The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food from out throat to the stomach. Based on current statistics, cancers of this tube kill more than half a million people worldwide every year. There are many factors that have been thought to trigger esophageal cancer; nutritional deficiencies, infections and dietary toxins. Despite the wide speculative belief that it's alcohol and tobacco that cause throat and esophagus cancer, other populations have also had a high rate of this disease; populations that do not drink or smoke. It is with a new study that a new risk has finally come to light. There has been a rise in esophageal cancer among countries where it is traditional to drink black tea above 70ºC (or 158ºF).
Testing & Studies in Temperature of Teas
Iranian researchers have found that drinking this hot tea can be linked to the increased odds of developing cancer of the esophagus and they have provided what most believe is the most conclusive research; the hypothesis that thermal injury can cause cancer. Northern Iran has one of the highest rates of the most common types of esophageal cancer. It is here that a team from the University of Tehran set up a case controlled study of a single area in northern Iran, the Golestan Province, to better understand the spread of esophageal cancer.
The team found that smoking tobacco products and drinking alcohol is an uncommon trait in this population but tea drinking is common. Past studies did not provide suitable data. It was difficult to distinguish whether the negative factors of tea drinking were because of drink temperature or type of beverage consumed. There was also insufficient evidence where the temperature of the tea was rated by the drinker without independent confirmation.
A Difficult Test Procedure Finally Pays Off
To address the issues of the previous studies, the researchers studied tens of thousands of people in the Golestan Province. The subjects of the study drank, on average, a liter of black tea per day each, and temperatures, along with the speed at which it is drunk, were measured. The study has now been printed in the BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal). Professor Reza Malekzadeh, the leader of the researchers, explains that "Our results showed a noticeable increase in risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma associated with drinking hot tea." The team discovered that the tea itself did not constitute a risk of cancer, but as the temperature increases so does the risk.
Common Sense Might Just Save You from Cancer
Having tea around 65ºC compared to consuming tea above 65ºC but below 70ºC increases odds of esophagus cancer twice, while consuming tea at over 70ºC increases the risk eight times over. The time in which the hot tea was drunk also plays a part. Drinking tea about four minutes after it's poured decreases the chances of developing esophagus cancer. This can be seen as using common sense and it should be taken to heart. It is best to allow five to ten minutes between making and pouring a hot beverage and this not only applies to tea, but any high temperature food or drink. Any hot beverage or food should be allowed to cool before drinking or eating to better protect your esophagus, and lessen the risk of cancer. Adding milk to hot drinks such as tea and coffee, as is common practice in the West, adequately cools the beverage enough to eliminate the risk.
When it comes to the amount of speculation, experimentation, research, clinical studies, and proven benefits of green tea, --it's almost intimidating getting to know all the facts. The main conclusion here is that green tea is good for you; it has anti-aging qualities, and prevents various illnesses. One example, and possibly the most serious of these kinds of health problems, is cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of early death currently. According to statistics, around three hundred people die of cancer every day, --and those numbers just cover the United States. But there's good news, because the antioxidants in green tea help prevent various kinds cancer, among other health problems.
Green Tea & Lung Cancer
Most forms of cancer are preventable, --not curable, but preventable, through clean living, not smoking, and basically, just keeping your body in good condition. And we all admit, that's easier said than done. Not everyone wants to wear sunscreen, even though it can prevent melanoma, and not everyone wants to quit smoking, --even though smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. As it turns out, green tea might even be able to help smokers protect themselves from lung cancer.
Research on Green Teas Preventative Qualities
The scientists at the Toxicology Research Center in Korea have studied the effect of green tea on the lungs; they've found that it may protect the delicate tissues of the lungs, even under the heavy damage done by smoking. The four groups tested in the study were smokers consuming green tea, smokers who consume coffee, non-smokers, and smokers who consumed neither green tea nor coffee; all the smoking participants had been smoking for around 13 years. Rest assured, they weren't working with people who had just bought their first pack of smokes.
After six months of drinking 2 or 3 cups of green tea every day, the smokers returned, along with the other groups, for evaluation. This group, showed about as much SCE, (sister chromatid exchange) as non-smokers, making a significant reduction. This was the stand-out result; the other three groups weren't as impressive. SCE, by the way, is a cell process that is linked to the growth of tumors. Obviously, if green tea reduces the growth of tumors in the lungs, it's going to start becoming a lot more popular with smokers.
How You Can Stay Healthy with Green Tea
The scientists conducting the study concluded the same thing; smart guys, aren't they, --that green tea was preventative of lung cancer, even among smokers. And drinking coffee has no real effect on SCE levels, --so if you were worried that coffee causes cancer, feel free to keep drinking it. On the other hand, you may want to switch to some high quality green tea instead. It has just become extremely important that smokers drink green tea, --but not just people who smoke. Everyone is at risk for various kinds of cancers, so if green tea can actually help us prevent cancer and keep our bodies in good shape, we need to be drinking more.