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Coffee With a Side of Cancer?

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In a world where googling a headache will tell you that you have a brain tumour and mentioning a cough has you in the x-ray department checking for a tumour, we as humans are constantly paranoid that the symptom we hope is ‘nothing’ could be serious and life threatening. It almost seems that everything can give us cancer and there’s no way of stopping the very common and confusing disease. Of course cancer is an incredibly real disease – some cases are treatable and some not. But most importantly sometimes it is preventable, following the advice and drawing upon the knowledge of those specializing in the area.

Many theories exist in terms of dietary ways to prevent the big C including having more super foods in your diet (garlic, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, carrots, spinach), having an alkaline diet (less meat, more plant based foods = lower acid), minimal sugar, and less foods containing preservatives. The latest that has emerged is from the UN’s cancer agency.
They’re saying that if you like your coffee hot, hot, hot then that’s bad, bad, bad.

“Drinking very hot beverages at above 65 C was classified as ‘probably’ carcinogenic to humans.” (IARC)


Previously the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considered coffee a possible carcinogenic, first announcing it in 1991. This has been reconsidered as it’s been more recently found to not be bad, and rather a little coffee is good for you (and I don’t just mean in the way it stops you from going on a murderous streak when you miss your cup in the morning.)

What the dilemma is though, is how hot you have your daily cuppa. Researchers have found that there is a correlation between the consumption of Mate (which is a hot herbal drink drunk at steaming hot temperatures) and cancer of the oesophagus. Oesophageal cancer is common in South America, coincidentally where Mate is most regularly consumed.

“Studies in places such as China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and South America, where tea or mate is traditionally drunk very hot (at about 70C) found that the risk of oesophageal cancer increased with the temperature at which the beverage was drunk,” – IARC.
Although the study was based on limited evidence from epidemiological studies, it’s much better to be safe than sorry, right? Try adding a little more milk to cool it down, or let it sit for a few moments if you prefer it black.