Your daily cuppa could be killing you: Study

Drinking tea at temperatures above 60°C may increase the risk of developing oesophageal cancer, a new study has shown. Source: Pexels

While there’s nothing better than starting the day with a piping hot cuppa in the morning, a new study has found this could actually increase the risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

The new research, published in the International Journal of Cancer, found drinking 700ml or more per day of beverages at a higher temperature of 60°C or above was associated with a 90 per cent higher risk of oesophageal cancer, when compared with people who drank their beverage at temperatures cooler than 60°C.

Previous studies have noted a link between drinking hot tea and the risk of developing oesophageal cancer, but are often based on self‐reported perception of tea drinking temperature – a factor that can vary dramatically and limit research. For the latest study, researchers analysed more than 50,000 tea drinkers aged between 40 and 75 in the Iranian province Golestan for a decade as part of the Golestan Cohort Study.

Drinking hot tea is common practice in this region and between 2004 and 2017, 317 study participants were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. Researchers determined the warmth of tea consumed by participants by asking them whether they consumed tea when it was warm, lukewarm, hot or very hot; by asking people how long they waited for their tea to cool down before drinking it; and by using tea samples to measure the temperature that participants favoured.

Researchers discovered participants who enjoyed drinking tea at very hot temperatures were 2.41 times as likely to develop oesophageal cancer, compared to those who preferred cold or lukewarm tea. Equally, people who waited less than two minutes for their tea to cool before drinking it were 1.51 times more likely to develop cancer, compared to people who waited for six minutes. And those who enjoyed their tea at temperatures above 60°C were 1.41 times more likely to develop cancer than people who drank it at cooler temperatures.

These results lead researchers to concluded that drinking hot tea at temperatures above 60°C was associated with a 90 per cent increased risk of oesophageal cancer.

“Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of oesophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking,” lead author Farhad Islami said in a statement.

It’s important to know that this is an extremely high temperature for drinking beverages and the study can’t prove cause and effect. It could be that other factors also increase the risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

What are your thoughts on this study? Do you think drinking hot tea can increase the risk of cancer?

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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