Indian chai tea is not just a modern trend but it is a healthy aromatic drink with a very ancient tradition, dating back more than 5000 years ago. This tea is made with black tea, milk and a mixture of spices, including ginger, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon, which make it a digestive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant drink, able to stimulate the metabolism.
Scientific studies (Azimi et al, Rev Diabet Stud, Feb 2015) have shown that a drink prepared with black tea and 3 grams of spices such as cardamom, ginger and cinnamon is able to reduce total cholesterol, LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Moreover, a cinnamon tea is considered able to keep blood sugar under control thanks to its content in water-soluble polyphenols (Bernardo et al, J Diabetes Res, Jul 2015). Cloves, as well as black pepper, show a powerful antibacterial action able to counteract infections of Escherichia coli, staphylococcus or candida (Cortes-Rojas et al, Asian Pac J Trop Biomed, Feb 2014 - Mandal et al, Oman Med J , Sep 2011 - Karsha et al, Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, 2010). Ginger has an anti-inflammatory, digestive and anti-nausea action (Viljoen et al, Nutr J, Mar 2014). Finally, chai tea can also help keep the body weight off thanks both to the spices ginger, pepper and cinnamon, able to burn more fat, and thanks also to black tea. The polyphenols of this drink in fact have proved to be particularly effective in inhibiting obesity by reducing the absorption of fat and increasing the lipolysis that is the removal of fat accumulations (Pan et al, Molecules, Dec 2016).
To prepare a healthy chai tea you need 1 cm of fresh ginger cut into slices, 1/2 vanilla pod, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 5 black peppercorns, 2 cloves, 5 cardamom pods, 1 piece of star anise. Crush roughly the pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a saucepan pour 500 ml of water, add all the spices and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for about ten minutes, then remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of black tea leaves. Leave to brew for 5 minutes, then filter. In another pot heat 100 ml of soy, almond or other plant based milk and add it to the chai tea, mix and drink. You can sweeten it with a little honey.