Am I Cooked? Hot Tea and Other Risks

blues travelerOh I like coffee...

...and I like tea

Blues Traveler--1994

Coffee drinkers are rejoicing. A UN study shows no increased cancer risk for java juicers, no matter how many jolts of Joe you go for in a day. So until the next study comes out disputing these findings --give it a week or two--Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and McDonalds can keep your magic elixir flowing. But for me, the news was not so good.

Other than enjoying an occasional scoop of Baskin-Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge  and a rarer slice of tiramisu, I keep away from coffee.  It isn't the caffeine I am avoiding, I just have under-developed coffee savoring taste buds. But I revealed my little secret here a few months ago. I am a tea tippler (though not a teetotaller.) And I like it hot. Microwave my tea? You have got to be kidding. "Instant" hot water? Not a chance. I require either a steaming tea pot  on the stove or my high powered electric kettle to give me the boiling brew I crave.

And that's the problem. The UN study points at the temperature of beverages as a risk factor for cancer. Drinks over 150° F appear to be the culprit, and here I am gulping down about 6 cups of tea a day, as close to 212° as humanly or mechanically possible. I have accepted the risk of a burned lip or a scalded tongue, but am I really ready to increase the chances of esophageal carcinoma? I choose to believe my non-smoking and less than average alcohol imbibing life style make the risk of esophageal cancer pretty low. Add in the lack of family risk factors and I think I am safe enjoying my cups of tea.

Prostate disease is a different matter. Knowing I have the genetic risk factor, I do occasionally consider how my diet effects my chances of prostate cancer. Tomatoes seem to have some preventive effect, validating my love of pizza and a good Caprese Salad. All the other fruits and vegetables I munch on also may also offer some protection. It would be beneficial if I could once more wean myself from red meat, but I returned to that indulgence many years ago. At least we have replaced beef hamburgers at home with Barb's 5 Star turkey burgers, and I haven't seen the inside of McDonalds for years. If only I could give up those tasty, garlicky, SuperDawgs.

While we are talking prostate cancer, just a plug for the SEABlue Prostate Cancer Awareness Run on September 11 in Lincoln Park. Donations are still gratefully accepted. Just click on the link. You will have my thanks!

Donate to SEABlue.

Also--our easy music quiz is still going on!  Don't miss a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card.
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