Masala chai: Knows its benefits and its side effects



    Hail tea lovers, masala chai has been officially declared the second-best non-alcoholic beverage. Know the health benefits of masala chai and its side effects.

    A classic Indian staple, masala chai or ‘chai’ or tea is a heartwarming beverage that has often been associated with comfort. Combining the subtle flavours of several natural herbs, masala chai is peppered with ingredients such as cloves, black pepper, ginger and cardamom. One sip of this delicious decoction helps ward off the whole day’s fatigue in a jiffy. And there’s good news for all tea lovers – Masala Chai has secured the position of the second-best non-alcoholic beverage of 2023 according to the online food guide TasteAtlas.

    Is drinking masala chai healthy?

    Yes, masala chai is delicious and it is healthy too! Masala chai is a great source of nutrients, such as antioxidants such as catechins and theaflavins. These antioxidants can fight oxidative stress, prevent cancer, and improve several conditions, according to Surabhi Sharma, Head Of Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at Max Hospital.

    Drinking masala tea offers a lot of health benefits. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

    Masala chai also includes calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K. It helps in boosting our immune system, the spices in masala chai, including ginger, cardamom, and cloves, have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can help fight off infections and viruses.

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    What are the health benefits of masala chai?

    Masala chai or tea is a great source of nutrients, which helps protect your body and organs from several health problems. Here are the health benefits of masala chai you must know:

    1. Provides energy

    Masala tea leaves have caffeine which can help wake you up, energise, cleanse and relax. It also improves brain and heart health by providing energy, says the expert.

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    2. Protects cells

    Black tea combined with cardamom is a powerful duo and can help protect the cells of your body. It contains antioxidants that help you do this.

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    3. Soothes pain

    Cloves contain eugenol, which is a natural anesthetic that helps reduce pain. Ginger in tea also contains properties that reduce pain, found a study published in Phytotherapy Research. Cloves and ginger have antioxidant properties that alleviate pain, says the expert.

    4. Improves digestion

    The ginger used in masala chai helps with digestion by improving oxygen and circulation, which helps the organs function at their best. Chai also helps support digestion, lowers blood sugar levels, and promotes cardiovascular health.

    5. Boosts immunity

    Masala tea contains ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and more that contain properties like vitamin C that promote immune health and protect you against diseases.

    6. Fights bacteria

    Spices used to make masala tea contain antibacterial properties that help fight pathogens and reduce your chances of developing any bacterial infections.

    7. Aids weight loss

    Chai tea can also increase your metabolism and help your body burn fat. Black tea combined with cinnamon can help reduce cholesterol and help your body turn calories into energy faster, says the expert.

    How to make masala tea?

    Making masala chai is simple. Add one inch of crushed cinnamon, 2-3 cardamom, 2 cloves, and 1 inch of peeled ginger to two cups of boiled water. Now, add some tea powder to the mix and let it cook well. Let the water boil for 2-3 minutes and add some sugar to the mix (optional). Strain and enjoy masala tea.

    A woman measuring her waist.
    Drinking masala tea can help you lose weight. Image courtesy: Freepik

    Are there any side effects of having masala chai?

    There are a lot of health benefits to drinking masala chai, but it has some side effects too. Sharma says, “Caffeine can cause a variety of issues, including insomnia, anxiety and restlessness.”

    Everything in moderation will offer health benefits, while anything in excess can lead to problems. This hot beverage contains caffeine and people who are sensitive to it, should avoid drinking too much. “Tea also contains tannins, which can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hormonal imbalance,” adds the expert.

    Who should avoid drinking masala chai?

    An excess of caffeine can cause problems for people if they consume too much masala chai. People suffering from anxiety or stress should avoid consuming this tea. Women with hormonal imbalances and pregnant women should also limit their intake. People with poor gut health should also avoid it as it can trigger problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.

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