Indian culture is hospitable, effervescent, indulgent, and colourful. While it is home to a few hundred types of food, languages, and even more gods, there is one common ritual that has been passed down to each citizen, through several preceding generations. The act of drinking Masala Chai.
The morning, evening, and sometimes more often than that tea break is often characterised by the consumption of our classic spiced black tea with milk and accompanying snacks. But are we drinking too much, too often? Most things are alright, as long as they’re had in moderation but are we conveniently ignoring this advice when it comes to having tea? Nutrition Expert, Chandni Haldurai, helps us through it all.
Tea vs Coffee
Tea lovers might be quick to jump onto this bandwagon and vouch for the health benefits of tea over coffee but let us not forget that both beverages are a source of caffeine, and are equally responsible for an unnatural boost in our energy levels.
Research suggests that it's difficult to say either one is better than the other. Both beverages have a complex ingredients list and affect each person differently based on what kind or how often we consume them. It also largely depends on the individual’s body composition.
Pros of Drinking Coffee
- Decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the long term
- Promotes Weight Management
- Supports Heart Health
- Protective Effect on Liver
- Enhances Athletic Performance
Pros of Drinking Tea
- Protects Heart Health
- Aids in Weight Loss
- Supports Mental Health
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
- Aids Digestion
Different Types of Teas and What They Can Do For You
We’re going to break down and analyze the benefits of a list of some of the most common tea varieties in the world, so pay close attention!
Our sweet and spicy chai is most popularly made using a combination of black tea, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper.
Masala Tea Benefits:
- Deflects Hypertension - A key ingredient in the tea, Cinnamon, consists of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that also aid in decreased blood pressure.
- Combats Oxidative Stress - Oxidative Stress is capable of destroying cell tissues and causing DNA damage. The antioxidants in Chai neutralize this stress and keep the mind and body healthy.
- Manages Blood Sugar Level - Reduced insulin resistance which in turn, helps manage type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
- Improves Digestion - The spices within the chai ease symptoms of nausea, aid digestion, and even treat and prevent stomach issues caused by bacterial infections.
Frequency: One cup a day in the morning is recommended.
Praised for its medicinal properties, the benefits of green tea are often talked about. It is widely used in India, and the Western Hemisphere.
Green Tea Benefits:
- Enhances focus and promotes better working memory
- Consists of micronutrients with antioxidant properties that can protect the body, and skin against cellular damage that is directly related to aging.
- Research suggests that it may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and slow down the growth of tumour cells of certain types of cancer.
- As a drink or supplement, it is often used to manage high cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent heart disease, and ovarian cancer.
Frequency: Two cups a day are ideal to reap the complete benefits of drinking green tea.
Historically used for treating a host of health issues, Chamomile Tea is still undergoing several studies to identify the extent of its benefits.
Chamomile Tea Benefits:
- Reduces the severity of menstrual cramps. As a result, it also reduces the anxiety and distress that surrounds period pains.
- A helpful supplement to existing treatments, chamomile tea prevents blood sugar from increasing thus reducing the long-term risk of diabetes complications.
- Slows down and prevents osteoporosis; a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle, sometimes caused by oestrogen. Studies show that chamomile may have anti-estrogenic effects along with properties that promote bone density.
- Reduces Inflammation
- Helps with sleep and relaxation
Frequency: One to two cups a day, right before heading to bed is ideal. It is not recommended for pregnant women, infants, and young children.
Hibiscus tea is tasty, sweet, and sour, enjoyed both hot and cold. Celebrated for being herbal tea with several health benefits, it's an ideal beverage to consume daily.
Hibiscus Tea Benefits:
- Packed with antioxidants
- Lowers blood pressure and thus, is a preventative remedy for heart disease
- Helps lower blood fat levels by increasing the level of good and healthy cholesterol in your body, and actively decreasing bad cholesterol
- Consists of polyphenols, which are compounds that have proven to possess powerful anti-cancer properties
- Helps fight a variety of bacterial infections
Frequency: Two cups in the morning on an empty stomach has been found to be most effective.
A warm cup of this traditional Chinese tea packs a powerful punch with its rich, earthy taste and nutritious properties.
Oolong Tea Benefits:
- Helps maintain brain function, improves memory, and possibly protects against diseases related to ageing
- The amino acid in Oolong helps boost attention and relieve anxiety
- The antioxidants found in oolong tea keeps your teeth and bones strong
- Aids in insulin resistance and decreasing inflammation, thus, combatting heart diseases
- Increases fat oxidation which directly results in fat and weight loss
- Has been observed to offer relief to those suffering from eczema although, further research is required to understand the direct correlation
Frequency: Two-three cups a day should be adequate. However, you can consume up to 8 cups without any risk.
While lavender is more commonly associated with aromatherapy, having it as tea seems to have its own host of benefits.
Lavender Tea Benefits:
- Compounds in lavender stimulate brain activity resulting in a boost in the mood alongside a calming effect
- Lavender exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects which improve skin health via collagen formation
- Boosts sleep
- Soothes menstrual cramping. Although this might largely be prompted by smelling the scent as you drink the tea, the relaxation indirectly helps with the pain.
Frequency: One cup a day, before going to sleep.
The Last Say
No matter what kind of tea you choose to incorporate into your daily routine, the benefits are worth the effort. Most of the time, it barely even takes any effort considering all the dried tea leaves and sachets that are readily available at our disposal. There's something there for everyone, so why not customize your tea consumption according to what your body really needs.
Lastly, too much of anything, even the best things in the world, is good for nothing. Do remember that your total intake shouldn't be more than two cups in a day - be it a single type of tea of a combination of your favourite ones.
So stay mindful, stay healthy, and stay fit!