If You Drink Your Coffee Like This, Your Cancer Risk Could Skyrocket, Study Says
That morning pick-me-up could be presenting a serious risk for your health, experts warn.
For many people, the day doesn't officially start until that first cup of coffee has been poured. Unfortunately, while many people may savor this morning ritual, if you're taking your coffee in one particular fashion, you could be significantly increasing your cancer risk, researchers say. Read on to discover if your preferred preparation of that morning pick-me-up could be putting your health in jeopardy and how you can keep yourself safe.
Drinking your coffee or tea too hot could increase your risk of certain cancers.
If you love starting your morning with a piping hot cup of coffee, you may be inadvertently increasing your risk of certain types of cancer by indulging in this habit on a regular basis.
A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Cancer analyzed a group of 50,045 adults between 45 and 75 years old for 10 years. The researchers found that those who drank 23.7 oz. of tea a day at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above had a 90 percent greater risk of developing esophageal cancer than those who consumed their beverages at temperatures classified as either "lukewarm" or "cold."
While the study looked at tea drinkers specifically, it was the temperature of the beverage that seemed to increase risk, so the results are likely similar for coffee drinkers as well.
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Allowing your coffee or tea to cool before drinking it may mitigate this risk.
If you want to enjoy your coffee or tea without putting your health at risk, waiting a few minutes until it's cooled down can make a major difference in the cancer risk it presents.
"Drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking," the study's lead author Farhad Islami, MD, PhD, scientific director for cancer disparity research at the American Cancer Society, said in a statement.
Don't feel like waiting for your coffee or tea to cool down on its own? Adding a splash of cold or room temperature milk may sufficiently reduce your drink's temperature to a point that it no longer presents a risk to your digestive tract.
However, adding sugar to your coffee presents its own risks.
Unfortunately, adding sugar to your coffee may present its own problems for your health. In addition to adding calories to your beverage and presenting potential problems for anyone with blood sugar issues, a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that consumption of dietary sucrose was also associated with higher incidence of esophageal cancer.
While drinking iced coffee may seem like a safer bet than a piping hot beverage in terms of esophageal cancer risk, experts from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) say that many sugary iced drinks could actually present a cancer risk of their own.
"If you are having them regularly then they will increase the chances of you becoming overweight, which in turn increases your risk of developing cancer, as well as other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes," Rachel Thompson, PhD, science program manager at WCRF, said in a statement.
But drinking coffee may reduce your risk of other cancers.
If you're worried that your morning pick-me-up just isn't worth it, there's some good news. In fact, if you can stomach a not-quite-piping cup of coffee without added sugar, the benefits may outweigh the risks.
According to a 2016 study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, drinking just one or two cups of coffee a day was linked to a 26 percent reduction in colon cancer risk.