The arrival of monsoon in India made me write this down specifically, about the hot tea or “garam chai”. Tea basically comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis. It is widely known as “Chai” which translates to “tea” in Hindi in India and globally known as Chai Tea Latte meaning “tea tea with milk”). Tea came to India from China, but was popularised largely by the British, who also disseminated it across the globe during the colonial era. In India, you would come across numerous tea vendors (chai wallahs) preparing this rich Masala Chai over an open fire in small stands and stalls and serving it in clay tea cups (Kullads). You can find them in every nook and corner. Chai is an inexpensive and soothing traditional beverage and you can make it at home. In India, tea forms a part of daily routine in the households. Wherever Indians go the tea follows! It works best in cold weather to give you warmth, I enjoyed it during my stays in Udaipur and Manali in India.
This hot tea is loved by many either as a morning drink or a meet up drink or to pep up to get to work and a go to drink during monsoon times. Interestingly it can be turned into a immunity booster drink to get your daily immunity shot during the pandemic of COVID-19.
To make it more healthy and delicious, in India we add our spices from our rich heritage – masala/ spices box and we call it Masala Chai which not only is an Indian delicacy but offers numerous health benefits as the spices have immune boosting properties.
Well, you can prepare it yourself! Let’s prepare it together! Have a look at the Masala Chai benefits and get your ingredients ready.
What are the health benefits of Indian masala chai?
The spices used in Masala Chai are functional foods with many health benefits such as:
Ginger is anti-inflammatory relieves aches and pain, improves digestion, reduces nausea and vomiting, prevents ulcers, protects against symptoms of cold and flu, stimulates blood circulation and metabolism and reduces cholesterol.
Cardamom improves appetite, digestion and provide relief from acidity in the stomach. It is also beneficial to the kidneys and urinary tract system.
Cloves have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, improves digestion and metabolism, protects against digestive disorders.
Ginger, clove, and cardamom relax your muscles and nerves, reducing the pain during period cramping in pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
Cinnamon also offers anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties. It has LDL cholesterol and blood sugar lowering effects, hence beneficial in Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Black Pepper is a powerful anti-oxidant, improves digestion and promotes gut health. It helps in respiratory conditions including colds, coughs, and flu.
Star Anise aids digestion, alleviates cramps and reduces nausea. It also helps in preventing constipation, supports good sleep, promotes bone and skin health.
Indian Masala Chai Recipe:
Milk: 100 ml
Black tea/ loose leaf: 1 ½ teaspoon
Jaggery Powder: 1 tsp
Cinnamon: 1/4 stick
Peppercorns: 2 nos.
Ginger: grated ¼ tsp
Star Anise: optional
Boil ½ cup of water
Upon boiling add all the light crushed spices and black tea/leaf and boil it for 2 minutes
Add jaggery and milk, simmer for 2 minutes
Turn off the heat and strain the masala chai in to the teacup.
So, do use the ingredients mentioned above in your regular tea to make it a complete Indian Masala chai. Do share your experience in the comments below.
Enjoy your cup of masala chai, an Indian cultural experience!
The sunny summer brings with it the King of fruits, “The Mango”. This fruit is a favourite of most of us. This juicy, delicious yellow coloured mango fruit is relished upon by people across all ages. Nutritionally speaking, 1 small mango (175 g) gives about 350 calories, also the carbohydrate content of this fruit is majorly sugar with negligible amounts of dietary fibre. This makes most of us wonder what is the best way to enjoy this fruit without gaining weight or becoming fat. Hence, I am writing this blog to throw some more light on its other health benefits and some tips to keep in mind before eating a mango.
Summer season brings mango with it for a reason. Mango’s yellow color is due to the carotenoids, namely – Beta-carotene( a provitamin A), lutein, and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids not only give the mango its attractive yellow / mango colour but also offer various health benefits which are backed by many scientific studies.
Health benefits of eating a mango are:
Carotenoids: Of the total carotenoids, major part is the beta- carotene, about 1808 mgs in 1 small mango (175 g). This B-carotene along with the mango’s vitamin C content (about 56 mgs/ 175 g); this duo forms a best combination for the body’s internal antioxidant system which offers :
Protection against internal oxidative stress due to oxidants such as pollution, smoke, ultraviolet radiations; and reduce the lipid peroxidation and DNA damage.
Protects, eyes, skin and hair in the hot sunny summers from the sun damage due to the harmful ultraviolet radiations, thus having antiaging and anti-inflammatory benefits.
B-carotene (provitamin A) also play a major role in eye health and vision.
