Drinking very hot coffee or tea can increase the risk of this cancer type
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 23, 2023
Are you someone who enjoys sipping on a piping hot cup of tea or coffee? If so, you might want to pay attention to recent findings. A study published on PubMed has uncovered a connection between consuming hot beverages, such as hot water, tea, and coffee, and the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
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For years, we’ve been warned about the harmful effects of alcohol on our health, particularly in relation to weight gain, high blood pressure, and increased disease risk. However, it seems that tea and coffee are not entirely exempt from raising concerns about esophageal cancer.
How Do Tea and Coffee Contribute to Cancer Risk?
The esophagus is a vital passageway responsible for transporting liquids, saliva, and chewed-up food from the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal cancer occurs when tumor cells form and grow in the esophagus or its lining.
While tea and coffee are generally regarded as healthy beverages when consumed in moderation, their caffeine and antioxidant content could potentially raise the risk of disease. However, it is the temperature of these drinks that appears to be the key factor. Drinking very hot tea, coffee, or hot water can cause damage to the esophagus and triple the risk of developing cancer. To reduce your risk, allow your drink to cool down before taking that first sip. Research shows that those who prefer warm brews have a 2.7 times higher risk, while those opting for very hot brews are 4.1 times more susceptible to developing cancer.
One journal also noted that coffee enthusiasts who smoked were at a higher risk compared to non-smokers. Additionally, individuals who preferred caffeinated hot drinks demonstrated a stronger genetic association with the disease compared to those who favored decaf beverages.
Why Does Drinking Hot Tea and Other Beverages Lead to Cancer?
While further research is needed to fully understand the connection between drinking hot tea, coffee, and an increased cancer risk, one theory suggests that very hot beverages can cause damage to the esophagus lining and make it more susceptible to cancer-causing substances like alcohol and cigarette smoke. Moreover, adding sugar to these beverages can further compromise their nutritional value, resulting in more harm than good.
However, it’s not all bad news for coffee lovers. When consumed in moderation, coffee can have beneficial effects. Some studies have even shown that drinking three cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as type 2 diabetes.
Other Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer
It’s important to note that drinking hot tea or coffee alone does not directly cause cancer. If you regularly consume hot beverages and also engage in other risk factors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, you may be at a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Tips for Reducing Cancer Risk
To minimize the risk of various types of cancer, it’s crucial to adopt a combination of lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake are essential steps. Additionally, allowing your beverages to cool down before consumption is advisable. Alongside these measures, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can lower your overall risk of disease.
So, the next time you’re tempted to reach for a hot cup of tea or coffee, think twice and give it a chance to cool down before indulging. Your health is worth the wait!