There has always been a great controversy about whether green tea or masala chai is better for the body. While the debate rages on there has been news that Olympic athletes drink masala chai to help them better deal with the pain, inflammation and fatigue they experience after a grueling session. So what is it that this unique drink offers? Well, here is a breakdown of its health benefits.
Anti inflammatory: Masala chai is made up of a whole array of spices – clove, cinnamon, elaichi, ginger and tulsi. All these spices have their own individual health benefits but what makes masala chai perfect to beat inflammation is the fact that all the benefits of these spices work in synergy to help your body. One of the most important ingredients that helps with inflammation is ginger. A paper published by the National Institute of Health  highlighted ginger’s ability to stop the synthesis of prostaglandins (a major player in the initiation of the inflammation process) and leukotriene biosynthesis, which in turn helps reduce the amount of inflammation one experiences.
Another component that makes masala chai a great tool to reduce inflammation is clove. Known to be packed with compound eugenol, clove is great when it comes to reducing inflammation in the muscles of the body. To add to that both these spices are very potent painkillers.
Beats fatigue: For some the best thing after a long, hard day’s work is a hot cup of masala chai. Wondering why? Well, the tannins present in tea help calm the body and revitalize it. Moreover tea contains caffeine – a stimulant. Albeit in a much lesser quantity when compared to coffee, but it has the same uplifting effect as a cuppa. This combination of spices (that helps beat fatigue) combined with a stimulant like caffeine acts as the best way to drive away fatigue. The effects of masala chai are so well known that even Olympic athletes resort to the drink as a ‘banned-substance-safe’ pick-me-up.
Fights cold and flu: Believed to strengthen the immune system and keep common infections at bay, masala chai is infused with the goodness of all the antibacterial, anti fungal, anti parasitic properties of its constituent spices. Moreover the immune boosting effects of clove, cinnamon, elaichi and ginger makes masala chai a great way to keep coughs and colds at bay.
Improves digestion: Wondering how that is possible? Well, according to Mickey Mehta, holistic guru, ‘Masala chai contains spices like clove, tulsi, ginger and elaichi. What makes it great for people is that chai on its own is highly acidic in nature but when you add ginger to it making it masala chai, it becomes a great digestive and in fact cuts out the acidic nature of the tea. So drink a cup of chai, it will rejuvenate you, beat fatigue and make you calmer.’ Apart from ginger, clove and elaichi also help improve digestion by increasing the amount of saliva produced and peristalsis (the movement of food down the digestive tract).
Good for your heart: Black tea (one of the main constituents of masala chai) is known for the strong anti oxidant properties it contains. Apart from that, spices like clove and elaichi also help lower the amount of bad cholesterol and improves the amount of good cholesterol. Thereby, reducing the amount of plaque formation of arterial blocks. The tannins present in tea are also known to help regulate one’s heart rate and blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels.
Boosts metabolism: Having a good and active metabolism is usually associated with weight loss, but did you know that a good metabolism is also responsible for other things like helping your body digest and use food more efficiently. Being an essential part of your health, drinking chai also ensures your entire digestive system is in top condition. Moreover in Ayurveda, tea is known as a heat generating food and therefore helps speed up your metabolism.
Prevents diabetes: Clove, cinnamon and elaichi are both known to help prevent diabetes by increasing the insulin sensitivity in the body and lowering one’s blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is known to keep the mind sharp and prevent the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and clove can help your body better utilize sugars.
Relieves PMS: If it’s that time of the month and you need something natural to fight the symptoms of PMS, tea is your best friend. Masala chai not only has agents that can help calm your nerves and make you happier, but it also has muscle relaxing properties. Elaichi, clove and cinnamon all act as potent painkillers and can help you deal with the pain of your periods.