When we think about tea, we usually associate it with health benefits. But a new study from the International Journal of Cancer, says drinking hot tea increases your risk of cancer.
Previous research has found a link between hot tea drinking and esophageal cancer, but this new study pinpointed the temperature that might increase your risk.
The study covered over 50,000 people that lived in Northern Iran. For nearly 10 years they studied the lives of 40 to 75 year-olds. Between 2004 and 2017, the researchers detected over 300 new cases of esophageal cancer.
They determined that people that were drinking more than 700 mL, or about 2 large cups of tea a day, had a 90% higher risk of esophageal cancer. However, it was only for those who were drinking the tea at temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 °C) or warmer.
I talked to a Sanford Doctor who specializes in cancer. She told me why in theory these hotter beverages increase their risk.
MD, Dr. Hermina Fernandes says, “The inner lining of the food pipe also– the sensation and the nerve endings are much different than they would be on your skin. So while the tissue there is processing all that heat and having to come in contact with all that heat– we don’t feel pain like we would say the skin were to come into contact with that same degree of temperature.“
Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world and is often fatal. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 1,400 new cases of this type of cancer will be diagnosed in men and about 3,900 new cases in women in 2019.
Fernandes says that it’s not mainly the type of liquid you drink, but more so the quantity and temperature.
“I am not going to say from this article–one would read it and have to stop drinking tea, but it’s just something to know of like everything in life–everything in moderation,“ says Dr. Fernandes.
She adds that she is more concerned with her patients that smoke rather than drink hot beverages when it comes to increasing the risk of cancer.
Doctors also suggest just wait for your beverage to cool down before drinking it.