The Benefits of Thandai
In the summertime, it’s easy to feel like you’re going to melt into a puddle. But what if you could cool off—from the inside out? If you’re looking for a luxurious, celebratory, and healthy drink, look no further than the Indian thandai.
A drink as ancient as the land itself, Thandai is more than a beverage—it’s a reminder of our roots. Its ingredients are steeped in history; it was documented in Vangasena Samhita in the 4th century AD. The word “thandai” means “something which cures heat of the body” in Hindi.
Legend has it that this delicious drink was invented by the Hindu god Shiva. He drank it during the great battle described in the Mahabharata in India between September 28 and November 8 of 3139 B.C. According to the legend, Shiva’s wife Parvati mixed almonds, fennel seeds, watermelon seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, poppy seeds, peppercorns, rose petals, and milk and shared it with him.
The original recipe for thandai was quite different from the modern version. In the early 20th century, a confectioner in Lucknow added sugar to the recipe, and from there, it became a sweet rather than a healthy drink. After this change, it quickly became famous all over India and neighbouring countries—especially during festivals and other celebrations. However, this modified recipe also caused thandai to lose many of its health benefits, contributing to its popularity in earlier years.
Today there are many different recipes for thandai—some are made without sugar or milk (making them vegan-friendly), while others use only whole milk or cream.
Thandai Benefits for Boosting Immune System
Thandai contains several powerful ingredients that can help strengthen your body’s defences against illness and disease.
- Cardamom is an antimicrobial spice that can help fight bacteria and fungi that could make you sick.
- Saffron has similar antimicrobial properties, plus saffron contains powerful antioxidants like beta carotene, which help protect your cells from damage by free radicals.
- The almonds in thandai are packed with vitamin E, which may also help protect your cells from oxidative damage.
- Thandai is also great for boosting your immune system because it contains vitamin C, which helps to prevent diseases like a cold or influenza.
Thandai Benefits for Improving Digestion
This drink has a lot of healthy ingredients like almonds and fennel seeds, which help improve digestion.
- Almonds contain fibre, fatty acids, vitamin E and magnesium, which help to improve constipation and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Fennel seeds help to reduce pain and bloating caused by gas. Together, these ingredients make this drink potent for treating many digestive system problems.
- It can help relieve constipation because it contains soluble fibre and natural laxatives.
- Further, the drink contains cardamom, which has been found to increase stomach acid production and may help alleviate constipation by increasing peristalsis (the wave-like movements that move food through your digestive tract).
Thandai Benefits for Healthy Heart
Thandai is known to reduce the risk of heart diseases and maintain blood pressure.
- Cardamom lowers the LDL or bad cholesterol level and increases HDL or good cholesterol level. This helps reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition characterised by fat deposits within arteries leading to heart attack or stroke. It also strengthens the heart muscles, thus improving its functions.
- Thandai contains almonds that help maintain blood pressure as it has potassium content, which helps lower blood pressure. Also, peppercorns present in it have piperine compounds that prevent hypertension (high blood pressure) and increase the production of nitric acid, which further relaxes the blood vessels and improves circulation.
Thandai Benefits for Reproductive System
- One benefit of thandai for your reproductive system is that it can increase libido and improve fertility in men.
- Thandai contains high zinc levels, which are necessary for the production of testosterone and sperm.
- The fennel seeds in thandai are also thought to increase sperm count.
- The second benefit of thandai for your reproductive system is that it can help women with menstrual cramps. Thandai contains magnesium, which has been shown to reduce cramping during menstruation.
- It may also be helpful as an alternative treatment for endometriosis—a condition where cells from inside the uterus grow outside it—because it helps regulate hormones and decrease inflammation.
- In addition to helping with menstrual pain relief, drinking thandai regularly may also improve fertility rates by increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus.
Thandai Benefits for Good Mood
The rich blend of ingredients like almonds, cashews, and pistachios work as great stress-busters.
- The warm milk in thandai provides you with calcium and soothes your nervous system.
- Feel happier: When you’re feeling stressed out or anxious, Thandai will help you feel calm again to focus on what’s important. It helps to alleviate anxiety by reducing cortisol levels in the brain. Cortisol is the stress hormone that can block your ability to think clearly.
- Feel calmer: The nuts and seeds used in Thandai are rich in magnesium, which helps to lower blood pressure and improve circulation to your brain. Your brain needs good circulation to keep its neurons firing strong and clear.
- Feel more balanced: Thandai also contains iron and folic acid. These micronutrients keep your mood level—without them, you may experience mood swings or irritability when hungry or tired.
Thandai Benefits for Energising
- Some of the energy-boosting properties of Thandai come from its ingredients—nuts and seeds are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These foods help to keep you full for longer, which means you’re less likely to crave carbs for a quick burst of energy.
- The spices in Thandai also have some beneficial effects on your energy levels. The black pepper helps make all the ingredients more bioavailable, so your body can absorb them more easily.
- At the same time, nutmeg is effective against fatigue and depression by boosting serotonin levels in the brain.
Thandai Benefits for Respiratory System
Thandai has many positive effects on the respiratory system and can help to treat problems such as asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis.
- People who suffer from respiratory allergies are more likely to experience asthma attacks if they have a high concentration of histamine in their bodies. Histamine is released through an allergic reaction and causes inflammation in the airways that lead to the lungs, making breathing difficult. Nutmeg found in this drink can help to reduce histamine levels in the body and ease breathing difficulties.
- With its warming qualities, thandai helps open up your airways and clear out any blockages. It also reduces mucus in the nose and throat, making it easier to breathe.
Thandai has a lot going for it. It’s tasty and healthy for you. You can have something in a social setting or something that can be enjoyed by yourself on a quiet night at home. It tastes great, and it’s refreshing. The best part is that no matter who you are or your lifestyle, you can enjoy thandai without anyone giving you any kind of side-eye—it’s just that good! Whether your choice is thandai hot or cold (or spiked!) won’t matter much—either way, you’re sure to experience a drink that you’ll never forget.