In the past, research has shown a connection between drinking hot beverages and a person’s risk of developing esophageal cancer.
These studies have been suggestive that having hot drinks regularly increases a person’s risk of esophageal cancer. However, these studies were not large enough or thorough enough to establish a concrete link between hot tea and esophagus cancer risk.
New research published in the journal International Journal of Cancer has found that people who drink hot tea regularly have a significantly higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.
The results showed that people who drank 700 millilitres or more of tea at 60 degrees Celsius had a 90 per cent increased risk of esophageal cancer compared with those who drank less than 700 ml of tea per day at less than 60 C.
The author of this research said that your best bet to reduce your esophageal cancer risk if you are a tea drinker is to wait until your tea cools below 60 C to avoid esophageal damage.
“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,” said study lead author Dr. Farhad Islami, of the American Cancer Society.
This study is significant because it is large, having 50,045 participants, and thorough as tea drinking habits were observed over a median time period of 10 years.
This study is the largest of its kind and the most thorough as even the participants’ tea temperature was measured.
While this research was conducted on tea drinkers, the authors suggested that similar results would likely be seen among other hot beverage drinkers, such as coffee, as the damage done to the esophagus by hot tea is purely from its elevated temperature.
The take home message from this research, and other similar studies which have been released in the past, is that waiting for hot drinks to cool helps to protect the esophagus from damage and from future cancer risk.
Ideally drinks should be cooler than 60 C to limit esophageal injury and esophageal cancer risk.
Do you have questions about making healthier food choices for the prevention of cancer and for promotion of longevity? Ask your naturopathic doctor.
Dr. Colin MacLeod ND is a naturopathic doctor practicing full-time in Upper Tantallon at MacLeod Naturopathic. His practice focuses on pain management and maintaining health through physical activity and diet. Visit him online at drcolinmacleod.com.