Chai tea is simply delicious yet it is actually good for you unlike most of the things you love to drink. There are several different recipes for Chai. However, most of them include: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and usually a black tea but sometimes a green one. Chai is generally milky and you can choose to add sugar or honey to sweeten it. Chai is good for you because it contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory herbs and helps with digestion. Tea alone has no calories but plenty of benefits. You should try some chai tea after Tai Chi.
Black and green tea include thearubigins, epicatechins, and catechins, which are all flavonoids which are a type of antioxidant. “The detoxifying effect of these antioxidants protects cells from free radicals, the damage that can lead to blood clot formation, atherosclerosis, and cancer… ”
These teas also have polyphenols. Polyphenols are associated with the reduced risk of cancer and high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. 82-year-old John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, N.Y. said: “In my lab, we found that green and black tea had identical amounts of polyphenols,” he tells WebMD. “We found that both types of tea blocked DNA damage associated with tobacco and other toxic chemicals. In animal studies, tea-drinking rats have less cancer.”
Chai tea contains three anti-inflammatory ingredients: ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Cloves contain eugenol which is used to relieve gum pain and for other anti-inflammatory uses. Ginger is recommended for arthritis and inflammatory conditions. Research has “revealed that an extract of ginger (Zingiber officinale) inhibits several genes that contribute to inflammation.”
A review published in the Journal of Medicinal Food discussed an early study which compared the medicinal potential of ginger to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like advil or motrin. Ginger is thought to work like NSAIDs by inhibiting enzymes like cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2. (Cox 1 and 2) which are responsible for inflammation.
Ginger is amazing to combat nausea and is though to act directly on the intestines unlike anti-nausea medicines which work on the brain. Cloves are also recommended to help an upset stomach. Additionally, cinnamon is often recommended as a digestive aid.
Some Chai recipes also include black pepper and fennel which have a myriad of benefits as well:
“Fennel is used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas,bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backache, bed-wetting and visual problems.” Fennel is also used by some lactating mothers to increase the flow of breast milk.
“The main active constituent of black pepper, piperine, is also a strong antioxidant, preventing oxidative damage, according to research published in ‘Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition’ in 2007.”
So, settle down to a nice cup of chai tea after some Tai Chi and wear the label of “tea snob” proudly as you reap the health benefits of chai!