7 Benefits of Drinking Chai Tea

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Chai, or masala chai, is a spiced black tea with many health benefits. See how the antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and nutrients in chai can help the body.

Chai latte in a glass mug.

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What Is Chai?

Chai (shortened from masala chai), is a spiced tea from India. It’s made of black tea with spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and cardamom.

It’s called chai tea in the U.S., but this is technically incorrect since chai means tea, so “chai tea” translates to “tea tea.”

The exact spices in chai depend on the recipe or product and no company makes the exact same blend of spices. Making it yourself will help you get the best flavor possible.

RELATED: Chai Latte from Scratch

7 Chai Tea Health Benefits

1. Increases Energy

Since chai is made with black tea, it contains caffeine. This is a compound that stimulates the nervous system. It increases physical and mental energy, making chai a great morning drink.

Black tea contains less caffeine than coffee, so if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine or looking for an alternative to coffee, chai is a good choice.

You can also benefit from chai if you want a mid-day pick-me-up without the intense energy boost from coffee.

2. Lowers Oxidative Stress

When you drink chai, you’ll also be fighting oxidative stress. This is a process that can increase the risk of sicknesses, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and brain disease.

Oxidative stress happens when there are too many dangerous molecules in the body. These molecules are caused by things like an unhealthy diet, pollution, and lack of sleep. However, the black tea in chai can reduce oxidative stress. They work by fighting the dangerous molecules.

In black tea, the main antioxidants include polyphenols, theaflavins, and catechins. There’s also vitamin C, which provides antioxidant effects as well.

3. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation, like oxidative stress, will hurt cells over time. This can lead to health issues, including swelling, pain, and disease.

Black tea, which is in chai, is good for inflammation. It’s due to the antioxidants, which have natural anti-inflammatory effects.

Additionally, any ginger in chai is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient. This is related to 6-shogaol, the main substance in ginger. When you consume ginger, 6-shogaol stops inflammatory reactions. This protects your cells from damage.

4. Supports Immunity

Thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of chai, the drink will naturally boost your immunity. These properties are mainly from the black tea and vitamin C. But some of the other spices, including cinnamon, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects too.

Black tea contains vitamin C, one of the most important nutrients for immune function. Vitamin C helps immune cells find germs and destroy them.

The nutrient is also needed to repair skin, which ensures cuts and wounds heal properly.

5. Protects the Heart

Heart disease is the most common sickness in the U.S. It’s caused by many things, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, and inflammation.

The black tea in chai can lower both high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This protects the blood vessels, which lets blood properly travel to and from the heart. Also, the antioxidants in black tea reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. These antioxidants protect blood vessels as well.

Ginger and cinnamon add even more heart-healthy benefits, as they both work against oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

6. Improves Brain Function

For a natural way to support brain health, drink more chai. The ingredients in the drink will enhance how your brain works.

Oxidative stress and inflammation harms brain cells. This can increase the risk of brain disorders, but the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects of chai will help. And as chai promotes heart health, it benefits the brain too. Good heart health ensures enough blood and oxygen reach the brain.

The caffeine in black tea will stimulate your nervous system too. As a result, you’ll have more attention, focus, and concentration.

7. Helps Digestion

Another health benefit of chai involves digestion. Specifically, the ingredients in chai can help your digestive tract.

As an anti-inflammatory drink, black tea reduces inflammation in the gut. This is key for keeping gut bacteria healthy.

The ginger in chai is especially good for digestion. It relives nausea and stomach aches by relaxing your digestive muscles. Ginger also helps food move through the digestive tract, which is good for nausea and bloating.

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