Needing to quench your thirst is a feeling we all know, but is tea hydrating or dehydrating? Should we all be reaching for our water bottle instead of the kettle? Let's find out.
Most of us love a cup of tea, be it first thing in the morning, or a soothing night-time infusion. Yet doesn’t tea contain caffeine? And doesn’t caffeine dehydrate the body?
Tea is one of our most popular drinks, with an estimate of nearly 4 billion gallons a year being drunk in the US. In fact, tea is the world’s second most popular beverage, next to water. With so much tea being consumed, we ask — is tea hydrating?
Is Tea Hydrating? The Basics Explained
There are a vast array of tea varieties, from black tea, green tea, iced tea, to a motley crew of herbal tea infusions. Some contain caffeine, in varying small quantities, and others don’t. Teas that do contain caffeine, only have minimal levels, so overall, caffeinated tea should not dehydrate you, unless you are drinking copious amounts of the stuff. Any kind of tea will give your body more water than it loses, but this is not to say it is a replacement for drinking pure water itself, as we shall see a little later on.
Caffeine is a compound with diuretic properties. This means that drinking caffeine may make us urinate more often, which may lead to dehydration. So, this may be why many people may think that drinking caffeinated tea is bad for our hydration. Such teas include black tea, green tea, white tea, and oolong varieties.
Due to the small amount of caffeine in these teas, only large drinking very large amounts of the teas may negatively affect hydration. Studies actually suggest you would need to consume more than three cups a day, on a regular basis, before having any concerns about the dehydrating effects of caffeinated tea.
If you find you are consuming more than six cups, and feel your water levels are affected, then you can easily add some non-caffeinated teas into your daily routine, along with normal water consumption. Caffeine can also make you feel dizzy, so if you are drinking between six and 13 cups a day, it is worth asking your doctor about such side effects.
Also interesting: Can Drinking More Water Avoid Dry Hands in Winter?
Green Tea Is Healthy Though, Right?
Green tea (like black tea) is thought to have many health benefits because it is packed with antioxidants which may help aid brain function, digestion and lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Yet both, unknown to some, also contain caffeine.
Is Tea Hydrating? Herbal Teas Certainly Are
Herbal teas, on the other hand, do not usually contain caffeine compounds, so you can add in alternative tea sources, such as chamomile, licorice, peppermint, or rosehip teas, for example, which are made from leaves, flowers, seeds, stems, roots, and fruits of various plants. Technically, these are called infusions, but many people call these beverages herbal teas.
We have seen that a few cups of caffeinated tea are unlikely to dehydrate the body, but if you are a bit of a tea addict, it is worth considering some other options. Herbal teas offer much more than hydration. Peppermint tea is thought to be good for soothing the stomach, chamomile may help us sleep, and ginger tea may provide relief from indigestion.
Here are some other herbal tea infusion ideas you might like to try:
- Sage Tea Benefits – and How to Make Sage Tea
- Calming Tea: Varieties to Help with Stress and Anxiety
- Ginger and Garlic Tea: Benefits & Recipe
- Indonesian Jamu Recipe (Turmeric Ginger Herbal Drink)
- How to Make Chai Tea Latte: 3 Easy Recipes
Can Tea Replace Water?
Is tea hydrating? Yes, it can be, if you limit the amount of caffeinated teas you drink daily.
Is tea more hydrating than water? In short: no.
Numerous sources still suggest we should still aim to consume between six and eight glasses of water a day (equating to around two liters), but this depends on your activity levels and bodily needs. Water is the purest drink available to us, and we should make use of it.
Yet now you know that doesn’t mean you have to forego your love of tea, and with so much to choose from, it’s safe to say we are all spoiled for choice.
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