How A Cup of Chai Can Help You During This Cold Season
By Nazima Qureshi, Registered Dietitian, writer
The cooler weather undeniably means that cold season is starting. While it is impossible to completely avoid getting a cold, there are a few ways to strengthen your immune system. Strengthening your immune system can help you decrease the likelihood of getting sick or if you have already caught a cold, help you recover sooner.
When I am down with a cold, I like to cozy up to a cup of chai. Especially when you have a cold, a hot cup of chai is the perfect companion.
A cup of chai can be beneficial during your cold because:
- Tea has polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body’s cells from damage. Depending on the type of tea you drink, the type of polyphenols present will vary.
- A cup of tea can help you drink enough fluids. Drinking enough fluids is important to keep up your hydration levels, especially when you are down with a cold. A cup of tea counts towards your fluid intake but don’t forget to drink adequate water throughout the day as well.
- Drinking hot fluids can help ease a sore throat and congestion. Hot drinks like soup and chai can help ease cold symptoms.
While a regular cup of chai may be enough for a regular day, a few simple additions may help you tackle that pesky cold.
When you think of things that help you with your cold, vitamin C is probably one of the most common nutrients you may think of. Vitamin C may benefits to improving your immune system and it is very easy to ensure you are getting enough throughout the day. Rather than spending money on Vitamin C supplements, include foods that are high in Vitamin C in to your diet. In fact, your body cannot store any extra Vitamin C you consume, so mega Vitamin C supplements may be a little too much for your body. Lemon is a source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant.
To add lemon to your tea: Squeeze the juice of ½ to 1 lemon into a cup of black tea. Add the lemon peels to the tea. Use black to when adding lemon to prevent the milk from curdling.
Ginger is found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with your cold. The strong taste of ginger is also very soothing when you are congested and you are experiencing a lack of taste.
To add ginger to your tea: add about 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger to your boiling water. For a stronger ginger flavour, brew the tea for a longer period of time. Before serving, use a strainer to remove ginger pieces.
Honey is one of those things you take when you are sick because you have been told from your elders. While there is more research to be done in this area, a few studies have shown that honey can act as a cough suppressant for children (1, 2, 3).
These research studies show potential for honey to act as a remedy for that nagging cough. However, infants under the age of 1 should not be given any form of honey.
To add honey to your tea: Swap your sweetener with honey.
If you grew up in a South Asian household, chances are you were given a glass of warm turmeric milk to help you get better when you were sick. Turmeric has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to help you boost your immune system. While it is traditional to have turmeric with milk only, try adding it to your regular cup of chai for added benefit.
To add turmeric to your tea: Grate in fresh turmeric or add in ½ tsp of ground turmeric when you are brewing your tea.
- Pumpkin Seeds
Okay so you can’t exactly add pumpkin seeds to your chai but you can definitely have it with your chai! Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, a nutrient that can help you with your cold. Pass up your biscuits with your afternoon chai and pair them with pumpkin seeds instead.
Tip: try a masala chai from Tea India for a great flavourful pairing!
A balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest will play major roles in improving your health and strengthening your immune system. A cup of chai as a part of a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent and shorten your cold!
For more great tea flavours visit: Tea India
More about the author:
Nazima Qureshi is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer, and Public Health Professional. She uses a non-diet approach (which always includes dessert!) to help others achieve a healthier lifestyle.
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