Is Drinking Chai Good For You?
If you're an avid chai-sipper like we are, we know you don't need another reason to drink your daily cuppa. After all, it's a non-negotiable, right? Though, if we were spend some time highlighting one particular reason that we're obsessed with chai, it'd certainly have to be because of its health benefits. And there are many, many health benefits to drinking chai. So, we asked our ambassador Holly Nash, Dietitian and Nutritionist, to share her expert knowledge on what those exact benefits are. Here's what she had to say...
I choose and recommend Calmer Sutra Tea because of their high quality ingredients, perfect flavour balance of tea and real spices (I love seeing the chunks of cloves and cinnamon sticks when I’m making my chai), and because they are a passionate family run business. Plus their beautiful packaging doesn’t hurt either!
Traditionally chai has been such a nourishing drink full of health benefits. Unfortunately, when food industry got their hands on it they turned it into powders and syrups where sugar is the top ingredient and they are nutritionally devoid. So if you want to experience the flavour and health benefits make sure you are drinking the real stuff AKA Calmer Sutra Tea.
As a dietitian, I am very passionate about ingredients and quality. Calmer Sutra ticks all the boxes for me and if you are a chai lover or wanting to find a delicious alternative to coffee this is a must in your fridge. I also love that they have a range that is suitable for different lifestyles so if you’re vegan or wanting to lower or avoid caffeine there’s chai for you!
1. Improves Digestion & Nausea
Fresh ginger in chai is a must, one of the reasons I choose Calmer Sutra as my go to chai. It tastes amazing and is a wonderful warming aid to your digestion, plus it is also well documented that it’s great choice for anyone suffering from nausea e.g. morning sickness during pregnancy, this is a wonderful switch from your morning coffee. It still contains caffeine though so switch the Dandi Chai blend if you’d like caffeine free.
With chai, it’s not just the one spice aiding in digestion but more of the the beautiful combination of spices that Calmer Sutra have blended. Cardamom and cloves have compounds in them that relaxes the lining of the GI tract, ginger promotes the elimination of excessive gas from the digestive system and soothes the intestinal tract, cinnamon has prebiotic properties that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and help suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Many of us eat and drink things we know are good for us but they don’t taste great so we don’t enjoy them, so it truly is a huge bonus that Calmer Sutra chai tastes and smells amazing as well as helping our tummies.
2. Heart Health
The amazing spice; cardamom has been reported it may help reduce the LDL levels (the cholesterol we want less of), lower heart rate and help controls rhythm and hypertension.
Other studies conclude that ginger may lower cholesterol levels too and also help prevent blood from clotting. Black tea plays a cardio protective role as it contains a group of antioxidants called flavonoids, these benefit heart health in reducing oxidative stress related to heart disease as they act as scavengers for free radicals.
3. Lowers Blood Sugar
Cinnamon and ginger are both wonderful spices to incorporate into your diet to help stabilise your blood sugar levels.
If you have type 2 diabetes results from a 2003 study may interest you! They found that an intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
Plus, research is also suggesting ginger may be a powerful anti-diabetic with findings that ingesting 2g of ginger powder a day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12% on average. CST use potent fresh ginger, so even better!
3. Antioxidant Rich, Anti-inflammatory & Antibacterial
Black Tea and cloves are very rich in antioxidants (we always want lots of these to help fight against free radicals and cell damage).
Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory agent, which means it may be useful in fighting heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and arthritis. Specifically, ginger inhibits the action of several of the genes involved in the inflammation process - how cool is that?!
Clove, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom all have strong antibacterial properties to help support our immune system to help the body fight unwanted bacteria and germs.
Warming, nourishing and soothing. A wonderful ritual to calm and slow the mind which then translates into nourishment for your body. The chai ritual is a beautiful moment in the day that is an opportunity to slow down. Don’t rush making your chai, enjoy the smell, the process and sit and sip in a quiet place even if its just for 5 minutes.
- Grzanna, R et al. “Ginger – an herbal medicinal product with broad anti- inflammatory actions.” J Med Food. 2005 Summer;8(2):125-32.
- Thomson, M et al. “The use of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) as a potential anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic agent.” Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002 Dec;67(6):475-8.
- Peterson, C. T., Rodionov, D. A., Iablokov, S. N., Pung, M. A., Chopra, D., Mills, P. J., & Peterson, S. N. (2019). Prebiotic Potential of Culinary Spices Used to Support Digestion and Bioabsorption. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 8973704. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/8973704
- Vasanthi, H. R., & Parameswari, R. P. (2010). Indian spices for healthy heart - an overview. Current cardiology reviews, 6(4), 274–279. https://doi.org/10.2174/157340310793566172
- Pon Velayutham Anandh Babu, Dongmin Liu,
- Chapter 18 - Flavonoids and Cardiovascular Health
- Complementary and Alternative Therapies and the Aging Population,
- Academic Press, 2009, Pages 371-392, ISBN 9780123742285. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374228-5.00018-4
- Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes
- Alam Khan, Mahpara Safdar, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, Khan Nawaz Khattak, Richard A. Anderson. Diabetes Care Dec 2003, 26 (12) 3215-3218; DOI: 10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215