The BBC is reporting on research today that shows drinking tea is as healthy as drinking water - perhaps even healthier. This research was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and it dispels the long-term belief that tea dehydrates the body of fluids.
My doctor, and probably yours as well, has always advised me to avoid caffeinated beverages because they are dehydrating; they drain the body of necessary fluids. This research, however, shows that tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers.
As we've written here previously, experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promote health. That part of the research may not be new. . . these polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage.
British public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, and her colleagues at Kings College London, looked at published studies on the health effects of tea consumption and found clear evidence that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack. They also broke up that urban legend that caffeine beverages dehydrate the body.
The authors stated, "Studies on caffeine have found that very high doses dehydrate, and so it is that everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate. But even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid."