Anyone would love to have a cup of hot tea, especially this winter. Not only does the beverage soothe sore throats or make people feel more relaxed but it can also energize them during lazy mornings. Overall, tea is a great beverage believed to have plenty of health benefits but drinking it hot can have negative consequences to our health.
People prefer drinking their teas in different ways, such as consuming it with or without sugar or milk. But a new study by researchers at Peking University in Beijing, China suggests that the temperature at which the beverage is consumed can seriously affect health. Drinking very hot tea is found to increase the risk of developing esophageal cancers, especially among people who smoke and regularly consume alcohol.
Cancer of the esophagus happens to be the eighth most common type of cancer in the world, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF). In the U.S. alone, there were about 16,940 cases of esophageal cancer documented last year.
The new study, spearheaded by Jun Lv, found that hot tea leads to the onset of cancer. Lv confirms the link that exists between drinking very hot tea and esophageal cancer among habitual smokers and alcohol drinkers. The findings can be found in the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine.
Esophageal cancers are already known to be linked to the aforementioned factors but the risk of developing this type of cancer is increased with daily cups of hot tea. To arrive at their findings, scientists assessed 456, 155 adult ranging from 30- to 79-years-old who are part of the China Kadoorie Biobank study, which collects data on chronic disease development in China. Scientists made sure to exclude people who had an existing cancer diagnosis and those who had cut down consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and tea.
The subjects’ health developments were monitored for about 9.2 years. Throughout the study period, it was found that 1,731 participants were diagnosed to have cancer of the esophagus. People who have all three habits had five-times higher risk of developing esophageal cancer compared to people who didn’t.
Lv and the team also found that those who only consume hot tea, but did not smoke or drink alcohol, did not have an increased risk for that type of cancer. With this, researchers advise people to be smart about their choice of habits. If people can’t quit smoking and drinking alcohol daily, the best they can do is to avoid drinking really hot tea.
The study may not have a cause-and-effect link since it was observational. However, authors believe that hot tea can damage the esophageal lining, which then increases the risk of injury brought about by other factors, namely smoking and drinking alcohol.