As summer approaches here in the northern hemisphere, it’s an appropriate time to take a look at the topic of tea and hydration. Given that water comprises anywhere from 50-70% of our bodies, it’s not surprising that makes up such an important part of our daily intake.
According to many accounts, the consensus is that we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day. A 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies suggested that American and Canadian women should consume 2.7 liters of water daily and men about 3.7 liters. While some would have us believe that tea and other caffeinated beverages shouldn’t be included in that total, there’s some evidence to the contrary.
It’s unclear whether tea was one the beverages in question, but a study carried out by the Omaha-based Center for Human Nutrition concluded that “advising people to disregard caffeinated beverages as part of the daily fluid intake is not substantiated by the results of this study.”
A 2006 study that zeroed in specifically on tea found that it might help rehydrate the body, as well as providing extra health benefits. Results of the study, which was conducted by researchers at Kings College London, appeared in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While caffeine at high doses may be ill advised, one researcher suggested that tea might be a better choice for hydration than water in an article published by BBC.
According to the UK Tea Council’s Healthy Drinks Survey, a third of adults there don’t meet their daily fluid requirements. About 40 percent of the nation’s fluid intake comes from tea. As the Council points out, it’s important to note that a cup of tea consists of 99.5 percent water. Ultimately they conclude, “tea can make a positive contribution to the body’s hydration status.”
The most important aspect of hydration is to make sure you’re taking in enough liquids of any type, but the next time you’re feeling parched don’t be afraid to rule out tea as an option. Just another one of the health benefits of tea.