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Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverage all over the globe. It can be enjoyed any time of the day but most people start their day with a steaming cuppa.
Piping hot tea can beat the cold in winters whereas chilled iced tea is a cooling summer beverage. Flavour aside, tea also has medicinal properties due to the presence of flavonoids (phytochemicals or plant products that boost the immune system). It is inexpensive plus easy to prepare. Let's compare the health benefits of two popular teas - masala chai which is a staple in Indian households and green tea which is fast emerging as a health drink around the world.
It is very popular in India and its ingredients include milk, sugar and a blend of spices. It is called 'masala chai' because it contains a mixture of different spices which gives it a strong, refreshing flavour. The base is black tea and the spices include -- cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, dried ginger, black pepper and basil leaves. This mixture of different spices makes it extremely healthy and rich in antioxidants. Each spice used has its own health benefits, let's have a look:
Cardamom or elaichi- it speeds up digestion and relieves acidity, so if anyone has any gut problems a cup of tea with cardamom is the best remedy.
Clove: It is a powerful antioxidant that relieves respiratory infections, lowers inflammation and improves digestion too.
Cinnamon: It burns fat and keeps body healthy and fit. Stir your cup of tea with a cinnamon stick and enjoy the fresh flavour.
Ginger: Relieves headache, cough, cold and flu. It is anti-inflammatory and helps reduces joint pain, hence beneficial and effective for patients with rheumatic arthritis.
Black pepper: Another very powerful antioxidant that fights cold, cough and other respiratory problems. It improves gut health and has anti-bacterial properties too.
Tulsi leaves: It adds an amazing taste to the tea, also known as a stress-reliever and immunity booster.
All these spices surely make masala chai a very healthy beverage but it also depends on the method of preparation. But you need to be aware that adding buffalo milk or double fat milk increases the fat content of the tea. Also, adding sugar increases the calorie count and reduces its health benefits overall.
Green tea first originated in China and is packed with flavonoids and antioxidants. It is believed to be the healthiest of all teas because it does not undergo the process of fermentation like others and thus retains great amount of phytochemicals and antioxidants.
The presence of antioxidants catechins and epcatechins in green tea makes it a very healthy beverage. Another benefit of green tea is that it contains very few calories which makes it good for weight loss as it stimulates metabolism and reduces body fat. It also prevent spikes in the blood glucose levels thus making it beneficial in managing diabetes.
Both the teas are healthy but masala tea may not always provide health benefits if double fat milk and high amount of sugar is used, thus making it calorie-dense leading to weight gain, high blood glucose and cholesterol levels whereas light and delicate flavoured green tea does not contain much calories and is full of antioxidants. While you can have multiple cups of green tea every day, restrict masala chai to once a day or once in two days to prevent weight gain. Use skimmed milk and stevia to reduce its calories. Also read 6 healthy ways to make green tea.
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