What is chai tea and why is it such a popular tea option to have? Keep reading below to learn more about its ingredients, history, and benefits!
What Is Chai Tea? The History Of Chai
Chai is a popular beverage that originated in India almost 5,000 years ago.
According to legend, the very first time chai was ever made, it did not include tea leaves, milk, and sugar.
On the contrary, it was made up of nothing but Indian spices and was used in Ayurveda, a 100% natural Indian healing practice.
Moving forward to the 1600s and the discovery of black tea leaves in China happened. These leaves, officially called Camellia sinensis assamica, arrived in India around the same time, and as of then, the chai we drink nowadays came to be.
So, today, what we call chai tea is a black tea brew enriched with the aromas of spices like ginger and cardamom.
The addition of sugar and milk is another thing that makes chai tea recognizable, as both these ingredients work together with the tea leaves and spices to give chai its wholesome look and taste.
What Is The Distinction Between Chai Tea And Chai Tea Latte?
While there are many coffee houses that are using the terms interchangeably, a chai tea and a chai latte are not the same thing.
What differs is not only their flavor and taste but also the way you prepare each one of these beverages.
For starters, a chai tea is not as sweet as a chai latte, as the latter is made with extra sugar, cream, and other sweet spices that are not included in the chai tea.
Not only that but chai tea lattes are usually topped with whipped cream, making them a little bomb of creaminess, sweetness, and extra calories.
On the contrary, and as we have already mentioned, chai tea needs nothing but its traditional spices, like cardamom and ginger, some milk, and some sugar that is added to make it only a bit creamy and sweet.
This means that milk and sugar mostly help with making the tea drinkable and rather enjoyable, as otherwise, it would be too bitter to drink.
In terms of the way the two chai varieties are prepared, chai tea’s ingredients are all brewed together with warm milk, while chai latte is prepared with frothed milk.
This makes chai lattes similar to the classic lattes you can get in any coffee shop, but instead of being made with coffee, they are made with black tea.
What Are The Benefits Of Chai Tea?
It Can Benefit Our Cardiovascular Health
There is scientific proof that chai tea might well be beneficial to our heart’s health mainly thanks to cinnamon, a key spice added in chai tea, which is known to reduce blood pressure as well as the LDL cholesterol which everyone tries to reduce.
Many experiments study the daily intake of 1-6 grams of cinnamon, which is typically more than what you will get in a cup of chai tea.
Nevertheless, according to a recent analysis, amounts as low as 120 milligrams a day could be enough to provide these positive cardiovascular effects.
Numerous studies like this one have also found that the black tea in chai might help lower the cholesterol in the blood.
Another study has also found that the black tea in chai might help lower the cholesterol in the blood, while according to most studies, drinking a minimum of four cups of chai tea on a daily basis could slightly lower a person’s blood pressure.
In addition, drinking a minimum of three cups a day appears to be associated with an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Chai Tea Could Help Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Chai tea might indeed help with blood sugar regulation as some of the spices included in it, like cinnamon and ginger, have blood sugar-lowering properties.
Cinnamon, for example, has been shown in studies to decrease insulin resistance and fasting blood glucose levels by 10-29%.
Lowering insulin resistance allows your body to easily employ insulin to transport sugar from your blood into your cells. This can assist in lowering your blood sugar levels.
It Might Help With Nausea And Digestive Health
Ginger, widely known for its anti-nausea properties, is another key spice used to make chai tea. Indeed, it appears to be particularly successful at alleviating morning sickness for pregnant women.
Other spices included in chai like cinnamon, cloves, but also cardamom, come with antimicrobial properties that seem to aid in the prevention of digestion problems resulting from bacterial infectious diseases.
Black pepper, a further chai tea component, seems to offer comparable antibacterial action.
Furthermore, research on animals suggests that black pepper could increase the number of digestive enzymes required to effectively break down meals and promote an optimal digestive process.
It Could Aid In Weight Loss
Chai tea could help you avoid gaining weight and enhance fat burning in a variety of ways. To begin, chai tea is typically made with cow’s milk and otherwise soy milk, both of which are high in protein.
Protein is a nutrient that has been shown to limit food cravings and stimulate a sense of fullness. Therefore, the chances of chai tea (see also: How Much Caffeine In Chai Tea?)keeping you from indulging in cakes and pastries are higher than those of, say, a chai latte.
Moreover, another study has shown that some of the ingredients of chai tea as well as the compounds of the tea leaves might help with fat breakdown and significantly curb the calorific amount our bodies absorb from food.
Lastly, animal studies suggest that eating black pepper could assist with the prevention of the buildup of fat mass, although it is unclear how these findings apply to humans.
The Bottom Line
Chai tea is a delicious and healthy beverage you can enjoy on its own or with some healthy snacks on the side. Unlike chai latte, it is not too high in calories, but it is high in protein and rich in taste, making it an ideal drink to have instead of coffee or any other classic tea you’d go for!