In many parts of the world, “chai” is simply the word for tea. However, in the Western world, the word chai has become synonymous with a type of fragrant, spicy Indian tea more accurately referred to as masala chai. What’s more, this beverage may have benefits for heart health, digestion, controlling blood sugar levels and more.
Animal studies have shown that cinnamon, one of the main ingredients in chai, may lower blood pressure. In some individuals, cinnamon has been shown to help reduce the levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides by up to 30%. Studies also show that cinnamon may reduce insulin resistance and fasting blood sugar levels by 10–29%. Lower insulin resistance makes it easier for your body to use insulin to escort sugar out of your blood and into your cells. This can help lower blood sugar levels.
Ginger seems especially effective at reducing nausea. A review of studies conducted on a total of 1,278 pregnant women found that a daily dose of 1.1–1.5 grams of ginger significantly reduced nausea. This is about the amount of ginger you’d expect to have in one cup of chai.
The cinnamon, cloves and cardamom found in chai, all have antibacterial properties that appear to help prevent digestive issues caused by bacterial infections.
Research also shows that compounds found in the type of black tea used to make chai may promote fat breakdown and help reduce the number of calories your body absorbs from foods.
How to make Chai Tea Concentrate
Here is what you’ll need to make 16 ounces (474 ml) of the concentrate:
· 20 whole black peppercorns
· 5 whole cloves
· 5 green cardamom pods
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 1 star anise
· 2.5 cups (593 ml) water
· 2.5 tablespoons (38 ml) loose-leaf black tea
· 4 inches (10 cm) of fresh ginger, sliced
- Roast peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise on low heat for around 2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Using a coffee or spice grinder, grind cooled spices into a coarse powder.
- Using a large saucepan, combine the water, ginger and ground spices and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Avoid letting your mixture reach a boil, which will cause the spices to become bitter.
- Stir in the loose-leaf black tea, turn the heat off and allow to steep for around 10 minutes, then strain.
- If you prefer your tea sweet, reheat the strained mixture together with a honey and simmer for 5–10 minutes, then cool and refrigerate.
- Strain the chai tea concentrate into a sterilized bottle and let cool prior to refrigeration. The concentrate keeps in the fridge for up to one week.
Have you experienced the benefits of chai?