What are chai tea benefits? Side effects? Is chai tea vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here is all the info on chai tea that every ethical consumer wants to know…
Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on chai tea benefits and side effects.
After learning if chai tea is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about chai tea benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Chai Tea Benefits and Side Effects
Chai tea benefits may include:
- heart health
- boosted energy and alterness
- better digestion
- boosted immunity
- reduced muscle pain
- soothing for nausea
- brain health
- soothes sore throats
Chai tea side effects may include:
- (if milk added) increased risk of gastro-intestinal distress, hormone imbalance, infertility, antibiotic resistance, high cholesterol, inflammation, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, acne, skin aging, weight gain
Additionally, chai tea is…
- Acidic pH level once digested (milk and black tea)
- Gluten Free
- Common Food Allergen: MILK is often added
- Low Fodmap if weak, High Fodmap if strong
Water footprint: low-high, it takes 8,856 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of black tea / 1,061 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of black tea, 1,020 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of milk / 122 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of milk
Carbon footprint: low, 1.9 CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of 2% milk, a car driving equivalent of 4.5 miles or 7.25 kilometers, 1.9 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of tea, a car driving equivalent of 4.5 miles or 7.25 kilometers
Destruction: high, milk production is relatively destructive, land usage for pasture, grain and forage, solid waste (excrement/manure) runoff into soil and freshwater, deforestation for feed crops, animal agriculture leading cause of: species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction
- Unsustainable when cow’s milk is used, otherwise moderately sustainable
Harmed: cows, calves mother cow and calf distressed due to separation within 24 hours after birth, male calves slaughtered for veal, female calves fed artificially, locked in tiny cages, cows genetically modified to grow so obese that many become lame (unable to walk) shocked with electric prods, shackled with chains and dragged, beaten, prods poked up rectums, live last few months in crowded feedlots with hundreds or thousands of others, without pasture, often without shelter, must stand in mud, ice and their own waste, dairy cows eventually slaughtered for beef once milk production has ended
Animals indirectly killed or harmed: Killed: male calves, in most cases the dairy industry sells “unwanted” male calves to be slaughtered for veal, as pregnancy must occur for female cows to lactate and produce milk, wildlife and ecosystems, habitat contamination (water and soil pollution), wildlife habitat destruction (deforestation/land clearing), wolves and coyotes killed to prevent predation on livestock
- Not Vegan when cow’s milk is used
Health and safety: hazardous, limited access to clean water, lack of sanitation, which create health risks, may lead to disease, many workers and their children are malnourished, low immunity to diseases, dangerous exposure to pesticides leads to loss of appetite, numbness in hands, breathing difficulties, reports of starvation deaths
Living conditions: poor, in India, Kenya, Rwanda, Bangladesh, most workers live on tea plantations in decrepit homes, no working toilets, minimal electricity, child trafficking occurs as a result of low wages, children then become slaves, child labor to help meet worker quotas, oppressive conditions intensified by caste system
Wages: low, men work non-leaf-plucking tasks and earn a nearly double hourly wage compared to women, tea pluckers must look for additional work elsewhere to supplement their incomes
Additionally, chai is…
- A product with labor issues
Chai tea ingredients typically include masala chai, black tea, spices and milk.
Is chai alkaline or acidic?
Chai tea is acidic. Fresh spices are alkaline but milk and black tea are both acidic.
When you eat food, it is broken down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
Is chai gluten free?
Yes, chai tea is gluten free. Chai tea does not contain gluten.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include: recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, tingling, numbness in hands and feet, chronic fatigue, joint pain, unexplained infertility and low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis).
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
Is chai a common food allergen?
Yes, chai often contains a common food allergen: milk. Many people experience allergic reactions to chai drinks.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-8 and includes milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.
These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
Is chai tea low fodmap?
Chai tea is low fodmap if weak and high fodmap if strong.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High FODMAP and Low FODMAP List of Foods
Water footprint of chai tea?
Chai tea has a low-high water footprint.
What is the water footprint of chai? It takes 8,856 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of black tea / 1,061 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of black tea, 1,020 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of milk / 122 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of milk.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?
We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Chai tea carbon footprint?
Chai has a moderate carbon footprint.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Is chai tea sustainable?
Chai production is unsustainable if cow’s milk is used, moderately sustainable if plant-based milk or no milk is used. Be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.
Is chai tea vegan?
Typically, chai tea is not vegan. Chai is a drink made from dairy, the byproduct of a cow, therefore making it an animal-derived food. A mother cow’s milk is often used in order to produce chai but if milk is plant based chai is vegan.
Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List
Does chai tea have human rights issues?
Yes, chai tea contains black tea which is known to have associations with worker mistreatment. Be sure to buy fair trade.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
This post was all about chai tea benefits and side effects.
organic chai tea latte, spiced – FoodData
Tea and Health: Studies in Humans – NCBI