If you like your tea served piping hot, beware. You could be doubling your cancer risk, says a report.
Researchers from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran recently conducted a study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, to determine the association between drinking hot tea and esophageal cancer.
They followed more than 50,000 people, aged 40 to 75, in Golestan, a province in northeastern Iran, for 10 years — tracking the temperature of the tea they drank and their overall health. During the follow-up, 317 new cases of esophageal cancer were identified.
They found that those who drank tea warmer than 140 degrees Fahrenheit and consumed about 1 1/2 of a pint daily were 90 percent more likely to develop esophageal cancer than those who drank less tea and at temperatures below 140 degrees.
“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,” lead author Farhad Islam said in a statement.
Tea is rarely consumed at temperatures above 140 degrees in the U.S. or Europe. But it’s commonly served at that temperature or hotter in Iran, Russia, Turkey and South America, said Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the USA.
Scientists don’t know why drinking hot tea is linked with esophageal cancer, but this isn’t the first study of its kind.
A 2018 study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that consuming “hot” or “burning hot” tea is linked with a two- to five-fold rise in esophageal cancer, but only among individuals who also smoke or drink alcohol.
The analysts from that evaluation said hot beverages might damage the tissue lining the esophagus, which could increase the risk of cancer from other factors, such as repeated irritation of the esophagus and the formation of inflammatory compounds.