Tea is the number one drink for health. It’s also our absolute favourite according to a recent BBC programme. Nothing we eat or drink in Britain comes close. We drink 165 million cups every day. That’s 15 billion litres of tea every year. The good news is that tea is very good for us. The following e-news from the Tea Advisory Panel reviews some of the latest research that continues to highlight the many health benefits of a good cuppa.
It is a common belief that caffeinated drinks, such as tea, may adversely affect body hydration levels. We are sometimes given advice to limit consumption of caffeinated drinks, or drink water alongside them. A randomised cross-over trial in adults has investigated whether or not this claim is true in relation to tea drinking.
In a cross-over trial, 21 healthy men were randomised to drink either four or six mugs of regular ‘black’ tea, or similar amounts of boiled water over one day. There was a five day washout period between the tea and water conditions. All men took part in all test conditions and, during these, blood and urine samples were taken at regular intervals to monitor hydration status. It was important to have measures of both blood and urine as this is the gold standard method for assessing hydration.
The results revealed that the various indicators of hydration status, e.g. blood and urine osmolality, total urine volume, blood urea, were no different after drinking tea or water. This suggests that drinking up to 6 mugs of tea daily has similar hydrating properties to drinking plain water. Average tea intakes in the UK are currently 2-3 servings per day which are well within the limits tested in this study. These findings therefore suggest that drinking up to six cups of tea per day, has similar hydrating properties to water. The average intake of tea in the UK is two to three cups per day, so most tea drinkers are within the six cups per day range.