For many people in Asian countries such, as in India and China, chai (“cha” in China) means tea. However, for the West, chai tea has been associated with a fragrant and spicy drink which is also very popular. Known widely because of its delicious blend of spices and herbs that make up its unique flavor, this type of tea has made a statement on the world stage.
Additionally, chai has proven health benefits which make it not only tasty but also good for the health. Whether you are trying to improve heart health or want to stimulate the immune system and ease aches and pains, chai tea is a terrific choice. Let’s learn what chai tea is and how it can help you stay healthy.
What is Chai Tea?
The chai tea you see at Starbucks and other coffee shops is not traditional chai. American chai teas are often packed with sugars and additives which are not found in the typical recipes of chai tea.
Chai tea is a robust mix of tea, spices, and herbs. For centuries, it has been used in Ayurvedic. Chai teas can vary according to the region where it’s consumed, but in general, they have some staple ingredients.
Most types of chai tea are made from black tea leaves that are oxidized and fermented and combined with spices including cinnamon, ground cloves, fennel, black pepper, cardamom, and fresh ginger. Chai recipes call for both green and black cardamom pods depending on the region.
Also, some chai tea blends contain star anise, black peppercorns, and coriander seed. These chai spices include great botanical elements including antimicrobial properties, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties that lend chai tea its extraordinary health benefits.
The mixture of chai tea spices is often infused with tea leaves to add a more powerful flavor profile to the ingredients of the standard chai tea. While chai is usually blended with Assam black tea, it can likewise have a base of green tea or other black teas from South Asia, like Darjeeling or Ceylon.
Chai tea, likewise known as masala chai, has a blend of tasty flavors and emits a spicy aroma which awakens the senses. Pepper and ginger give the tea a little kick while cloves and cinnamon add an earthy tone to the blend of tea. Chai tea is often sweetened to increase the robustness of the spices that lends a spicy and sweet flavor. It’s commonly used as an alternative to coffee owing to its caffeine content.
The Benefits Of Chai Tea
1. It Can Wake You Up
Due to the caffeine content, chai tea is an excellent choice for getting your morning started. This tea has caffeine because it contains black tea leaves that naturally contain caffeine.
As each chai can use a different amount of black tea, it is hard to say exactly how much caffeine each tea bag has. As a rule of thumb, masala chai contains approximately one-third the content of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee and approximately one-sixth the content of a strong cup of coffee. This means that you can consume several cups of masala chai a day without the negative impacts associated with several cups of coffee. You will still get the stimulant effects and can tackle even the longest days.
2. It Helps Improve Digestion
Chai tea is excellent for regulating the digestive systems and keeping the gut healthy. The spice in the drink which is mainly responsible for improving gastrointestinal health is ginger, which aids digestion by stimulating circulation and delivering oxygen to organs. This helps with optimal performance.
Another spice in chai tea that can aid digestion is black pepper, which helps the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes. These enzymes are catalysts that speed up digestive processes. With a healthy digestive system, you can avoid severe problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, iron deficiency, and liver diseases.
3. It Alleviates Nausea
Ginger is famous for its capability to ease nausea and has been used to treat general ailments like seasickness or vomiting during pregnancy. Masala chai contains around 1 to 1.5 grams of ginger, which is the amount studies have shown to be effective in treating nausea.
Ginger’s biological compounds that help treat nausea are known as shogaol and gingerol. These two compounds contain anti-inflammatory properties which work to alleviate stomach pain and soothe an upset stomach associated with nausea.
4. It Can Support The Immune System
If you want to build a robust immune system, consuming a few cups of chai tea every day can help you achieve the goal. For centuries, cardamom has been a staple of Tibetan medicine, and it has the high content of vitamin C and other nutrients which maintain our immune system healthy.
There are two types of cardamom, black and green. Green cardamom has a vibrant and balanced flavor whereas black tends to have a smoky taste.
If you want to get the benefits from this spice in the chai tea, it is a good idea to find out whether the tea bags contain green or black cardamom. Black cardamom is known for its expectorant and antiseptic qualities while green cardamom can help to clear your sinuses and detoxify the body. Both kinds of cardamom found in masala chai have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that help fight common colds, fungus, and bacteria.
5. It Helps Reduce Aches And Pains
The spices found in masala chai can help alleviate general aches and pains and can even help people with more severe pain like arthritis. These significant benefits derive from the anti-inflammatory properties of many ingredients in chai tea, specifically clove and ginger.
Ginger root has been indicated to reduce inflammation, which can ease pain ranging from mild headaches to migraines. Ginger stimulates circulation, delivering oxygen-rich blood cells to the areas with aches and pains to alleviate the symptoms.
Besides, cloves have been used as a homeopathic remedy for minor pains like toothaches for more than 2,000 years. Nowadays, cloves have also been used to treat dental-related pains that include dry socket and common tooth pain.
6. It Contributes To Protecting Overall Cell Health And Prevent Chronic Disease
Masala chai has a high content of antioxidants known as polyphenols which help remove free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that result from chemicals in foods, pollutants, and the surrounding environment which can cause cell damage. Free radicals are linked to chronic diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as well as many kinds of cancer.
Chai tea contains more polyphenols than most vegetables and fruits; it means that consuming chai tea daily can help to protect overall cell health. Cinnamon and clove are ranked among the spices with the highest antioxidant levels, and this tea has both of these. Their antioxidant properties protect our body against cell degeneration, bacteria, and viruses. Plus, antioxidants can slow the aging process.
Chai Tea Precautions
If you don’t have allergies to any of the specific ingredients, consuming chai tea should not be a problem. But, most chai tea contains black tea. Black tea has caffeine, which is a stimulant and can affect your sleep and anxiety. We also caution anyone pregnant or breastfeeding to be conscious of the intake of caffeine. You can enjoy chai without black tea and still get the great benefits it offers. Look for a chai with Rooibos or Red bush tea as its base.
Author Bio: This guest post is by Emily Pham, a blogger with many years of experience in searching the best natural home remedies for beauty and health issues. All content provided is for informational and educational purposes. We recommend consulting a healthcare professional to determine what is appropriate for you.