Before you take a sip of that piping hot cup of tea you just steeped, you may want to let it cool down a bit before doing so. A new study released on Wednesday, has discovered that drinking extremely hot tea can increase your chances of esophageal cancer.
Many choose to drink tea because of its many health benefits. Besides being tasty and comforting, tea contains antioxidants, has less caffeine than coffee, may decrease chances of heart attack and stroke and can aid in digestive health. However, we imagine you didn’t think to consider the temperature at which you are sipping.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="517"] Credit: Disney /Giphy[/caption]
Researchers found that tea drinkers, who enjoy their beverage warmer than 140 degrees Fahrenheit and drank more than two large cups a day, have a 90 percent greater risk of esophageal cancer when compared to those who drank less tea at cooler temperatures. Previous research has discovered a link between hot drinks and esophageal cancer, but this is the first study to pinpoint specific temperatures.
“Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking,” says Dr. Farhad Islami, of the American Cancer Society and the study’s lead author.
The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2019, there will be about 17, 650 new esophageal cancers diagnosed and about 16, 080 deaths from esophageal cancer. There are many risk factors tied to esophageal cancer including age, gender, weight, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, among others. However, having these risk factors does not mean you will get esophageal cancer, and individuals can be diagnosed without having risk factors.
More research needs to be done in order to determine why drinking hot tea increases your chances of esophageal cancer. Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, questions whether it’s more the temperature that is the cause, rather than they type of beverage or food. “In fact, it is probably anything hot: Microwaved jam has been known to cause esophageal injury. It is possible that the trauma leads to cell changes and hence to cancer.”
For most, tea is rarely consumed at temperatures above 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit). However, in places like Russia, Iran, Turkey, and South America, tea is often consumed at very hot temperatures.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chance of esophageal cancer. The top two preventative measures include avoiding smoking and not drinking alcohol in excess. So, we don’t think tea lovers will have to bid farewell to their favourite beverage. But, you may just want to pay special attention to its temperature.