After a trip to the supermarket to run errands or stock up on the week’s groceries, you are usually tired and hungry. A quick glass of bubble tea is something that can satisfy your hunger pangs and give you the satisfaction. But is bubble tea healthy?
There are many misconceptions and theories about the real benefits of bubble tea. Read on to understand more about this delicious drink and its ingredients. It will help you make an informed decision the next time you grab some iced bubble tea to quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger cravings.
Is Bubble Tea Good for You?
To answer this question, let’s first look at what goes into a nice, cool glass of bubble tea.
The origins of bubble tea are found in a place called Taichung in Taiwan where it was first prepared. It also goes by the names of boba tea or pearl tea and is best when consumed chilled.
Bubble tea is usually served in a plastic glass with a straw large enough to allow the drinker to suck up the jelly or tapioca pearls (bubbles) that are in it. Since it is a chilled drink, it’s often used as a dessert. But, some people drink it as a cooler to refresh and rehydrate themselves on a hot, dry day.
Let’s look at the ingredients that go into bubble tea and their health benefits. We will give you a complete break down to understand it better. Also, the health benefits can vary considerably with additional ingredients to bring out more flavor.
1. Tapioca Pearls (the Bubbles in the Bubble Tea)
The tapioca pearls are first soaked in water to soften them. They are cooked fully later in boiling water and kept aside for use.
Tapioca pearls mainly contain carbohydrates. A serving of 28 grams of tapioca seeds contains about 100 calories that include 24.5 grams of carbohydrates. There is a negligible amount of fiber.
Are tapioca pearls healthy? While tapioca is known to provide trace amounts of iron and calcium, there aren’t any significant nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins in these seeds. So, from a nutritional perspective, they do not provide any health benefits compared to other healthy foods.
2. Black Tea
The main ingredient in bubble tea is black tea. Black tea is rich in antioxidants which help fight free radicals. Antioxidants also reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer.
The milk in the bubble tea can come from a variety of sources. Soy milk and nut milk are definitely healthy options.
Cow’s milk is also a good option, but it’s more suitable to those who do not have lactose intolerance.
The main ingredient that will determine if the bubble tea is healthy is the type of sweetener used in it. For example, pure maple syrup and unrefined honey are loaded with antioxidants that make the drink healthier.
Using refined sugar makes the drink unhealthy and should be avoided as much as possible.
Side Effects of Bubble Tea
Here are the side effects of the ingredients used to make bubble tea.
Bubble tea can be prepared in many other ways. Not all of them are as healthy as what we can achieve with refined honey, black tea, and nut, soy, or cow’s milk.
Normally, most bubble tea shops use condensed milk or a non-dairy creamer. Both are low in nutritional value and only offer calories, fat, and sugar.
2. Added Sugars
Extra sugar is added to make the bubble tea tasty. Sugar in excess is not good, as it can cause insulin resistance, obesity, and unnecessary strain to the liver. It also is a contributor to damaging your teeth.
3. Extra Flavoring and Color Agents
Many artificial fruit flavorings are used in place of fresh fruits to achieve a good taste. The artificial flavorings are rich in sugar and contain chemicals that can be harmful to your body.
When bubble tea is made with these ingredients and packed with the tapioca pearls, becomes a very high-calorie drink that should be avoided by people try to maintain or lose weight.
Although this is the only healthy ingredient, it is often prepared in large quantities and stored over long periods to save money. And, the longer it is stored, the more it loses its nutritional value.
Besides the fact that only a small quantity of this tea is used, the resulting concoction is a calorie-rich drink that is considered unhealthy.
How to Make Healthy Homemade Bubble Tea
If you are still reading, you are probably thinking of giving this drink the slip. But the key is in the ingredients used.
So, if you are looking for a quick and healthy drink to cool off after a workout or that trip out in the sun doing your chores, then look no more! Check out this very simple recipe for a classic bubble tea.
Healthy Bubble Tea Recipe
- 2 bags of black tea
- 1 cup of hot water
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- ¼ cup cream, coconut milk, or soy milk
- ¼ cup juice of choice (mango, raspberry, apricot)
- 3-4 tablespoons of tapioca balls, precooked
Make the tea by dipping the tea bags into the hot water. Then add the sweetener and milk.
Fill a glass with ice, and pour over hot tea mixture. Add the juice according to taste.
Add three or four tablespoons of tapioca balls. Then add the whipped cream to make the mixture consistency similar to that of a smoothie.
Use a bubble tea straw to sip it or a spoon to enjoy the bubbles.
Final Word on Bubble Tea Benefits
At first glance, bubble tea may look like an unhealthy drink, and you might ask yourself, “Is bubble tea healthy?” Yes, it can be, and the key is to keep an eye on the ingredients that go into making a chilled glass of bubble tea.
Since there is no fixed ingredients list, the tapioca pearls can easily be replaced by a healthier option. Use basil seeds or soya chunks to make different variations of this refreshing drink.
When the right types of ingredients are used in the right proportions, it can work wonders to refresh you, as well as satiate your hunger pangs after a good workout.
“Is bubble tea healthy?” Healthsomeness; http://www.healthsomeness.com/is-bubble-tea-healthy/, last accessed August 10, 2017.
“Bubble Tea– Health Benefits, & How to Make?” Organic Facts; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/bubble-tea.html, last accessed August 10, 2017.
Harris, K., “How to make healthy homemade bubble tea,” Mothe Nature Network, November 22, 2013; https://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/how-to-make-healthy-homemade-bubble-tea, last accessed August 10, 2017.