Summer is almost here, but for many of us those Summer temps have already arrived. Time to start thinking about things like how to stay hydrated. Tea to the rescue. Somewhere out there the idea that tea made you dehydrated caught hold and spread. In recent years, though, studies like this one have been coming out to show that tea could be the ultimate hydrator instead. Good news for those of us who imbibe a fair amount of tea on a daily basis, especially in Summer.
One thing we can probably all agree on is the essentialness of water to our existence, especially considering that our bodies contain 55-78% water (it varies according to our height, weight, and general build). We lose water during the day through normal activities and need to refill our body’s supply. Total fluid intake (in all forms) in a day is recommended in this WebMD article to be about 91 fluid ounces for women and 125 ounces for men. About 20% of this usually comes from foods like carrots, lettuce, grapefruit, and even broccoli. The other 80% we usually chug. However, for many of us, chugging a bunch of water can be a total bore. I mean it all tastes like — well — water!
The solution seems obvious: drink something that has a lot of flavor in it.
Now, you have a number of options here, since most beverages contain a lot of water as is. Things like fruit juices, lemonade, limeade, Kool-Aid, coffee, and colas. But many agree that tea is the best.
Dr. Carrie Ruxton of Kings College London says that tea beats water in the fluid game, since it contains some very useful ingredients such as antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids. She also dispels the myth of tea as a dehydrator. This myth is due to the caffeine content, which has been thought to be a diuretic since people tend to experience increased output (trying to put this as delicately as possible here) after their initial intake. However, the caffeine only has a preliminary effect, and soon you’re back to normal. Plus, as Dr. Ruxton points out, even a really strong cup of coffee or tea would still give you a net fluid gain.
Of course, tea is never boring. You can get a wide variety of teas that are just the tea, no “stuff” such as spices and fruit pieces added. As for those flavored teas where fruits, flowers, spices, herbs, and other items have been added to enhance or even hide the tea flavor, your choices are even broader. In fact, there seem to be new combinations coming out every day, along with new versions of classics such as Earl Grey and Jasmine Green. Your tastebuds will never be bored, and your body will stay well-hydrated. Thus, tea, with its appeal to a wide variety of tastes, is the ultimate hydrator!
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text