Most people drink a cup of hot tea, first thing in the morning. It gets them ready to face the day with a fresh start. But caffeinated teas tend to make you expel water through urine because they act as a diuretic.
Tea also contains hydrating water. However, the Food and Drug Administration suggests drinking extra water on days you consume more caffeine. So, does tea dehydrate you?
Let’s find out.
The Caffeine in your Tea
Caffeine is one of the most consumed psychoactive substances around the world. Nowadays, caffeinated beverages are available in many different forms. This substance got its popularity due to its mood-enhancing properties. Most people consume caffeine to elevate their mental as well as physical performance.
The caffeine enters your bloodstream after consumption. Firstly, it reaches your liver where it is broken down and transmitted to the rest of your system. Later, it affects your kidneys by increasing blood flow around that region. This is what makes caffeine diuretic.
What is a Diuretic?
Any substance that causes an increase in your urine flow can be referred to as a diuretic. Fluids, even water, when consumed in large volumes can lead to a diuretic effect. However, just because you are expelling body water in the form of urine does not mean you are dehydrated.
At most, a drink can be labeled as a poor rehydrator based on the amount of urine output after consumption.
How Does Tea Affect Hydration
When you consume a large dosage of caffeine, it induces a small diuretic effect. This effect leads to increased urine production in our body to remove more fluid. However, this does not make you dehydrated. Also, once you build up caffeine tolerance and consume 3 cups of coffee instead of 1, the diuretic effect is lowered
Its hydrating aspects completely outweighs the mild diuretic effect.
Does Tea Dehydrate You?
By drinking tea, a hot cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea, you are taking in fluid with a dose of caffeine. However, the diuretic characteristics of these drinks do not make you lose more fluid through urine. Your body simply absorbs as much fluid it needs and expels the rest.
So, your morning drink, be it tea or coffee, actually helps to hydrate your body.
If you suffer from headaches or similar symptoms after your first cup of tea, dehydration may not be the reason behind it. Your body might be too sensitive for caffeine or dehydrated due to other reasons but not your tea habit.
Dry Mouth Sensation with Tea
Dryness in the mouth is one of the most common reasons why caffeinated drinks are associated with dehydration. Some people experience this feeling after consuming drinks like tea and coffee.
This is caused due to a compound, namely tannins. It is found in tea, coffee, dark chocolates, and some fruits. When we consume these foods or drinks, tannins bind to our saliva, causing a dry, astringent feeling.
Do You Feel Dehydrated?
Poor hydration can arise in multiple health-related issues. We all know the importance of drinking water, and irregularity or improper hydration can cause fluctuations in your mood and brain functions. It can also cause an adverse effect on your reasoning skills, harmful for your immunity system, and sluggish performance.
Some other symptoms of dehydration are fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, digestive issues, and so on. If any of these symptoms persist even after rehydration, you must consult a medical professional.
Monitoring your Hydration
The best method for maintaining the water balance in your body is by monitoring your urine color. It should be pale yellow, almost like the color of lemonade.
You can also monitor your thirst sensation. If you feel thirsty, you are already a little dehydrated.
The caffeine in your tea can cause your kidneys to flush out extra water and sodium through urine. But, your body will get used to these changes in about four to five days. Your body is fully capable of absorbing the fluids you require and discarding the rest.
Tea might not be the number one choice for hydration. However, it adds to the total amount of water consumption and does not dehydrate you.