Lutein and zeaxanthin: They are also the carotenoids along with Beta-carotene, which play a crucial role in eye health, by protecting the retina and lens, improving visual range, reducing the discomfort from glare, enhance visual contrast, and reduced time to recover from the stress of bright lights. They also protect eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays, and fight or slow the progression of cataract, age related macular degeneration.
The polyphenols in mango (mangiferin, catechins, quercetin, anthocyanins ) also reduce the lipid peroxidation and DNA damage have anti- inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
However its high sugar content, places mango under the high glycemic index (GI) category which means it raises the blood sugar level quickly and if the carbohydrate stores in our body are full, it may get converted to fat and stored in the fat depots of body. Hence, we need to keep certain things in mind to make the most of this mango without fretting about gaining weight. However, if eaten in the right way we can make the most out of this fruit.
Some clever ways to eat a mango are:
Portion size : small to medium mango ideally one per day, more could be allowed based on the nutritional status of an individual.
If you want to have a fresh mango, have it early in the morning, first thing after to wake up, since that time your fasting blood sugar in low This is not recommended for people suffering from diabetes. However, they can check with the dietitian about the mango allowance, which would be advised based on your blood sugar levels and history).
Cutting down on portion size and addition of some fibre, protein and good fats could reduce the glycemic load and prevent the weight
If you wish to have it later during the day then you can include it as a part of a recipe. I have shared some mango recipes on my Instagram posts – mango shake, mango chia pudding. You could also try adding mango slices to yoghurt, green salads, over cooked fish, or mix it into whole grains, like oats, daliya, quinoa, coconut milk based mango ice-cream, home-made mango kulfi.
Eat your mango in a right way and at the right time to make the most out of it!
In my last blog on “Are you drinking enough water to stay hydrated?” I spoke about why our body needs the crucial nutrient – water and why it is important to keep ourselves hydrated. Afterwards, many of you approached me with similar questions. Hence, here I come up with another blog on tips on ways to drink water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. This blog would answer the FAQs from the readers.
In my busy routine of back-to-back diet counselling sessions, I often used to forget about drinking water. By afternoon, I felt dryness in my mouth, sluggishness, low energy and a drop in concentration levels. All these were early signs of dehydration. Many a times you miss out on these signs, and the best way to check if you are well hydrated, is to check your urine colour. Consistently colorless or pale yellow urine suggests optimal hydration, while darker yellow urine suggests dehydration. My problem areas were: my water bottle was not kept ready on time by the help at work, and me not getting time to fill the water bottle amidst the counselling sessions and e-consults. So I planned out a 21 days water goal to overcome this issue, and reminded myself that “wherever I go, my filled water bottle will follow”. Every morning, before stepping out of the house I made sure that I carried my water bottle for 21 days and kept it handy at my work desk and used to refill during the lunch break. By the end of these 21 days, I developed a habit of drinking water more regularly to stay hydrated!
I tried to jot down some tips which could come handy to meet your water goals.
About 2-3 litres (12-15 glasses) of drinking water per day for a healthy individual. (If you have any medical conditions such as kidney failure, acute and chronic kidney disease, liver failure and heart issues there would be some restrictions on water intake allowance, which you can check with your nutritionist / dietitian).
Divide the water intake throughout the day instead of drinking 1 bottle at one shot, as mentioned in my last blog. Begin and end your day with a glass of water, in fact have a glass of water at every hour of the day. This would ensure you are well hydrated throughout the day, with reduced frequency of washroom visits which could be seen when you gulp down large amounts of water at once.
Stay hydrated while you exercise, because physical activity demands higher water requirements. Make sure that you drink water before, during and after your workout.
Don’t get confused between thirst versus hunger. When you feel hungry, first drink water, as thirst could mask the hunger. However, actual hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water.
If you don’t like the taste of plain water; you can add lemon or orange slice to it.
You can carry a reusable water bottle so that it could be re-filled with water once it’s empty and help you keep a count of the litres of water intake.
To drink or store water use copper or glass or steel bottles or utensils, or earthen pots or BPA(bisphenol A) free material. Avoid plastic glasses and bottles, as it contains BPA which is harmful for human health and is linked to cancer and fertility issues.
Drinking water also helps to control portion sizes of beverages and food intake.
Summers and hot climates definitely calls for higher water needs in order to replenish the water losses via sweating for cooling down the body temperature.
Choose filtered water to drink and avoid water from any unknown source, to prevent infections and water-borne diseases due to contaminated water.