I’m always interested in reading articles that speak to tea’s amazing effects on reducing cancer risk. Needless to say, when I came across some research out of Peking University regarding esophageal cancer, I was quite disturbed.
Upon reading the article, however, I think I understand why drinking hot tea would be a culprit. The study was conducted looking at 3 risk factors: 1) Hot tea drinkers 2) Heavy alcohol consumption and 3) cigarette smoking. It takes all 3 variables to contribute to an increased prevalence of esophageal cancer. If you take a moment to consider this, it doesn’t take a research project to come to this conclusion. Imagine a person who has been drinking and smoking to excess. Enter tea – or any excessively hot beverage. The hot liquid would burn the delicate tissue as it runs through the esophagus. Cigarette smoke certainly causes inflammation of the tissues and then the burn from a hot liquid – bingo, the damage to the cells would be swift and with repeated exposure, this is a scenario that would encourage cancer cells to dominate.
The researchers conclude that merely drinking hot tea does not, in and of itself, increase one’s risk for this type of cancer. Did we really need a study to come to that conclusion? When one isn’t drunk, it’s easy to learn to wait a bit before drinking our freshly brewed tea so we don’t burn ourselves. It would be interesting to see if these same effects and conditions apply to coffee consumption. Now that would have made a fascinating comparison.