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!

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