A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition for the first time dispels the notion that tea dehydrates drinkers. Drinking 4 to 6 mugs of black tea is the equivalent of 1.5 liters of water in providing hydration despite the presence of caffeine, according to researchers.
Caffeine is believed to have a mild and short-term diuretic effect at higher doses. The study of 21 volunteers demonstrated that drinking four mugs of tea over one day is equally hydrating as drinking the same level of water.
The research was funded by the Tea Advisory Panel and compared results of drinking four 240ml mugs of tea with 20ml of semi-skimmed milk in 12 hours with the same amount of warm, boiled water. It is the first time scientists have proved that caffeine in tea does not increase the need to urinate, despite commonly held beliefs that it can deprive the body of necessary fluid.
In addition to its hydration benefits “tea is a rich source of flavonoids, which have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease,” according to the author of the clinical study, Dr. Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian and nutrition adviser to the Tea Advisory Panel.
“A growing number of scientific studies have demonstrated just how useful tea can be in keeping the body in good condition thanks to its high polyphenol content which gives tea its characteristic color.,” says Dr. Ruxton. “Tea polyphenols not only have antioxidant effects but help maintain normal vascular function. This is why many studies have linked regular tea consumption with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.”
“There has been some debate over whether tea retains its healthy properties if drunk with milk, but again studies have shown that the positive effects of tea are just the same whether or not milk is used.”.
The research was done by Fife and Reading and is available on The Tea Advisory Panel website.