August 17/London/Tea Advisory Panel -- Tea lovers out there will be pleased to know a new study has proven that drinking four to six mugs a day is just as good as drinking a liter of water when it comes to keeping the body hydrated.

For years, common knowledge has been that regular tea drinking can dehydrate the body, depriving it of vital fluid necessary for optimal mental and physical health, but no longer.

Until now, there has been little conclusive evidence whether or not caffeine in drinks, such as tea, could provoke excessive urination and dehydration. However, the latest study - a randomized controlled trial - has finally demonstrated that, as an everyday drink, tea has the same beneficial hydrating properties as water.

"Tea and water were found to offer similar hydrating properties at intakes of up to six cups, making tea an excellent way to maintain healthy fluid levels," says Dr. Carrie Ruxton, independent dietitian and nutrition adviser to the Tea Advisory Panel.

Ruxton continues, "In addition, tea is a rich source of flavonoids, which have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Thus, tea could be considered a healthy choice of beverage. Not only is a mug of tea refreshing and delicious, it can be an important part of maintaining proper hydration."

The results revealed, after detailed analysis, that there were no significant differences found in terms of hydration levels between drinking tea and water.

While previous research on caffeine pills have produced inconsistent results due to differences in caffeine levels, the small amount of research on caffeinated drinks has found no significant impact on hydration levels.

Ruxton says, "It's a common misconception that drinking tea can increase the risk of dehydration because of its caffeine levels, but this study proves that there is absolutely no truth in it. No statistical differences were found between regular tea consumption and water when a wide range of blood and urine markers for hydration were tested among the volunteers. In addition, urine volume was similar after tea or water, confirming that we do not urinate more after drinking tea."

Dr. Catherine Hood, a member of the Tea Advisory Panel, adds, "It's vital that everyone keeps their fluid levels topped up to avoid dehydration - proper hydration is key to good mental and physical health. Tea drinkers can be reassured that their favorite cup does not count towards their fluid intake without the risk of dehydration.

"There has been some debate over whether tea retains its healthy properties if drunk with milk, but again studies have shown that the positive effects of tea are just the same whether or not milk is used."