Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Masala Chai.

KM asks:  I am used to having (strong) tea that is made by boiling black tea, milk, sugar, and spices all together. I hear that it robs tea of all its benefits. Is that true? I have tried switching to healthier alternatives (like green tea), but nothing wakes me up in the morning better than a cup of Indian Masala Chai. Thanks a lot!

So, what are its benefits?  If waking you up in the morning is a benefit, then it clearly is doing its job.

Obviously Masala Chai has more calories than straight black tea, so over indulgence is not recommended on a straight energy basis but what components (and their effects) in the black tea are removed by adding milk, sugar and spices?

To start with, tea is perfectly good for you.  Adding milk (fat, protein, lactose) is not a minus.  Adding sugar is so-so but fine in moderation.  Adding spices is not going to be a negative.  The antioxidant advocates will say that they are a plus.  It's hard to see a downside.

Without knowing what the implied special benefits of black tea are specifically, it is not possible to know what is open to being robbed from the tea.  I suspect nothing.

In the end, food should not be regarded as a medicine.  Eat and drink in moderation.  Eat and drink for pleasure.  I do not believe that there are any super foods, nor any magic bullets.  Just because some foods contain components that are bad for you in excess (eg nutmeg) it does not mean that the contrary, that some foods are exceptionally good for you, is true.  The universe doesn't work that way.

Start your day happy, with a Masala Chai.