Chai tea is tea made from a blend of teas, spices, and herbs. It’s a cherished beverage in India where it’s believed to bring peace of mind and preserve health. The tea has become popular in the United States in years past, showing up on the menu at local coffee shops everywhere. There are several notable health benefits with regular consumption of this great tea. It has been said to aid in a variety of health issues from indigestion to obesity. Read more about the history and benefits of this magical tea and try some out today!
What is Chai?
Chai is as rich in its history as it is in flavor. The name chai is the Hindu word for tea which came from the word cha meaning tea in the Chinese language. When it comes to chai tea, it means a blend of spices steeped together to create a beverage resembling tea. The spice blends used to make this drink are strong including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and black peppercorns. Steep the spices in milk and sweeten with sugar or honey.
Chai beverages are made in varieties all around the world, but the process is the same. A potent mix of spices is steeped in milk and brewed to be quite strong. The drink originated in India 5000 years ago when a king ordered a healing tea. A drink with several healing spices began to circulate across India where each region made it its own version. The original chai tea didn’t actually contain any tea. The tea was added in the 1800’s after the discovery of tea plants in India. Using milk and sugar were added at this time as well.
Digestion issues are one of the many problems that may improve by drinking chai tea. The tea contains several spices that work together to improve unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and aiding in faster digestion of fatty foods. Cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper are some of these spices. Black pepper is known to help the pancreas secrete enzymes that help with easier digestion of foods. Regular consumption of this tea can aid in the treatment of gas reflux.
The spices in chai tea are also known to boost the metabolism and aid in weight loss when consumed regularly. The stimulation of digestion and release of pancreatic enzymes improves oxygen uptake and helps to break down the fat we eat. This quite often leads to feeling more full and a significant boost in metabolism which ultimately leads to losing weight. Depending on how strong of a caffeine content the tea has may also affect the metabolism. The tea can be sweetened with alternative non-sugar products and made with lower fat content milk to lower the calorie intake.
You have probably heard the word antioxidants thrown around in every health and beauty article, but what are they? In short, they are compounds in food the delay or stop cells from being damaged. They are highly associated with anti-aging products and helping to give that youthful glow. Tea has a high amount of antioxidant properties that do not decrease in strength by caffeine or heat. Antioxidants help aid the repair of damaged cells caused by cancer.
Another benefit of consuming chai tea is its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is the ingredient in this tea that provides many benefits. It is often recommended for people with arthritis to help control the inflammation. This is because of the powerful antioxidant powers that we just discussed. It also helps with pain and swelling. Cinnamon has also been used as an anti-inflammatory aid as well as Star Anise and Nutmeg. The combination of these spices leads to considerable improvement of severe and painful inflammation.
Immune System Boost
The spice blends found in chai tea all work together to give the body a powerful boost to the immune system. Going back to those fantastic antioxidants, the spices work together to heal the body from illnesses like a cold or flu. They build the immune system to a higher level of functioning so it can prevent these illnesses from happening and shorten the lifespan of them when they do strike.
Healthy Alternative to Coffee
Most of us can’t get going in the morning without that cup of coffee. Though coffee isn’t necessarily unhealthy, it’s health benefits can’t match those of chai tea. First of all, the caffeine content of coffee is much much higher. Next, coffee usually becomes unhealthy with the sugar, cream, and flavored syrups we add. Chai is made with milk and can be sweetened with honey instead of sugar. Furthermore, the benefits of coffee are nothing compared to the spices that are found in chai tea.
Chai tea is generally safe to drink on a daily basis. People who are sensitive to caffeine may want to take caution. The tea does contain a decent amount of caffeine that can have adverse effects with more than one cup. The other thing to consider with chai tea is the high spice content. These spice combinations can be harmful to women who are pregnant. Certain medications can also have interactions with spices. Check with your physician or pharmacy first to make sure drinking this tea is safe.
Make Your Own
It is super easy to make your own spice blend to use for homemade chai tea. If you want to fancy you can find high-quality spices at specialty food markets, health food stores, and over the internet. There are also basic recipes with ingredients at your local grocery chain. Once you have the base down, you can add other spices or flavors. Get creative and keep it interesting, especially if you are drinking this tea long term.