WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF DRINKING CHAI?
What are the health benefits of drinking chai?
What I love most about chai is the unique, aromatic spiciness that warms you from the inside, but it got me thinking, are there any health benefits in drinking chai?
But before we go any further, let me clarify two things.
WHAT EXACTLY IS CHAI?
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Firstly, in this post I’m referring to the traditional style, loose-leaf chai that typically contains black tea and a combination of natural spices.
There are several kinds of imitation chai out there, including powdered and syrup. These are commonly served in cafes and fast food outlets and are typically high in sugar and artificial ingredients. Naturally, these types of confectionery-style drinks do not carry the same health benefits as a traditional chai.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
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Secondly, there is no such thing as “chai tea”. I kid you not!
The word “chai” translates to “tea” in Hindi, and is derived from the Chinese word for tea, “cha”. So, putting that altogether, “chai tea” actually translates to “tea tea”.
Masala chai translates to “spice tea”, therefore is probably the more accurate name for chai.
THE HISTORY OF CHAI
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Historically, ancient Indians drank chai as a ayurvedic herbal remedy for cleansing purposes.
At that time, chai was simply a brew of locally grown herbs and spices, and it wasn’t until much later that tea leaves, imported from China, were introduced in the mix.
SO WHAT MAKES CHAI HEALTHY?
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Chai contains several ingredients that are renowned for their health benefits, so it’s not just one
ingredient, but rather the combination ingredients, that makes drinking chai a healthy choice.
Black tea contains L-theanine. This is a type of amino acid which helps control serotonin and dopamine levels, the ones that regulate your mood, emotions, appetite and concentration.
Black tea is also said to be good for heart health, as it may assist in controlling cholesterol levels and help keep your blood pressure in check.
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Ginger is well renowned for its multitude of health benefits, most commonly for its ability to help relieve the symptoms of nausea, including morning and travel sickness.
Ginger also has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and recent studies have shown it may even be helpful for easing muscle pain, especially that associated with arthritic pain.
Ginger can also help to regulate blood sugar levels and has antibacterial properties.
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Cinnamon is also said to have many health benefits. It contains a high level of antioxidants which is known to help fight fungal and bacterial infections.
Cinnamon is also said to be useful in controlling blood sugar levels and can help to improve sensitivity to insulin.
Cardamom has historically been used to aid digestion, with the green variety being used for its calming and detoxifying purposes. It is also helpful in relieving respiratory infections, and as it contains a high level of vitamin C it can help keep your immune system healthy.
Collombatti Naturals Whole Cloves
Cloves have been used through the ages as a natural remedy for dental ailments due to its high level of antimicrobial properties. Cloves are also high in antioxidants and can help support liver health, help stabilise blood sugar levels and may even promote bone health.
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Another spice with multiple benefits is black peppercorns. High in antioxidants, this small dried fruit can help relieve sinus, asthma and nasal congestion as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. Black pepper is often taken with other medicinal ingredients to help boost the absorption of other nutrients.
Star anise contains active ingredients which have been found to be helpful in treating coughs and flu symptoms. Consuming star anise after meals may aid digestion and help prevent bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation.
Fresh green fennel seeds
Fennel seeds also have a multitude of uses, but is probably best known for its diuretic effects, working to reduce water retention. Fennel seeds are also said to help improve eyesight and purify the blood, while its phytonutrients can help to clear sinus and bronchial infections
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With much the same health benefits as fennel seeds, coriander has the additional benefit of being able to help maintain proper hormonal balance by stimulating the endocrine glands. This is said to help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce related pain and menstrual irregularities.
So next time you sit down to enjoy a freshly brewed chai you can rest easy knowing that not only does your chai taste amazing, but that it’s healthy too!