The Truth About Tea Hydration

People have been asking us, "Does tea "count" as water?" or, "Does tea help you hydrate?". There have been arguments both ways that tea is or isn't hydrating.

Does Tea Hydrate You?

Yes, tea can hydrate you. The belief that tea is dehydrating comes from its caffeine content. Caffeine has a mild diuretic effect. Which means it can increase urination.

Studies show that the fluid intake from tea is greater than the fluid loss caused by its diuretic properties. Therefore, tea is overall hydrating.

Factors Affecting Tea’s Hydration

Caffeine Content

Caffeinated teas like black, green, and white tea contain varying levels of caffeine. These teas are all from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Caffeine is a diuretic, so it can increase urine production.

However, the diuretic effect of caffeine in tea is mild. It is not strong enough to outweigh the hydration benefits.

A typical cup of tea contains about 30-50 mg of caffeine. This is significantly less than the 95 mg found in a typical cup of coffee. Tea adds more fluid to your body than it causes you to lose through urination.

Type of Tea

1. Herbal Teas: Herbal teas are typically caffeine-free and highly hydrating. These teas, such as chamomile, peppermint, and rooibos, do not contain leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant.

They come from a variety of other plants and fruits. This makes them an excellent choice for maintaining hydration. They contribute to your daily fluid intake much like water does.

2. Decaffeinated Teas: Decaffeinated teas have had most of their caffeine removed. This means they retain the hydrating properties of regular teas while minimizing diuretic effects. Decaffeinated teas are nearly caffeine-free, with only about 2 mg of caffeine per cup. This makes them another good option for hydration.

Brewing Time

Brewing time also affects the caffeine content in tea. The caffeine content in tea increases the longer you steep it. However, even with longer steeping times, the hydrating benefits of tea remain predominant. This means that while a stronger brew might have slightly more caffeine, it will still contribute positively to your fluid intake.

Additional Considerations

1. Regular vs. Occasional Tea Drinkers: Regular tea drinkers often build up a tolerance to caffeine. This reduces its diuretic effects. Habitual tea drinkers are less likely to experience significant fluid loss compared to occasional drinkers.

2. Health Benefits: Beyond hydration, tea offers several health benefits. Green tea, for example, is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. These additional benefits make tea a valuable part of a healthy diet.

Health Benefits of Tea

Beyond hydration, tea offers several health benefits that make it a valuable addition to your daily routine.


Teas, particularly green tea, are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids.

These compounds significantly help reduce inflammation and promote heart health. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

Free radicals have the potential to harm cells and lead to chronic diseases. Regularly drinking green tea can lower blood pressure. It also helps reduce cholesterol levels. Additionally, it lowers the risk of heart disease.

Mental Alertness

The moderate caffeine content in tea can help improve focus and alertness. It does this without causing the jitteriness often associated with coffee. Caffeine in tea stimulates the brain.

This enhances alertness and cognitive function. This makes tea a great choice for those who want a mental boost without the intense effects of coffee.

Additional Benefits

- Stress Reduction: Certain types of tea, like chamomile and lavender, have calming properties. These properties can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

- Immune Support: Herbal teas like echinacea and elderberry boost the immune system. They help fend off colds and infections.

- Digestive Health: Peppermint and ginger teas can aid digestion. They can alleviate symptoms of indigestion and nausea.

Moderation is Key

While tea is hydrating and offers various health benefits, it is essential to consume it in moderation. Excessive intake of caffeinated tea can lead to potential side effects such as insomnia, increased anxiety, and digestive issues.

The European Food Safety Authority recommends keeping daily caffeine intake below 400 mg. This equates to about 8 cups of tea. The United States Food and Drug Administration advises limiting caffeine consumption to about 400 mg per day.

This helps avoid adverse effects related to excessive caffeine intake. Staying within these limits helps you enjoy the benefits of tea without the risk of negative side effects.

Listen to Your Body

Sensitivity to caffeine varies among individuals. Some people might experience adverse effects like jitteriness, headaches, or digestive discomfort even with moderate tea consumption.

If you find that caffeinated tea affects you negatively, consider opting for herbal or decaffeinated teas. These provide hydrating benefits without the caffeine. Always listen to your body's signals and adjust your tea consumption accordingly.


Tea does contribute to your hydration needs. Both hot and iced teas provide beneficial fluids that help maintain hydration. Caffeine in tea can have a diuretic effect.

However, this effect is minimal. It does not negate tea's overall hydrating properties. Thus, tea can be a flavorful and healthful way to meet your daily fluid requirements.

Choose the right types of tea to enjoy their numerous health benefits. Consume these teas in moderation. This helps you stay well-hydrated while reaping their advantages.

Further Reading on Tea and Health

A look at Loose Leaf Teas

Does Tea have Caffeine? 

Cooking with Tea

Best Teas for Bloating and Digestive Wellness


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