Caffeinated drinks have had a bad reputation for years for having a diuretic or dehydrating effect on the people who drink them. However, new studies prove that this reputation is more folk myth than actual science.
Tea is not dehydrating because the diuretic effects of caffeine are not enough to counteract the hydrating effects of the water in the tea. Herbal teas are the most hydrating types of tea since most of them are non-caffeinated. All tea types can contribute to your daily hydration.
You might have shied away from drinking tea in the past if you’re trying to stay hydrated, but there’s no reason to. Keep reading to learn more about the hydrating qualities of tea and why it’s safe to incorporate into your daily diet.
Does Tea Hydrate or Dehydrate You?
Even though caffeinated drinks like tea have a reputation for being dehydrating, this is largely a myth. Any water-based drink contains more hydration than the amount of caffeine it would need to contain to have a dehydrating effect. While caffeinated drinks can make you have to pass urine more than you would have if you hadn’t drank them, they’re still hydrating.
Does Tea Count Towards Your Daily Hydration?
Since tea is just flavored water, drinking cups of tea counts the same as drinking cups of plain water when it comes to your hydration. This fact is great news for people who need to drink more water, but don’t necessarily like the taste of water on its own. This aversion to plain water can keep people from taking enough fluids as they need to be healthy.
Is Green Tea More Hydrating Than Black Tea?
Green tea and black tea contain the diuretic caffeine, which is the active ingredient responsible for having a dehydrating effect in large doses. However, green tea contains less caffeine than black tea.
Neither of these tea types are caffeinated to the extent that they would affect your hydration negatively. Both green and black tea are good for hydrating throughout the day.
Is Decaffeinated Tea More Hydrating Than Caffeinated Tea?
If you’re worried about the dehydrating effects of tea, one option for removing tea’s diuretic effects is to drink decaffeinated tea. While decaffeinated tea doesn’t contain the same chemical properties that promote mental alertness and focus as caffeinated tea, it is a slightly more hydrating beverage.
Does Herbal Tea Dehydrate You?
Another option for a hydrating tea is to go with herbal teas rather than black or green tea. Because most herbal teas are completely non-caffeinated, drinking a cup of these herbal teas is just as hydrating as drinking a cup of plain water.
Here are just a few of the herbal tea varieties you can choose from that are completely non-caffeinated:
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is a tea made from chamomile flowers that promotes relaxation and gastric health. Chamomile tea is often consumed for indigestion and restlessness.
- Peppermint tea: Peppermint tea and other mint tea varieties are popular for their minty menthol flavor. These teas promote alertness and are a popular study aid for helping to keep doozy students awake during long study sessions. Mint teas, like tuareg tea, are also popularly consumed across northern Africa.
- Rooibos tea: Rooibos tea, also known as red bush tea, is a nutty-flavored tea from South Africa full of healthy antioxidants. This tea is a popular replacement for coffee since it has a deep flavor without the additional caffeine.
- Hibiscus tea: Hibiscus tea is made from the flower of the hibiscus shrub. This reddish tea is a healthy drink that can help lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss.
Herbal teas aren’t just more hydrating than caffeinated black and green teas, they’ve also all got their own specific medicinal properties that can be used to promote good health.
Why Hydration Is Important for Your Body
Many tea types can be used as a way to maintain your daily hydration, but why is it so important? The truth is that most people go around dehydrated a lot of the time due to lack of water intake, leading to many negative symptoms. Some of these include the following:
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Dry mouth and skin
- Rapid heartbeat and respiration
All of the organs in your body operate at less than their best when your body doesn’t have the hydration it needs to transport nutrients and other chemicals throughout your circulatory system. Extreme dehydration can even lead to organ damage and even death.
Most adults need to drink between 12 and 16 cups of water a day, depending on their weight and gender. However, few people want to drink sixteen cups of tea a day no matter how tasty it is, so you’ll probably want to supplement your daily tea intake with other beverages to stay fully hydrated.
Is Tea More Hydrating Than Plain Water?
Black and green tea are slightly less hydrating than plain water since plain water is uncaffeinated and has no diuretic effect. However, the diuretic effect of tea is so mild that tea is almost as hydrating as plain water. This makes tea a good substitute for water if you’re trying to stay hydrated.
How Much Tea Should You Drink for Hydration?
It’s recommended for most people to drink between three and four cups of tea a day, especially if they’re drinking caffeinated tea like black or green tea.
Other than the caffeine content, another reason that it isn’t recommended to drink more than 3-4 cups a tea a day is because of the high amount of oxalates, tannins, and other compounds present in black tea leaves. These chemicals can cause headaches and even long-term kidney damage if ingested in large amounts over time.
If you want to drink more than 3-4 cups of tea a day, it’s a good idea to stick to non-caffeinated herbal teas such as mint or chamomile tea. These teas are as good for you as drinking a plain cup of water, so they’ll increase your hydration without risk no matter how many cups you drink.
Tea Can Be Used for Hydration
If you need to stay hydrated but you don’t like drinking plain water, tea is a great substitute. Despite the rumors surrounding the dehydrating effects of caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee, these water-based drinks are perfectly acceptable as a form of hydration in your daily diet.