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The Surprising Link Between Hot Tea and Cancer

By Kate Gardner 

Most of what we hear about staying healthy is old news, right? Eat well, exercise, see your chiropractor. We know these things. But every once in a while researchers and doctors stumble across a new piece in the health puzzle which takes us by surprise, and this is one of those times.

Recent research published in The International Journal of Cancer has found that drinking really hot tea is connected to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. If you're like me, you're floored. Isn't tea supposed to be good for you? The short answer: Yes, it is. Tea contains important antioxidants and, with less caffeine, it can be a better choice if you're the kind of person who needs to sip on something all day. Drinking green tea throughout the day has also been linked to a lower risk of heart attack and lower LDL cholesterol levels.

The key here is the temperature of the tea.

The Study

In the past, researchers had seen a relationship between hot tea and higher levels of esophageal cancer, but no one knew quite what it meant. How hot did the tea have to be? How much did a person have to drink? This latest study looked to answer these questions. Over 50,000 people were followed for about 10 years. They provided information regarding the temperature of their tea, how much they drank, and how long it usually took them to drink their tea after they poured it. Those who drank more than about three cups of tea a day that were hotter than 145 degrees Fahrenheit had a 91 percent greater risk of developing esophageal cancer. 

Esophageal Cancer

Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is not uncommon. This type of cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death and affects people around the world. Symptoms of esophageal cancer include: 

  •  Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Indigestion/heartburn that gets worse

There are several known risk factors for developing esophageal cancer, including tobacco use and drinking alcohol. In the U.S., about 1 in 132 men and 1 in 455 women will develop esophageal cancer in their lifetime. Survival rates for patients with esophageal cancer have risen in the last several decades as new and better treatments have been found. 

If you're concerned about your tea drinking habits or esophageal cancer, talk with a healthcare provider. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in North Richland Hills, Tex. 

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