Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Next time you are savoring a creamy cup of Indian chai tea, here’s something to ponder: The characteristic spicy flavor is also what makes chai outrageously healthy. Cinnamon, ginger, clove, anise and black tea are superfoods in their own right and should be enjoyed often. What better way than in a delicious, warming brew?
The trick is to make your own — commercial varieties are loaded with sugar, pasteurized dairy and other unsavory ingredients which negate any health enhancing features.
The spice of life
Chai is unique in its complexity of flavor and nutritional bounty. Cinnamon, ginger, clove and anise are the main spicy stars of the tea, although variations can be found it different regions throughout India. Each spice carries its own distinctive health enriching qualities.
At one time, cinnamon was more valuable than gold and for good reason. Its signature sweet taste and aroma creates a high market demand. But it is much more than just a delightful spice, it also provides exceptional health-protecting rewards like: lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar levels and increasing insulin production, reducing the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells, soothing arthritis pain when combined with honey, migraine and headache relief, improving memory and brain function.
Revered in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, ginger has powerful medicinal properties. Consuming ginger helps to: tame inflammation, fortify the immune system and improve digestion, prevent cancer by encouraging apoptosis and inhibiting cancer cell proliferation, ease asthma and support cardiovascular health.
Also treasured in China and India, clove has been used for thousands of years to soothe illness and encourage health. Rich in nutrients and bioactive elements, clove: improves digestion, enhances immunity and controls blood glucose levels, relieves muscle pain and spasms, protects against degenerative disease.
A member of the carrot family, anise is native to Egypt and western Asia. Its sweet, licorice-like fragrance is unmistakable. Anise is said to: strengthen the liver and improve digestion, increase lactation, reduce oral bacteria and promote dental health, quiet respiratory complaints such as asthma, bronchitis, influenza and pneumonia.
And don’t forget about all the exceptional qualities of black tea. Loaded with polyphenols, black tea helps prevent cancer of the stomach, prostate and breast. Not only is black tea a preventative against this dreaded disease, but it also encourages cancer cell death through apoptosis. Bones, teeth and connective tissues also benefit from this beverage. The immune system receives a boost as well.
Guilt-free, health inspiring chai
Most pre-made chai is fraught with refined sugar and vitality sapping pasteurized dairy. To take advantage of all the supreme health perks of chai, make your own at home. Here’s a painless recipe to get you started:
3 cups purified water
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons grated, fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon each whole clove and anise seeds
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
Sweeten to taste with stevia, honey or agave
Simmer spices in water for 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and sweetener. Strain before serving.
Chai is the perfect beverage to warm-up those cold winter days and fortify the body. It’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy. So brew up a batch and see what all the buzz is about.
“11 Health Benefits of Cinnamon” Andrea Manitsas, Organic Authority. www.organicauthority.com
“Seven ways that taking ginger can spice up your health” Jonathan Benson, Natural News, September 8, 2012. www.naturalnews.com/037119_ginger_spice_immunity
“Ginger” George Mateijan Foundation. www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice
“Cloves” George Mateijan Foundation. www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=69
“Anise – Health Benefits and Uses” Marcia Claesson, Suite 101, January 27, 2010.
Anise seed nutrition facts. Nutrition and You. www.nutrition-and-you.com/anise-seed
“What are the Health Benefits of Anise Seeds?” Ygoy Health Community. http://herbs.ygoy.com
“9 Health Benefits of Black Tea” Health Diaries, July 14, 2011. http://www.healthdiaries.com
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Please note this article was first published on Natural News.