If there’s one beverage that unites Indians and has an ever-growing number of fans abroad, it’s chai or tea (or chai tea as the Americans call it). And if there’s a type of tea that rules over all the other varieties, it’s definitely masala chai.
Packed with the goodness of black tea, milk and spices, this tea is also traditionally prepared with sugar. You can, however, give sugar a skip and still enjoy the spicy heat of this beverage. Now, you might assume that a large, piping hot cup of masala chai is best suited for winters, but that’s just not true.
Not only can you have masala chai during spring, summer, monsoon and autumn for its immunity-boosting qualities, but also because a hot drink in summer can actually cool you down.
According to a study published in the journal Acta Physiologica in 2012, when you drink a hot cup of tea in summer, your body temperature rises temporarily and increases the rate of perspiration or sweating. The moment this sweat evaporates from your skin, it has a cooling effect – just what you need in summers, isn’t it?
But when any hot drink can do the trick, why drink masala chai? For the benefits that the six basic ingredients of this tea variety can provide, of course!
1. Black tea
According to a study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences in 2019, black tea contains a powerful group of polyphenols, including theaflavins, thearubigins, catechins and flavonoids, which help decrease inflammation and prevent the onset of chronic diseases. Drinking black tea regularly can also help prevent high cholesterol, heart diseases and obesity. These polyphenols also slow down the body’s natural ageing process.
This ingredient might be getting a bad reputation these days for being high in fat, but the benefits of milk are many. A study published in Veterinary World in 2019 argues that milk is chock-full of protein, bioactive peptides, conjugated linoleic acids, vitamin D, selenium and calcium – and so, drinking it can boost your immunity.
Not only does ginger have antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also full of antioxidants like gingerols, shogaols and paradols. Ginger is an important ingredient to boost your immunity. According to a study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2013, it can even help prevent cancer.
According to a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2014, cinnamon is packed with antioxidants like procyanidins and catechins. This spice has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering compounds which are effective in maintaining cholesterol level, blood sugar levels and heart health.
Cardamom is both delicious and full of antioxidants, phenolic acids and plant sterols. A study published in Lipids in Health and Disease in 2017 shows how adequate cardamom intake can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and help prevent obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases.
According to a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in 2018, cloves have a vital phenolic compound called eugenol, which prevents inflammation, and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Eugenol also stops the growth of free radicals, thereby reducing the chances of tumour growth.
Four spices, milk and black tea – these ingredients make masala chai a must-have in every season. What’s more, it’s very easy to whip up. Any reason why you aren’t brewing a cup right now?
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.