The water in coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages helps us meet our daily fluid needs. However, “Caffeine does have a slight diuretic effect, meaning that it causes us to lose more water, but it is mild and does not offset hydration,” Elliott says.
Beyond the hydration benefits, coffee also contains healthful compounds, such as antioxidants. This may help explain why recent research has linked daily coffee consumption to a long list of potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of diabetes and improving arterial function.
Most experts recommend limiting coffee to four cups of regular brewed coffee per day, or no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine.
“Some people, however, are more sensitive to the possible adverse effects of caffeine, like jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations or insomnia,” Elliott says. “These people should drink less than that.” At some coffee establishments, one 20-ounce cup can exceed that limit, so consumers should check the caffeine content of their favorite brands.
“The best way to hydrate is always to drink water, but coffee lovers can definitely count their coffee toward their eight daily cups of fluid,” Elliott says. “The sugar and fat from cream and sweetened coffee drinks, however, can lead to weight gain and other detrimental health effects.”
Luckily, there is another way to hydrate if you are not a fan of water: eat your water.
“Fruits that are high in water content include melons such as watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe; strawberries; pineapple; peaches; and oranges,” Elliott says. “Not only are these fruits loaded with vitamins such as vitamin C, minerals like potassium, and fiber, they’re also all between 85 and 95 percent water.”