March 28/London/Asian News International (ANI) -- A new study has found that drinking four to six mugs of tea daily is as good as a liter of water for keeping yourself hydrated.

The finding disproves the idea that regular tea drinking can dehydrate the body because of its caffeine content.

The research also found no negative health effects from drinking that amount of tea.

In the U.K. clinical trial, 21 volunteers drank either four 240ml mugs of tea over a 12-hour period -- equivalent to just under one liter of tea in total -- or a similar amount of plain, boiled water served warm.

The tea included 20ml of semi-skimmed milk but no sugar.

The test was also repeated using six cups of tea or plain water, equivalent to nearly 1.5 liters of fluid, to investigate the effect of intakes.

Blood samples were taken before consumption and at regular intervals to check hydration levels. Analysis found no significant differences between drinking tea and water.

"Tea is an excellent way to maintain healthy fluid levels. In addition, tea is a rich source of flavonoids, which have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke," the Daily Mail quoted Carrie Ruxton, nutritional advisor to the panel, as saying.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

From the April 4, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition