By Dr. Despina Handolias
It is well recognised that tea, rich in plant based phytonutrients can help prevent many chronic diseases including cancer. The anti-oxidant polyphenols in tea not only reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage that can lead to cancer, they have been shown to protect endothelial cells (cells that line our arteries).
As we age there is decline in the integrity of the endothelium due to prolonged exposure to environmental factors (smoking, high fat animal based diets etc) at which point (after 40-50 years of age) we can no longer tolerate the risk factor burden, leading to common diseases including stroke, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, blood clots, chronic kidney disease etc.
Studies in tea drinkers showed reduced or no decline in measurements related to endothelial function when compared to non tea drinkers, with black tea performing as well as green tea. One study reported a 21% reduction in stroke compared with non tea drinkers.
And the milk you add to your tea matters! Studies in the lab and in humans show that the positive biological effects of tea are lost by adding dairy milk...and the protein in cows milk (casein) appears to block the bioavailability of the flavonoid photochemicals in both tea and coffee!
In addition to the health promoting constituents of the tea leaves, the blend of spices in @monkschai chai, including ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper and cardamom not only add to the aromatics and taste, they contain photochemical components shown to suppress anti-inflammatory pathways. Chronic Inflammation plays a key role in most chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune disease and Alzheimer’s dementia.
So it may pay to add some chai to your beverage repertoire, not only is it a lovely treat it can also add to your armoury of defences in warding off chronic disease. And be sure to use a plant based milk!
Ref: Lorenz et al Eur Heart J 2007; Duarte et al. J Agric Food Chem 2011; Felberg et al. J Transl Med 2015. Read our article about the health benefits of chai tea
See more: What is sticky chai?