Here’s Why Chai (Tea) is Good for You
Today if you go to any commercial café, it’s very likely that you will hear someone order a chai latte. However, it is actually incorrect to call this spiced drink chai! In Hindi, chai translates to tea, and the word is derived from the Chinese word ‘cha’ which means tea. Therefore, the tea in chai is redundant! In India, this drink is called Masala Chai, which translates to Spiced Tea. Regardless of its many names, one thing is for certain: chai is a delicious and flavourful drink that is perfect on a cold day.
Curious about this drink and how it became a hallmark of Indian street food? Read more here.
Health Benefits of Chai
This sweet and spicy drink is made by infusing aromatic spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and black peppercorns with black tea and milk. There is a legend where a king wanted to blend his Ayurvedic elixir made of spices, with the flavour of tea. The result was chai, which combined the health benefits of the spices with those of tea, thus creating a drink that would stand the test of time. Here are some of the benefits of consuming chai:
1. Improves Digestion and Reduces Nausea
Both traditional and modern medicine has been using herbs and spices to treat common ailments. One such spice is ginger which has been used for centuries to reduce nausea. Studies show that ginger can reduce nausea, and it is especially effective during pregnancy. A study done with 1,278 pregnant women showed that around 1.5g of ginger can help curb pregnancy nausea, and this is approximately the same amount of ginger in a cup of chai. However, this should ideally be consumed without milk.
Studies suggest that black tea can also helps boost immunity in the digestive tract. There are harmful micro-organisms such as Helicobacter pylori in the stomach and intestines which contributes to the development of gastritis and peptic ulcers. Research shows that regular tea consumption could reduce the population of these harmful micro-organisms which will improve overall gut health. Also, other spices in chai like cinnamon, clove, and cardamon have antibacterial qualities which help reduce the risk of bacterial infection.
2. Aids with Weight Management
Chai can also help promote weight loss. Being a tea-based beverage, on its own, the drink is low in calories. However, the addition of sugar and milk can change the calorie count, nonetheless it’s a great beverage to be consumed between meals to curb hunger pangs. Tea could also help with weight management as it can aid in reducing the absorption of fat from the diet and alter fat metabolism, thus resulting in decreased fat storage and increased energy. However, to reap the full weight loss benefits, regular tea consumption must be coupled with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
3. Improves Immunity
Bioactive compounds, mostly phenolic compounds, flavonoids and terpenes are the base properties of spices. They have antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Spices and herbs enhance immunity by aiding proper digestion and metabolism, which provide the right nutrition to the body, thereby strengthening the immune system.
Chai is also healthy because both black tea and spices are rich in antioxidants which help protect the cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there are the presences of excessive amounts of Free Radicals (FR) and Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which have the potential to damage other molecules in the body leading to serious health problems. Tea has been found as a substance withA uniquely high flavonoid content, which helps curb the negative effects of FRs and ROS.
4. Control Blood Sugar Levels
Another reason chai is healthy for you is because it can help control blood sugar levels. Ceylon cinnamon is as renowned as Ceylon tea, and this rust-coloured spice has a wealth of health benefits. Studies show that cinnamon may help insulin resistance. A lower insulin resistance means it becomes easier for your body to transport sugar out of your blood and into your cells, thus lowering blood sugar levels.
Continually, regular consumption of black tea could also have positive effects on people with Type 2 diabetes. Research reveals that tea consumption could reduce the absorption of glucose into the body from the digestive tract, especially from carbohydrate dense foods.
5. Benefits for the Skin
Regular consumption of chai can also help improve skin health! We all love to have glowing, youthful looking skin and drinking black tea helps you achieve this. Collagen that is naturally present in skin reduces over time due to age and oxidative stress. The flavonoids in Ceylon tea fight off the Free Radicals which cause oxidative stress and help restore the skin’s collagen.
How to Brew and Prepare Chai
The best chai tea would be a home brew, and if you’re feeling adventurous you should try it at least once. This is a relatively easy process, and it is not too time consuming. Begin by steeping black tea with a spice blend of your choice. We recommend using Dilmah Premium Extra Strength Black Tea as it has a full-bodied flavour and will complement the aromatic spices.
However, if you are at work or just too busy to steep your own chai, our Exceptional Ceylon Spice Chai, is just as good as a home brew. This tea combines the flavour and goodness of real Ceylon tea, with some of Sri Lanka’s most famous spices like Ceylon cinnamon, clove, and ginger. To prepare all you need to do is follow the brewing instructions on the package. If you’re using loose tea leaves, we recommend you use the Dilmah Thetiere Plunger to enhance your brewing experience.
Over the years, chai has gone through many transformations and has been given many different names. However, one thing that has stayed the same is its delicious flavour and innumerable amount of health benefits. Get your own cup of authentic spiced tea today!