The health benefits of tea have been discussed for many years, but a new study has shown that the popular drink can be just as effective as water at keeping the body hydrated.The Tea Advisory Panel found that by drinking four cups of tea a day, the body reaps the same benefits of drinking the equivalent amount of water.Not only this, but there are no negative side-effects that arise from making the substitution, regardless of whether you choose to drink black tea, green tea or any other variety.Dr Catherine Hood from the Tea Advisory Panel explained that there are various advantages to keeping fluid levels up."It's vital that humans keeps their fluid levels topped up to avoid dehydration - proper hydration is key to good mental and physical health," she noted.There is often a common misconception that caffeinated drinks can lead to dehydration - by speeding up the digestive process, people need to visit the toilet more often, therefore leading them to lose water.However, the results of this latest study indicate that this is not the case, giving tea fans plenty of cause for celebration.Dr Hood continued: "A growing number of scientific studies have demonstrated that tea can be useful in keeping the body in good condition, thanks to its high polyphenol content."These polyphenols have antioxidant effects and help maintain normal vascular function. This is why many studies have linked regular tea consumption with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke."A standard cup of tea contains around 99 per cent water and can therefore significantly contribute to the recommended daily level of fluid intake.Tea is therefore generally considered a good way of meeting this requirement and, due to its low levels of caffeine, can be healthier than consuming the equivalent amount of coffee.