Anti-oxidants are rich in electrons and help to neutralize these free radicals in the body, keeping you healthier and younger for longer.
Chai tea is said to have anti-inflammatory properties because of the ginger that’s added to it. Ginger is a popular plant with roots that are used as the spice. The major bioactive compound in ginger called gingerol is responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also has anti-oxidant properties.
Health Benefits of Different Types of Chai Tea
Chai tea basically contains black tea. If you prefer milk and sugar, try to add low-fat milk and less sugar or sugar substitutes to avoid calories. Other than these basic ingredients, the spices are the ones that make a regular tea into a chai tea or a masala tea. You can add these spices according to your taste preferences or health goals. You can add one spice at a time or make a mixture of these spices in different quantities according to your preference.
Here are a few types of chai tea and their benefits in short so that you can try out the best ones!
Cinnamon Chai Tea
Cinnamon has many health benefits as discussed earlier. It helps to balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the body. According to some studies, cinnamon consumption lowers the chances of colon cancer. Having a few cups of cinnamon chai tea will make you feel better. However, try to use organic cinnamon for best results. Cinnamon is also said to be an aphrodisiac.
Cardamom Chai Tea
Cardamom is a close relative of ginger and is also considered to be an aphrodisiac. If you add cardamom to your chai tea, you can say good bye to digestive problems and bad breath. Cardamom also helps in boosting our metabolism thereby providing us with more energy.
Clove Chai Tea
Haven’t you ever noticed clove being used for oral care? This is because clove has very strong anti-fungal properties. It helps to keep away the infections inside our mouth as well as our digestive tract. Also, you can apply some clove chai on your skin if there are any fungal infections.
Black Pepper Chai Tea
Black pepper is well known for its medicinal properties and is proven to improve respiratory problems. Black pepper is a spice that is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine. Also, it helps in fighting away chest congestion and cold by making the body sweat out. It is added in hot soups that we love to drink when we have a sore throat or chest congestion and we do know that black pepper can make us feel better!
You should be careful while adding black pepper to your chai tea since it is not a sweet spice and adding more of it can make your tea a bit bitter. If you’re okay with the bitter taste, then go ahead and make a steaming cup of black pepper tea.
Nutmeg Chai Tea
Nutmeg helps in improving your immune system. It also helps to keep your kidneys healthy. Adding a bit of nutmeg to your daily chai tea will not only add flavor to your cup of beverage but it also adds a lot of health benefits to your body.
Safe Amount of Consumption and Side Effects of Chai Tea
While chai tea can be very delicious, there are high chances that you get addicted to the taste of it. The caffeine content in chai tea is much lower than coffee and is considered even to be consumed by pregnant women who need to minimize their caffeine intake. However, if you are addicted to chai tea and you consume a lot of it regularly, you may have to face difficulties related to high caffeine intake including insomnia. Since caffeine boosts your brain functions and helps you concentrate better, you will find it difficult to relax and sleep well.
Some spices can mess up with your medication if you’re under any particular ones. It is best to ask your doctor which spices are not good while you’re under the treatment and avoid them in your chai tea. Some people add licorice root to their chai tea which is not good if you are suffering from high blood pressure. Also, spices like fennel and star anise along with licorice root are well known for their properties to lead women into menstruation and child delivery easily which makes them bad options for your chai tea if you’re pregnant or you’re suffering from abnormal menstrual cycles.
How to Make Your Cup of Chai Tea?
Last but not the least, here is the best way to make chai tea if you’re a fresher to this area. Making chai tea at home has its own benefits including the high customization and the sweet smell it fills your kitchen with. This would be the shortest and easiest recipe to yummy and healthy chai tea you would have ever read. Boil a cup of water and add black tea leaves to it. Crush your spices to help them release their oils before adding them to the tea. Use a sieve to transfer the tea to your cup, add sugar and milk as needed and enjoy your chai tea.
If you’re in a hurry you can use black tea bags. Also, you can use one or a mixture of the spices according to your preference. It’s best when you keep the flavor simple by letting the taste of one particular spice more prominent than the other. Don’t mix too many spices which will make the tea complex and less tasty. Even though chai tea bags are available for you to make instant chai tea whenever you want, making your own cup is the better way of doing it.