Research Points to a Link Between Hot Drinks and Cancer
Now this is a bit alarming. The World Health Organization is saying that there might be a link between drinking hot beverages and having an increased risk of getting esophageal cancer when compared to people who drink the same drinks colder. The researchers aren’t exactly sure why this would be the case, but think it could have something to do with very hot drinks causing damage to the cells in the esophagus.
A panel of 23 scientists looked at some different studies that had already been done and found three different studies with results that pointed toward this discovery. According to Mariana Stern, Ph.D., who is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Southern California and one of the members of the WHO panel; drinking beverages hot could more than double the risk of getting esophageal cancer.
According to the report drinks that are above 149 degrees F are in the danger zone. Most people of course, probably have no idea how hot their coffee is, but the study also mentions than on average a brewed at home cup is around 140 degrees F, which is within the safe zone. On the other hand, some coffee machine companies say the average is closer to 170 or 190 and that it only drops a bit when it is transferred from the pot to your mug, so in that case drinking it right away could potentially lead to some issues.
This holds true for any kind of drink, not just coffee. Water boils at 212 degrees so if you’re making tea and drinking it really soon after it boils you might be putting yourself within the zone of unnecessary risk as well.
However, it is also important to keep in mind that the overall risks of esophageal cancer are relatively small overall. According to the National Cancer Institute the risks are only around .5 percent. Not to mention, the benefits of drinking coffee and tea are quite high so this should not be taken as word to avoid either.
Coffee has also been shown to decrease the risks of certain cancers, including liver cancer and melanoma. Other studies have shown coffee to be effective at reducing or preventing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Tea has plenty of health benefits as well. It can help to decrease the blood pressure, as well as lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. Tea is a great source of antioxidants and may also be able to help you lose weight by stimulating the metabolism.
Adding to all of this the factors that end up leading to cancer are not entirely understood and they are multifaceted, which is why one person engaging in risky behavior will not necessarily have an issue while others who try to do everything “right” will. It’s more like a reminder that anything done to the extreme can have its negative consequences which is always a responsible thing to keep in mind.
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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.