Can Drinking Hot Tea Cause Cancer?

Women Enjoying Tea

Drinking hot tea itself is not inherently a direct cause of cancer. However, there has been some research suggesting a potential association between very hot beverages (including hot tea) and an increased risk of certain types of cancer, particularly esophageal cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified very hot beverages (above 65-70 degrees Celsius or 149-158 degrees Fahrenheit) as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This classification is primarily based on evidence suggesting a potential link between the repeated consumption of very hot beverages and an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

High temperatures can potentially damage the cells in the esophagus when hot beverages are consumed frequently at very high temperatures over an extended period. This repeated exposure to heat might lead to irritation and damage to the lining of the esophagus, increasing the risk of developing cancerous changes over time.

It’s important to note that the risk of developing cancer from drinking hot tea or other hot beverages depends on various factors, including the temperature of the beverage, the frequency of consumption, individual habits, genetics, and other lifestyle factors.

To reduce any potential risk associated with hot beverages:

  • Allow hot drinks to cool to a more moderate temperature before consumption.
  • Avoid consuming very hot beverages if you have a history of esophageal issues or are at a higher risk for esophageal cancer.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle to reduce overall cancer risk.

Moderation and balance are key principles in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While enjoying hot tea in moderation is unlikely to significantly increase cancer risk, allowing it to cool down to a more comfortable temperature may be a practical measure to reduce any potential risks associated with very hot beverages.

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