Is Tea a Diuretic or Is It the Caffeine?

Sinead Adedipe
Is Tea a Diuretic or Is It the Caffeine?

Tea is a pretty popular beverage that is consumed all over the world. It can be served hot or iced, sweet or black, and there are many flavors due to the various kinds of tea leaves. Tea is used to help people sleep, soothe sore throats, and can even be used to help boost your energy!

Tea is great for to increase daily fluid intake. As well as it's healthier than other beverages and can be more flavorful than water. There are so many options to choose from that you can easily find the perfect tea for you. It also isn’t as caffeinated as coffee, so it’s great for those who are looking to cut back.

Tea provides a small amount of caffeine, which can help to give you a boost of energy. When taken in small doses, caffeine is fine but can aid in the dehydration process when consumed in excess. This is where the fear of tea being a diuretic comes in.

Is it bad to drink too much?

Should you only drink certain teas?

Read on to learn more about just how diuretic tea really is.

What Is a Diuretic?

A diuretic is any substance that promotes the increased production of urine. A diuretic can be in tablet form, typically prescribed by a doctor and taken on purpose to increase urination to remove excess fluids. It also is naturally occurring in foods and beverages. Some natural diuretics include watermelon, celery, hibiscus, parsley, and green and black tea. No matter if it’s natural or a tablet, a diuretic is meant to increase the release of fluids through your kidneys.

The effect that a diuretic has on the body is that it will make you urinate more frequently, affecting your hydration levels. If you are urinating more due to diuretic substances you are consuming, you should consider drinking more water (unless you have been prescribed a diuretic by your doctor and have a fluid restriction).  

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that helps to stimulate the brain and nerve function to keep you awake and alert. Caffeine is quickly absorbed into your gut once you’ve consumed it and travels to your liver to be broken down. It has a diuretic effect by increasing the need for urination, but it’s not enough to dehydrate you. You would have to consume over five cups in one day to feel the effects of even the mildest dehydration.

It is found in many different beverages and is not dangerous to you. Unless you consume over 400mg daily, you will probably be fine with how much you are currently consuming. That’s right, avid coffee drinkers; we’ve got our eyes on you!

How Does Tea Affect Hydration?

Drinking tea can negatively affect your hydration, but only if you are drinking a lot of it. This is because there is caffeine in many popular teas.

If you are to drink several cups of tea in a day, you might create a rift in your body’s water balance. This is because if you drink too much caffeine, your body will need to urinate more frequently, and it will cause your body to lose water. In order to replenish this loss of water from caffeine, you should be drinking more water.

Drinking tea doesn’t necessarily dehydrate you, as it’s not often that a person drinks enough to cause the diuretic effect. If you aren’t consuming enough water, you run the risk of feeling the effects of dehydration on top of drinking too much tea. Having one or two cups of tea a day will not dehydrate you, especially if you drink plenty of water.

Tea and Its Variety

Not all teas are the same, and some are, in fact, caffeine-free. Depending on what tea you are drinking, you might experience different levels of caffeine. Teas that contain caffeine do have more of a diuretic effect on you than non-caffeinated teas.

One of the many allures of tea is that it comes in various flavors. You can find a tea that tastes good and has the right amount of caffeine that you are looking for. Tea is so versatile that it makes finding the right one for you. If you aren’t a fan of one tea, you can be sure to find another that suits your preference.

Herbal Teas

Most herbal teas that you try are going to be caffeine-free. This is because they are not made from the Camellia Sinensis plant like most other teas.

Herbal teas are made from dried flowers, leaves, and roots that are caffeine-free. Because there is no caffeine in most herbal teas, you will notice less of a diuretic effect on your body when you consume them.

Instead of having a diuretic effect on your body, herbal teas contain other properties like antioxidants and the ability to improve immune function. This means they are really great to be drinking daily!

Caffeinated Teas

Teas such as black tea, green tea, white and oolong tea contain caffeine because they come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. An average cup of tea ends up having around 38 mg of caffeine in them. Fun fact, if you brew your tea for longer, there will likely be more caffeine!

One study saw that drinking black tea is not significantly different from water when maintaining hydration.

Each tea contains different amounts of caffeine, so you can choose what you want to consume:

  • Black tea ranges from 40 to 70 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce serving.
  • Green tea has between 35 to 45 mg of caffeine per cup.
  • White tea usually only has between 15 and 30 mg of caffeine in a serving.
  • Oolong tea will have between 35 and 55 mg of caffeine in a cup.

By far, black tea holds more caffeine than these other caffeinated teas, and having a large cup of black tea is similar to drinking a cup of coffee. These teas may give off the impression of being diuretics themselves, but the caffeine creates the diuretic effect.

Yerba Mate is the most caffeinated of the popular teas in the world. It is produced from the Ilex paraguariensis plant and contains around 85 mg of caffeine per cup. It has more caffeine than a cup of black tea but is still less than a cup of coffee.

Depending on how much you drink of any tea, you could increase your caffeine intake regardless of the amount of caffeine per ounce. It’s important to be mindful of how much you consume, so you don’t throw off your body’s water balance.

Will Tea Dehydrate You?

It’s unlikely that you will become dehydrated from drinking tea. In order to experience diuretic effects while drinking tea, you’d need to drink between 6 and 13 cups of tea in one day or 500 mg of caffeine. Having one or two cups in your day will not negatively affect your health, but you shouldn’t be trying to stay hydrated off of tea alone.

You need water in order to have all of your bodily functions working properly. Your body does its best when you are hydrated, so make sure that you are consuming enough water in a day. Enjoy your cup of tea, and don’t worry about dehydrating yourself. Just remember that you need to drink water to fully meet your hydration goals.

Using Vessel Health

It’s important to understand what is going on inside of your body so that you can maintain your overall health and well-being. At Vessel Health, we want to make understanding your body and what it needs easier accessible at your fingertips. If you are not providing your body with enough of what it needs, the Wellness Card can let you know what you should be changing.

Using our Wellness Test Card is extremely easy. Once you receive the stick, use the bathroom, scan the barcode on the test by using our app, and then you will receive your results instantly! If you are worried that you aren’t getting enough water, if your stress levels are too high, or if you aren’t getting the proper nutrients in your diet, you can use our app to learn about it.

We can tell you if you need to be consuming more water or if you should be adding new supplements to your diet. We offer up suggestions on how to improve your overall health at the tip of your fingers!

In Conclusion

If you are looking to cut down on your caffeine intake but not cut it out completely, switching from coffee to tea is a great way to accomplish this. There are many different kinds of teas which give you plenty of options to choose from! Each has a different flavor and amount of caffeine in them, so you can pick something that caters to your specific needs.

Grab a cup of tea and a Wellness Card from Vessel Health; you’ll thank us later.