Tea is one of the healthiest beverage known to man. In fact, many health experts recommend drinking it over coffee. However, drinking it hot may negate its health benefits.
One recent study1 says that tea consumption at high temperature increases risk of esophageal cancer but only when combined with excessive alcohol or smoking.
Drinking tea at high temperature is associated with an increased risk for esophageal cancer when combined with excessive alcohol or tobacco use.
In this study, researchers find regular smokers who have at least a drink per day while drinking hot tea are five times at risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Fortunately, people who drink hot tea but don’t have the other unhealthy lifestyle practices do not have a significant effect on developing cancer.
This is a Chinese study that gathers data from over 456,000 people with ages between 30 and 79. The Chinese adults in this study have no cancer at the beginning.
Initially, the researchers asked the participants about their smoking and alcohol habits as well as tea consumption.
Then, the researchers made follow up on these people on a nine-year period to determine how many of the participants developed cancer. During the follow-up, about 1,700 have died.
What the researchers found in this study, regular hot tea drinkers who at the same time smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol have the highest risk of esophageal cancer.
Moreover, regular hot tea drinkers and either smoked or drank but not both also have increased the risk of developing cancer. However, the risk is not that great compared to those who drank and smoked at the same drinking hot tea.
Furthermore, those who drink hot tea but did not smoke or drink have no significant increase in cancer risk.
Jun Lv, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Peking University School of Public Health in China and lead author of the study says;
We found that the association between high-temperature tea consumption and esophageal cancer risk was dependent on alcohol and tobacco consumption.
Findings in observational studies do not establish the cause and effect as controlled trials do. However, the authors of the study consider that hot tea consumption may cause damage to the esophageal tissue lining.
Over time, this could lead to an increased chance of injury through other factors such as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. Moreover, the authors add that hot tea consumption may contribute to cancer risk through the inflammatory compound formation.
Usually, this occurs the irritation in the esophagus is repeated.
In 2016, one study2 publish their findings at The Lancet (Oncology) stating that very hot beverages are carcinogenic. This was a study conducted by the World Health Organization.
The findings of this study suggest that drinking hot tea along with smoking and drinking alcohol contribute to cancer. However, it may not be the primary factor in developing esophageal cancer. Lead author, Jun Lv adds;
It’s important to abstain from high-temperature tea in excessive alcohol consumers and smokers for esophageal cancer prevention. Of course, keeping away from both tobacco and excessive alcohol use is the most important means for esophageal cancer prevention.
Probably, the best thing to do is allow the tea or coffee to cool down a bit before sipping it. On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking are known to cause certain cancers. Hence, you would be better getting rid of these two unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Of course, when it comes to hydration, don’t forget to drink water. It would be more beneficial if you do water therapy by drinking water first thing in the morning.