The Most Famous Chai (Tea)

By R.SNEHA

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Mornings are crucial. Everyone needs something which provides instantaneous energy to kickstart the day just like petrol/diesel provides to a vehicle’s engine. Well, this morning drink differs from person to person. They are green tea, black tea, coffee, hot lime water, cumin water, black coffee, almond milk, cinnamon- bark water, fresh juices, etc.. and the most famous varieties of ‘Indian chai.’ 

Every morning seems incomplete without feeling the steam of the hot brewing cup of chai. Drinking it slowly, sip-by-sip, sitting in the balcony, with a newspaper in the hand, gives one a feeling of ‘ahh…a perfect morning.’

The uniqueness in the taste of chai, its varying varieties and flavours, makes the chai, world famous. But is it the best beverage to be consumed in the morning? and if not, then what is the world’s best morning drink? Well, to our surprise, it is something which people consume numerous times in a day, the water. Yes, water is not a beverage but is considered as the world’s best morning drink. 

With great varieties of tea like Rajasthan’s rajvadi chai, Kerala’s sulaimani chai, Marwar’s kesar chai, Assam’s ronga saah, Gujarat’s masaledaar cha, Bengal’s lembu cha, comes great health benefits too. A cup of chai (tea) made with ingredients like ginger, jaggery, clove, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, lime (when milk is absent) in the early mornings can make your day fit with no health issues. This magical cup of chai whether it is rajvadi or ronga saah, is rich with such elements which helps protect common cold, aids in digestion cleaning the kidney thereby preventing blotting, reducing blood cholesterol and improving blood circulation. Chai pati or the tea leaves is rich with anti- oxidants in the form of polyphenols, thereby helping in fighting off free radical damage which otherwise can be a gateway to diseases like high B.P., diabetes, atherosclerosis, parkinson’s disease, cancer, etc.. 

Morning breakfasts are important as they stimulate the neurons and the entire neural system after the long sleeping hours. Tea(chai), too helps in the process. It contains a substance called caffeine which stimulates the brain blocking the adenosine and stimulates a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the body, enhancing the energy level needed to perform the everyday tasks. Also, according to sources, it contains about 25- 29 mgs of caffeine which is comparatively lower than 40mg contained in an usual cup of coffee, which actually can mess up with our adrenaline levels though providing immense energy needed to do work, according to sources. Also, tea contains an amino acid called L- theanine which has a soothing and relaxing effect on the mind. It is also a powerful stress- buster as it can bring down the cortisol levels in stressed patients by 47%. It is said that any caffeine driven source often gives drowsiness but in the case of chai, it is not so. In fact, the caffeine present in the chai can increase the levels of dopamine production and triggers the brain to produce more   –waves(alpha waves) which helps boost creativity, memory, focus lowering depression and anxiety. The polyphenols and anti- oxidants present in tea helps keep oesophageal and lung cancers at bay. It also raises the body’s metabolic rate and enhances the body’s fat burning abilities. Tea is also rich with catechins, which is an another disease fighting anti- oxidant.

Now, a question again pops up in the mind. Is the world’s famous thing also the world’s best one?  For example, chocolates may be world famous, but they are not always good for the health. Also, walking is best and a must to maintain the lower body fitness and yes! It is world famous. So, there is a possibility that even if things are world famous, they may or may not be world’s best things. With the beautiful roses comes thorns too. Similarly, with the advantages of drinking tea, there comes disadvantages too. 

Drinking tea in the morning, an empty stomach can give rise to problems like a hyper- acidity, disturbing the acid and alkaline balance in the stomach, affecting the metabolic activity, giving a weak bladder and dry skin. It can also dehydrate the body due to its diuretic nature. Tea has traces of nicotine, which can give an addicting affect. Addition of milk in the morning tea can make things worse as milk contains lactose which can make tea more acidic and the milk proteins present can bind with the polyphenols present in the tea, the combination of which can decrease the overall anti- oxidant capacity of the chai.

Earlier in the essay, we had claimed about the world’s best morning drink to be water. Let us understand the reason behind this.

According to Doctors and sources, ‘Water’, is considered as World’s best morning drink as it comes with countless health benefits, zero disadvantages/ side- effects and is the ideal fluid for the human body to fight morning dehydration. Drinking  O(water) after 10-15 minutes of waking up helps rehydrate the body. This rehydration is necessary as the body was undergoing dehydration for several hours, during sleep. Consuming 2 glasses of water at room temperature, empty stomach in the early morning can be glasses of heavenly brink. The reason lies in its benefits. It flushes out toxins from the body, improves skin, gut and mental health, balances body fluids, regulates bowel movement, supports immune system, improves metabolism, helps in thermo- regulation, prevents colon infection, headaches and migranes.

 We drink water throughout the day. Will not this water content provide us those benefits, which are being mentioned above? This would be the doubt that we may most commonly have and the answer to it is yes. The water that we intake would provide us these benefits but a difference in the body system would arise when we consume the additional 2 glasses of water in the morning and the difference is that the efficiency of our system would increase. Hence, proving itself to be a heavenly brink providing a green, fit and long life.

World’s best water or the most famous chai? The choice of choosing a morning drink is yours. Scientific reasons help us choose better and wiser. This may not seem to be worth, being called a big choice, but there is often a saying that ‘take care of small things and big things shall fall into place.’ So, the most famous or the world’s best, choose your morning drink and grab it next morning, making it an everyday practice because when mornings are healthy, the entire life automatically begins to become healthy.

By R.SNEHA, Chennai

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