The common advice around water consumption is eight glasses a day, or two litres. Water is incredibly important for your body as it helps flush out waste, regulates your body temperature, protects your tissues, joints and spinal cord and aids in brain function.
But, according to the Mayo Clinic, the adequate amount of water for men is around 3.7 litres and 2.7 for women. While the majority of this should ideally come from water, there are a few other beverages which count towards your daily fluid intake.
Coffee and tea are some of the most popular beverages across the world and while both of these drinks contain water, do they actually count towards your fluid intake? The answer is yes — with a slight caveat.
Does coffee dehydrate the body?
This is a tricky question because in theory, yes, coffee can be quite dehydrating especially when consumed in large quantities. But, if you’re having a cup or two of coffee a day, it isn’t so bad.
“Because it acts as a diuretic, I would count coffee as about half as much liquid as it really is,” physician Catherine Waldrop, M.D., tells mindbodygreen (mbg). “For instance, one cup of coffee would count as half a cup of water.”
If you’re consuming numerous cups of coffee per day and not drinking water alongside these, then that’s when you start to get into dehydration territory. Otherwise, your coffee is counting towards your fluid intake. If you’re uncertain whether or not you’re drinking too much coffee (and not enough water), this little hack will help identify this.
Does tea count as water?
While a cup of tea isn’t the same as drinking a glass of water, it isn’t too far off. In fact, Waldrop counts caffeinated tea as three-fourths the volume of water, while herbal tea is even better and can be considered the equivalent of water.
If you’re loyal to black tea, try diversifying your tea drinking to include more herbal varieties like rooibos, peppermint and chamomile as these are as good as drinking water but are a little more exciting taste-wise.
Adding milk to your coffee or tea also won’t affect its ability to hydrate you, with mbg pointing to studies that have shown milk to promote rehydration after physical activity. On the topic of beverage additivites, try to steer clear of adding sugar to your tea or coffee, as sugary drinks can actually cause dehydration.
As with most things, moderation is key when consuming both tea and coffee and if in doubt, chug some water over having another coffee.