The word “Chai” is derived from two different words in Sanskrit, “Chai” which means tea and “Masala” which means spices. Masala Chai is a traditional drink of India, made by brewing black tea with a mix of aromatic, flavorful spices like cardamom, ginger and cinnamon.
The popularity of Chai in India is at par with the popularity of coffee in the western world. It is served in any shop or restaurant across the country and consumed as a hot beverage during winters or after a meal.
Why is it so popular?
It’s really difficult to explain the popularity of Chai in India. There are a few theories that I have come across as to why it is so popular.
For starters, Chai is a great beverage to drink during winters, as it is very warm and comforting. This has probably contributed to its popularity. Moreover, the spices used in Chai make it an ideal digestive aid after a meal.
Chai also gives you a boost of energy, which is very important in India, considering the long working hours, especially if you are in an office job. It gives you a little lift that keeps you going throughout the day.
The familiarity of Chai in India is another reason for its popularity. Most Indians grow up drinking Chai or at least have some exposure to it. You can get Chai in literally any restaurant or shop across India and this makes it very convenient for people to consume. Moreover, Chai is also offered free in trains across India by vendors called “chai-wallahs”.
Health Benefits of Chai Tea
Chai has many health benefits like boosting immunity and protecting against colds, flus and infections. It is also known to boost metabolism and help with weight loss. It is also said to have many medicinal properties like treating nausea, dysentery and asthma.
Checkout the potential health benefits of chai tea:
All tea, especially black tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols are known to fight free radicals which help with prevention of cancer, heart disease and aging. In addition, Chai also contains antioxidants like catechins and theaflavins which are known to boost metabolism and help with weight loss.
This is perhaps why it is also known to help with lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.
Chai tea is said to help lower high cholesterol levels, by reducing the bad LDL cholesterol and increasing the good HDL cholesterol. This can be attributed to its high content of antioxidants as well as the fact that it is a low-calorie beverage which means it does not have any added sugar like coffee or other beverages and hence it helps with weight loss.
Chai tea is known to boost immunity, especially during winters when we are more susceptible to catching colds or flus due to low temperatures or dry weather conditions. It helps fight infections in the respiratory tract, due to the soothing and antibacterial properties of the spices used in the recipe.
The antioxidants in Chai tea help fight free radicals which are known to cause cancer, thus helping prevent cancer. Chai, especially green chai is also said to help protect against stomach or colon cancer since it is a low-fat beverage which has no added sugar.
To lower cholesterol, improve immunity and fight infections, one must have a high metabolism rate which burns more calories than normal. Chai tea is known to help with weight loss because of its low calories and helps boost metabolism along with the antioxidants present in it. This makes it a great beverage for winter, when the metabolism tends to slow down.
Another health benefit of Chai tea is the ability to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body, which in turn helps prevent heart disease and maintain a healthy heart. Drinking Chai every day can help lower bad cholesterol levels from between 5-15 percent, thus helping prevent heart disease and strokes. This can also be attributed to its high antioxidant content which helps fight free radicals which are known to cause damage to the arteries and veins.
The spices used in this recipe are all known for their antibacterial properties. They help combat colds and flus, especially since they can be consumed hot or cold and are easy to make.
Treatment of Nausea
Chai tea is also used as a home remedy for nausea. It is said to help with nausea caused by pregnancy, morning sickness or food poisoning. It helps because it calms the stomach and makes one feel better, while also soothing the stomach and acting as an antacid.
Soothes Respiratory Tract
The spices used in this recipe are all known for their soothing effects on nasal congestion, throat infections and colds. They help clear nasal congestion by clearing the respiratory tract and opening up the airways. They also help with sore throats, coughs, colds and bronchitis due to their anti-inflammatory properties which reduce swelling and inflammation and help with relief of symptoms.
Chai tea is known to help treat asthma. It is said to help relax the bronchial tubes in the lungs due to its anti-inflammatory properties, while also helping clear the respiratory tract by clearing nasal congestion and throat infections which can be caused by asthma. In addition, the warm, soothing beverage helps bring down a high fever which is often associated with asthma and helps relieve symptoms of other respiratory problems like colds and coughs.
Overall, Chai is a healthy beverage and a great way to enjoy your favorite flavor of tea with the added benefits of spices. However, if you don’t like the taste of Chai tea, it’s best to stick to the traditional black tea because it has all the same health benefits without any additional flavors or spices.