Tea is sometimes claimed to have a diuretic effect, but unless you’re well-versed in medical lingo, you might not have any idea what that means from a health standpoint. The truth is that the diuretic effect of tea really depends on what kind of tea you’re drinking.
Black and green tea are diuretic beverages because they have caffeine in them. Caffeine is the active ingredient in most teas that are considered diuretic. Some herbal teas, such as hibiscus tea and dandelion tea, are also considered diuretics. Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration from consuming diuretics.
The diuretic effect of some teas can have negative effects on your health if you aren’t aware of it. Tea drinkers, read on to learn more about how tea has a diuretic effect on the body and how you can avoid the health risks associated with it, while still reaping the health benefits our favorite beverage.
All Caffeinated Teas Are Diuretics
When it comes to tea, any tea that contains caffeine as one of its major ingredients can be considered a diuretic. The main forms of traditional tea (black, green, white, and oolong tea) are all natural diuretics since they all contain varying levels of caffeine.
As a matter of fact, all caffeinated drinks and caffeinated beverages can result in fluid loss. But if you’re a tea lover, there are many types of tea that contain less caffeine.
Check out this article for a complete rundown on how much caffeine is in your tea if you’re looking to lower your caffeine intake.
What’s a Diuretic?
In medical terms, a diuretic is any substance that increases the body’s production of urine. This process is called diuresis. Diuresis can be caused by several medical conditions, but it can also be caused by ingesting a diuretic chemical such as caffeine.
Some medical conditions, like high blood pressure, are commonly treated with water pills or diuretics.
So what does this have to do with tea? Since a caffeinated tea is a diuretic, you might be worried that tea will dehydrate you over time. However, doctors have shown that the amount of liquid you take in by drinking tea is more than the amount of liquid you’d lose in urine from the diuretic effect of tea.
Does Tea Make You Pee?
Tea can make you pee more than usual since it’s a diuretic, but it can also make you pee just because it’s a liquid. The more liquids you drink, the more your bladder will fill and the more you’ll feel the urge to urinate.
Is Tea Less Diuretic Than Coffee?
Since tea does not have as much caffeine as coffee, it also has a slightly less diuretic effect than coffee. The caffeine content in black tea is about 47 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup compared with about 95 milligrams of caffeine in the same amount of coffee.
However, both of these beverages can still count towards your daily fluid intake since the amount of liquid you’re taking in outweighs the amount of liquid you lose through the drink’s diuretic effects.
Tea Can Cause Bladder Irritation
Along with its mild diuretic effect, a cup of tea can also have the side effects of irritating the bladder in many people. This effect can cause someone to have more frequent urination even if their bladder isn’t completely full yet.
Does Tea Cause You to Retain Water?
Most teas are a diuretic, which means that they cause you to shed water, not retain it. This means that tea is a good option to drink if you want to help reduce water retention and bloating. This also makes a tea a smart option to drink when you have medical conditions that cause water retention, such as the following:
- PMS/Menstrual cramps: Along with helping to reduce associated water retention and water-related bloating, some herbal teas such as peppermint and mugwort can also relieve the pain associated with menstrual cramps. Raspberry leaf tea is a popular tea choice for heavy cramps and bleeding.
- Pregnancy: Herbal teas such as peppermint tea are a good way to help reduce water retention in pregnant mothers. This tea provides relief for water retention and bloating without exposing the unborn baby to caffeine.
- Poor diet: If you’ve been letting yourself go for several weeks on a rich diet such as you might around the holidays, a regimen of tea can help reduce bloating and water retention as a result of the increased sodium in your diet.
Tea won’t cause you to retain excess water, and can help you lose water weight if you’ve got a problem with it.
What Types of Tea Help With Water Retention?
If you’ve got a health condition that is causing you to retain water, a diuretic tea can reduce water retention and usually provide other health-related benefits in the process. Here are just a few tea varieties that can act as a diuretic:
- Green tea: Green tea’s active diuretic ingredient is caffeine. However, the caffeine in green tea is bioavailable over a longer period of the time, making it milder on your stomach than caffeine in other tea types.
- Hibiscus tea: Hibiscus tea is commonly consumed as a natural diuretic. Though several chemical compounds are suspected as the primary cause for hibiscus tea’s diuretic effects, scientists have not yet pinpointed exactly which of these compounds is responsible for the effects of hibiscus on the body.
- Fennel tea: The active diuretic compound in fennel tea is anethole . This botanical chemical is found in fennel seeds and is also associated with benefits like lowering blood pressure and detoxifying the blood.
Even though these teas are commonly known as diuretics, the diuretic effect of these teas is so mild that they are safe to drink for preventing water retention.
Is Tea Bad for Your Bladder?
Tea isn’t necessarily bad for your bladder, but drinking a lot of tea will cause some bladder issues for you. The biggest problem you may run into is that the compounds in tea such as caffeine act as an irritant to the bladder. This may cause you to feel like you need to pee more often even if your bladder isn’t completely full.
Another issue with drinking a lot of tea is that tea is an acidic solution. The acid in tea can be irritating to both the bladder and the urinary tract. In some people, this may eventually lead to urinary tract infections.
The best way to prevent tea from having a negative effect on your bladder is to choose teas that don’t contain caffeine and avoid drinking too much of them. Try to alternate your cups of tea with glasses of water to increase hydration and prevent bladder irritation.
Make sure your daily fluid intake consists of a mix of different drinks (sports drinks, energy drinks, water intake, cups of coffee, and tea) and that you’re taking in enough fluid to ward off the effects of dehydration.
Is Tea Bad for Your Kidneys?
Tea isn’t normally bad for your kidneys. However, this doesn’t apply to people who get kidney stones. People who are susceptible to kidney stones should avoid tea because it contains chemical compounds known as oxalates.
These compounds can be one of the irritants that leads to kidney stones forming, so all ingestion of oxalate-heavy foods and beverages should be avoided.
The good news is that people who have kidney stones aren’t barred from drinking all types of tea. Green tea is safe for people who frequently develop kidney stones since it contains a compound that prevents kidney stones from forming.
Parsley tea, a popular herbal tisane, has been shown to be an effective natural diuretic that can be helpful to increase urine production and prevent kidney stone formation.
Is Tea a Laxative?
Along with causing the body to shed water in the form of urine, the caffeine in tea also acts as a mild laxative. This means it encourages your body to have a bowel movement as well as produce more urine. Tea makes you feel the urge to move your bowels for a couple of reasons (Source: Times of India):
- Impacts bowel placement: When you drink a cup or two of tea, this moves the contents of your digestive tract from one point to another. In many cases, this alone can help stimulate a bowel movement.
- Causes muscle contractions: Caffeine causes contractions in the muscles of the small intestine, which in turn can help move things along and stimulate a bowel movement.
- Increases stomach acids: Introducing a caffeinated drink like tea to the stomach increases the production of certain stomach acids and other hormones that can kick the digestive system into gear, especially after a period of fasting or sleeping.
Thanks to the caffeine in it, tea is a great beverage for helping you flush your body’s excretory system. Because tea can make you poop, you might spend a little time in the bathroom after drinking your morning cup, but you’ll leave feeling a lot lighter.
Tea Has Diuretic Properties
Tea made from the plant Camellia sinensis has definite diuretic properties and can affect your hydration levels because of the caffeine it contains, just like coffee.
However, there are several other popular herbal teas that can also have diuretic properties if you drink them. No matter which diuretic tea you choose, all of them can help relieve water retention and bloating.
It’s great to know that tea lovers can drink teas with a small amount of caffeine or zero caffeine, and not affect their hydration status.