Hot tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages around the world especially in the winter season as it can be of great help when trying to stay warm and fighting colds or soothing a sore throat.
Additionally, drinking tea can also help in relaxing after a day full of work as well as give an energy boost during lunch break or in the morning almost instant. Some people cannot even imagine leaving their homes without having a cup of tea!
According to Euromonitor International, 2.9 million tons of tea was consumed in the year 2016 alone.
However, there is a new study suggests that hot tea may actually have harmful effects. This might come as a surprise since tea is considered a healthy drink due to the presence of antioxidants such as polyphenols.
What can hot tea do?
The study from Peking University in Beijing, China has concluded that the temperature of the tea at the time of consumption may matter a lot more than people think particularly in certain people who have a higher risk of negative health impacts.
Jun Lv – the lead study author who is a doctoral student at the Peking University’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics discovered that hot tea may be linked to an elevated risk of esophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer is among the most widely diagnosed types of cancer in the United States. Around 45,547 people in the US had this type of cancer in 2014, and there were approximately 16,940 new cases of esophageal cancer diagnosed in 2017.
In accordance with the World Cancer Research Foundation Fund International, esophageal cancer is the eight most prevalent types of cancer around the globe.
Drinking hot tea has been linked to esophageal cancer in the people who also drink alcohol and smoke by Lv, who states that both of the habits provide a favorable situation for the disease to develop and progress.
The research was held as a part of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and National Key Research and Development Program and was published in Annals of Internal Medicine journal.
What did the study show?
In the study, the team of researchers looked at the link between the risk of esophageal cancer and drinking tea at considerably high temperatures in China.
China is among the countries with the highest number of esophageal cancer cases. It is also by far, the biggest consumer of tea in the world.
The research showed that Chinese men are specifically more likely to smoke and drink alcohol along with having tea at very high temperatures.
According to the team conducting the research, the amalgamation of compounds present in very hot tea, alcohol, and tobacco may start impacting the health and the body eventually.
The researchers also took into account the participants of the China Kadoorie Biobank study which was primarily conducted to know more about the onset and progression of chronic health conditions and diseases such as diabetes and cancer in China.
The participants who had been diagnosed with cancer were excluded along with the ones who had decreased their consumption of alcohol and tea as well as left smoking.
Around 456,155 adults between the ages of 30-79 were observed for nine years and during this time period, 1,731 of the participants were diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
Thus, the team found that there was a positive correlation between the increased risk of esophageal cancer and drinking very hot tea, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
What were the effects?
The people who had their tea at hot temperatures while smoking and having alcohol as well had a fivefold increase in their chances of developing esophageal cancer in comparison with other participants who did not do so.
The participants who drank hot tea but did not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol did not have the same effect and did not have a higher risk of esophageal cancer. This means that the combined effect of all the mentioned habits may be a big risk factor.
The team suggests people be more careful of the temperature of their cup of tea especially if they smoke or drink regularly. It is better to give up on smoking/drinking. For the people who find it hard to do so, avoiding burning-tea is an alternative solution.