A massive review of over 1,000 studies brings both good news and bad news for coffee drinkers.
We’ll give you the bad news first…
There’s one thing you should never do with your coffee. Don’t drink it piping hot. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that drinking very hot beverages likely causes throat cancer.1
The WHO warned that hot drinks can cause chronic irritation of esophagus tissue. This can result in the development of malignant cells.2The group has classified very hot beverages as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Esophageal cancer kills almost 16,000 Americans a year.3
How Hot Is Too Hot?
A panel of global experts says coffee, tea, or other beverages should be below 149 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe.4
How hot is 149 degrees? Coffee comes out of most coffee makers at about 180-185 degrees, according to the National Coffee Association. McDonald’s serves it at 170 degrees. Water comes out of most households taps at about 140.
So a good rule of thumb is to wait until your coffee cools to the temperature of hot tap water before you start sipping it. If you don’t want to wait, you can always add an ice cube.
The Good News for Coffee Drinkers
Here’s the good news: The WHO has reversed its stance that coffee may cause cancer. In 1991, it classified coffee as “possibly carcinogenic.” But since then, a large body of research has found coffee is actually a health elixir. Studies show it fights heart disease, diabetes, and even several types of cancer.
In the face of that evidence, the WHO confirmed not only that coffee does not cause cancer… They say it actually lowers risk for two types of malignancies. Regular coffee drinking may prevent liver and uterine cancers, the group said.5
The WHO said coffee drinkers’ risk of liver cancer decreases 15% for each cup a day they drink.6
They believe that coffee could fend off a wide range of other cancers as well. But they said more studies are needed for confirmation.
It’s not clear how coffee fights cancer. But the researchers note coffee produces “strong antioxidant effects.” It also promotes the death of cancer cells in laboratory animal studies.
Several study reviews involving millions of people have found that coffee drinkers live longer.
What the healthiest type of coffee? Choose organic, dark roasted beans. A study at the University of British Columbia found that dark roasts have higher antioxidant levels.7
So drink coffee for your good health… Just make sure it’s not too hot.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch