Not so fast! Cool down your tea before drinking it.
Can’t wait to sip your freshly made hot tea in the morning? Researchers say to wait until it cools down a little – you may be raising your risk of throat cancer.
A new study, done in Northern Iran, found that drinking extremely hot tea (70°C or more) can increase the risk for a certain type of oesophagus cancer.
The study examined the drinking habits of 300 people diagnosed with oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), which is the most common type of oesophagus cancer. They also included 571 healthy individuals for the control group. The participants drank black tea everyday, with the average consumption about one liter a day.
Drinking warm or lukewarm tea (65°C or less) and hot tea (65-69°C) made the risk of oesophageal cancer twice as likely, while drinking very hot tea increased the risk by eight times.
They also found that drinking very hot tea even two minutes after pouring still increased the risk by five times.
“Our results show a strong increase in the risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma associated with drinking hot or very hot tea,” said the authors.
Researchers state that a person should wait at least four minutes before delving into their hot beverage.
“These results provide persuasive evidence that drinking tea at temperatures greater than 70°C markedly increases the risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma,” says David Whiteman from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia.
Cancers of the oesophagus kill more than 500,000 people worldwide each year but the researchers say that these findings are not cause for alarm. They do, however, suggest that a person wait until their freshly poured tea cools down a little where it won’t burn your tongue or throat.