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Take the Steam Out of Tea Time

Tea is the drink of choice for more than a billion people. Recent decades have borne witness to a raft of research suggesting that sipping the ancient beverage brings certain health perks. But it is best to brew your cuppa and then let it cool. In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers in Iran found that among more than 50,000 people, those who regularly sipped nearly 3 cups per day of tea that was warmer than 60 degrees Celsius (considered very hot) had a 90% higher risk of developing esophageal cancer than those who drank less tea at more lukewarm temperatures. It is reasonable to believe that temperature is the issue rather than the type of beverage. Heat trauma to the esophagus may alter cell functioning, leading to heightened cancer risk, in much the same way that sunburn raises the chances of developing skin cancer.

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