Is milk-based tea good or bad for health? What about the green teas, especially the branded ones, which are coming into the market? What must one look for in green tea before using it? A cup of chai is extremely invigorating. According to the average Indian, it is the antidote to everything! Be it a headache, mild fever, a break from work or a meeting with friends; a hot cuppa chai is the first thing that crosses one’s mind. Yet, the beneficial effects of tea are overlooked to the point of being absolutely ignored. Legend has it that, in the Ramayana, the ‘sanjeevani’ plant that Lord Hanuman brought for the sake of Lakshmana was actually a tea plant. Given its health benefits, it was strong enough to revive the unconscious Lakshmana.Milk in itself could cause phlegm, leading to congestion. Hence, it is good to add tea to your milk. The antioxidants in tea help a lot. If it is masala tea, then it could be even more helpful to your health. Add ginger, mint and even cardamom to it. Mint and cardamom are known
to cool the body. Ginger has phlegm-fighting properties as well. Together, they contain antioxidants that boost immunity and battle phlegm-causing properties of milk. Basically, tea, with or without milk, is extremely healthy. Do remember that the main unhealthy element in your tea is the sugar. Don’t worry, there are alternatives! Replace the white refined sugar with jaggery, honey or stevia, a natural sweetener. This way, your tea will be a cup of health! Among the multifarious teas available, Green tea is the latestlosing mantra for weight. Tea is an infusion made by steeping processed leaves, buds or twigs of the tea bush, camelia sinensis, in hot water for several minutes. The four basic true types are: black tea, oolong tea, green tea and white tea. The term ‘herbal tea’ usually refers to tisane of fruit or herbs that contain camelia sinensis. In India, we normally use black tea leaves. But with the increasing popularity of various kinds of teas, many people have started switching to green tea or white tea. White tea, least processed, is made out of the buds of the leaves. This means that most of its health properties are preserved.
Likewise, various processes during the preparation of green tea maintain the health benefits, such as antioxidants. Of course, the best kind of tea is organic – no matter what type it is. People often confuse herbal infusions with teas. Herbal infusions are also healthy and full of antioxidants, but they do not contain any tea leaves. For instance, peppermint infusion contains peppermint leaves with other spices, but zero tea leaves. Therefore, herbal infusions are caffeine-free. On the other hand, teas can be infused with various flavours. For instance, peppermint tea is tea infused with peppermint leaves. Green tea is most commonly infused with various flavours such as chamomile, ginseng, honey, berries, fruits and the list is endless. There are further twists to teas now; there are also different flavours, such as mint tea, lemon tea, tulsi tea and even those with various fruit flavours. Be it peach, orange, strawberry, black currant or apple – teas are available in a host of varieties! Fruit flavoured teas are a rich source of antioxidants. They are low in caffeine and usually contain no sugar. Fruit flavoured teas are best when they are fused with spices such as clove, cinnamon or ginger. Given the health and wellness benefits of tea, here are different ways to enjoy your cuppa. You get tea bags of every possible flavour. These are also easy to carry on the go. Simply dip them in hot water and your piping hot infused teas are ready. Hot chai is already everyone’s favourite as well. Another fun way to have tea is to have it chilled or iced. Sweeten these with stevia to make it all the more tasty and healthy. (The writer is a Mumbai based nutritionist, obesity and health consultant), Image Flickr: Link1, Link2, Link3, Link4, Image Link Photobucket Source: The Hans India