Widely considered one of the best fall and wintertime drinks, chai has gained worldwide popularity in the past 30 years. Originating from India, chai is a black tea blend traditionally mixed with a plethora of spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper, and green cardamom which is typically boiled in milk and water. Modern western conception of chai as a “chai tea latte” abandons the complex flavor of the spices in favor of a lighter and sweeter tasting drink. Connoisseurs of chai know behind the delicious flavor profile resides vast health benefits first discovered during ancient times.
Chai has been typically been drank during or after a meal which allows it to help boost and support digestive health. Black pepper aids the pancreas in secreting digestive enzymes allowing the body to quickly digest foods. Similarly, ginger has been well known for promoting digestive health by fighting excessive gas and relieving nausea or stomach pain. These two spices are also popular in the fitness community for boosting metabolism and speeding up calorie burning which helps weight loss.
The cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom found in chai are commonly known to contain antibacterial and anti fungal properties which aid the body in fighting unwanted infections. The black tea leaves have key antioxidants that provide a wide array of health benefits but most importantly fight off cancerous cells. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of cloves and ginger help boost the immune system which also aids in the body’s fight against cancer.
Chai is also extremely important in boosting mental health. The antioxidants found in cinnamon and ginger are known to combat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, the biochemical changes influenced by chai combat the effects of stress on the brain. The variants of chai containing black tea provide comparatively less caffeine compared to their counterparts like coffee allowing it to help you start the day energetically while simultaneously not worsening anxiety and stress.
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The essential oils found in cinnamon are known to reduce high blood pressure. Alongside the flavonoids of black tea aiding in combating high blood pressure and cholesterol, chai is a quintessential drink in ensuring a healthy cardiovascular system. Also, chai is a must-have drink for type 2 diabetics because cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar levels by combatting insulin resistance. Finally, the black tea leaves in chai are known to improve bone mineral density which can help protect against osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.