It is sometimes believed that coffee can potentially dehydrate us. Could this actually be the case?
Coffee is usually enjoyed in the morning, and can even be the first thing that we consume for the day. When we wake up and get ready for the day, our bodies are dehydrated from going hours without water or fluids during sleep. It’s important that we rehydrate ourselves in the morning, so it is understandable to be concerned about the potential dangers of drinking coffee. However, does coffee actually dehydrate us? If not, why do we feel that it does?
Is coffee dehydrating?
To put it simply: no, but the way caffeine functions may explain why this may seem to be the case.
Caffeine is known to have strong diuretic effects, especially when consumed in large servings. Certain food and drinks that contain this diuretic effect essentially wash out a large amount of salt and water from our bodies through urine. Other common foods that do this include tea, asparagus, garlic, and watermelon.
Due to its ability to get rid of sodium and water in our body, diuretic medication is often used to treat those with high blood pressure and heart failure. In other words: drinking coffee causes us to run to the restroom more often than usual.
An increased production of urine causes our body to lose more liquid, which eventually leads to dehydration. This may be the main reason as to why we often feel dehydrated (and use the restroom more often) after drinking coffee and tea.
Although this frequent urination can lead to dehydration, it doesn’t necessarily mean that coffee makes you dehydrated. It has even been suggested that a moderated and regular consumption of coffee can eventually lead to a tolerance against the diuretic effect.
Despite this, the overall benefits of coffee and caffeine still outweigh the diuretic effect it has. In fact, Dr. Daniel Vigil, a professor at UCLA, was quoted in a 2018 Time article saying that “you won’t lose more fluid through urine than you take in by drinking a caffeinated beverage.” In a related study, results showed that there was no significant difference in rehydration between caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks.
A different study has even shown that coffee has “similar hydrating qualities to water.” Brewed coffee is made up of 95% water, afterall. The way you prepare your coffee also affects the results you get. For example, espresso uses significantly less water than brewed or drip coffee.
Of course, like all things in life, everything must be consumed in moderation. Replacing water with coffee isn’t exactly the solution, however there would ultimately be no harm in enjoying both drinks.
Benefits of coffee
Various studies have concluded that coffee does have more benefits than drawbacks. Coffee in moderation has proven to consistently benefit us, humans.
Some of coffee’s claimed benefits include:
- Those who drink coffee regularly are less likely to have heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular disease.
- Drinking coffee has shown a significant decrease of risk in diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and chronic liver disease.
- Consuming coffee can boost memory during the early mornings.
Drinking coffee isn’t essential to your daily diet, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a cup or two.
No matter the season, hydration is a must. How we treat our bodies affects our overall performance and well being, so it’s important to hydrate ourselves to keep us going during our busy days. There are a couple ways to stay hydrated and keep yourself in check.
How you know you’re dehydrated:
It’s easy to forget to check up on our bodies and what it’s trying to tell us, so it helps to know the signs that we’re dehydrated. Understanding these signs from your body can greatly reduce the risk of more damage from being dehydrated. There are a few ways to tell if it’s time to hydrate yourself.
- Dry skin and/or mouth
- Thirst or hunger
- Difficulty with concentration, memory, and overall performance
Tips for Staying Hydrated:
There are various ways you can stay hydrated apart from putting fluids in your body. How much you need to hydrate yourself also depends on the type of activity you’re performing such as sports or exercise.
Here are a few tips to keep yourself hydrated:
Don’t ignore the signs
Listen to your body and the symptoms you’re feeling. Oftentimes the way we’re feeling could simply be a result of not hydrating enough. This goes for hunger, exhaustion, and mood swings as well.
Drink before you’re dehydrated
Hydrate yourself before it becomes a problem. Drinking water before bed, first thing in the morning, and before and after a meal are simple practices that make a big difference in the long run.
Keep a reusable bottle or tumbler by your side
Save the earth and your body by cutting the plastic and getting yourself a reusable bottle or tumbler. In this day and age, water filters are conveniently everywhere, and you’ll do yourself a favor having one of these to refill throughout the day.
If you get bored of sipping on water all day, you can also try alternatives that can also do the job.
Alternatives to water to help you stay hydrated
Alternatives to water are all around us and even come in the foods we already eat. This is not to say you should replace water with these, but they can provide a great amount of nutrients and benefits to your body regardless. A few alternatives include:
Many fruits are naturally water-rich such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and peaches. The best part is that fruits can be enjoyed and incorporated during any part of your day or meal.
Vegetables that are also water-rich include cucumbers, lettuce, and zucchinis. All these vegetables contain at least 95% water and are packed with a ton of nutrients that can help boost your immune system.
Broths and soups
Broths and soups are often water-based and taste great. Next time you’re thinking of an easy go-to meal, soup doesn’t sound like a bad option!
Coffee and tea
Now that we know coffee isn’t dehydrating and has lots of benefits, we can enjoy our morning joe. Brewed and instant coffee contains a lot of water, and everything in moderation makes a big difference.