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7 Foods That Protect Your Skin from the Sun's Harmful Rays (You'll Love #5)
Now that summer has arrived, sun protection is a must. Most of us are used to reaching for sunscreens, wide-brimmed hats and protective sun gear. While chronic UV exposure is the most predictive factor for skin diseases, we know that inflammation, oxidative stress and DNA damage all play an important role in determining how extensive the damage from the sun can be.
Marilyn Barbone / Shutterstock
Fortunately, these foods can help you guard against these risk factors and protect your skin against the sun's harmful rays.
1. Olive Oil
High in vitamin E and polyphenols, daily ingestion of unheated olive oil can protect your skin. Vitamin E has been shown in numerous studies to protect against oxidative stress and reduce photo damage from UVB radiation. A number of studies have come out recently pointing to the sun-protective benefits of topical olive oil use, as well. Add one tablespoon of a cold-pressed olive oil to your salads or sprinkle it on your already cooked or roasted veggies. This popular oil should be a part of your daily summer diet and summer skin care.
Well-known now for containing omega-3 fats, walnuts have also been found to protect your skin. Walnuts help the cells in your outer layer of skin fight UV radiation by preventing cell breakdown, or apoptosis. Grab a handful of walnuts for a skin-protecting snack on the go, or grind walnuts in your food processor or blender to add to summertime dips and sauces.
Apples have the highest concentration of polyphenols of any fruit, which means they are a powerhouse when it comes to summer skin care. Polyphenols are plant-based compounds that help regulate inflammation, oxidative stress and the immune system. An apple a day this summer can protect your skin and your immune system.
4. Tea and Coffee
Another source of polyphenols, tea and coffee also act as antioxidants that can boost skin health. A recent study found that daily coffee consumption protected a group of Japanese patients from photo-aging and hyper-pigmented sunspots, due to the drinks' high polyphenol content—another reason to keep drinking your daily cup of coffee, even in the summer heat.
5. Red Wine
While many of us avoid wine because we are limiting calories or sugar, red wine does have high polyphenol content. No excuses needed here. Consider having two to three glasses of red wine a week for an additional alternative source of antioxidants.
Broccoli, like apples, is a polyphenol champ. It's the vegetable with the highest count of polyphenols. As a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli also fights inflammation, with recent studies showing broccoli sprouts to be helpful in protecting against cancer. A compound in broccoli, sulphorane, has been shown to activate our skin's defense system when we are exposed to UV light.
This kitchen favorite may be the most protective herb when it comes to sun protection. Basil contains an antioxidant zeaxanthin that helps filter UV light from the retina, protecting your eyes.
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market. Cirou Frederic / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.
By Kerstin Palme
Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.
But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.
Volvo introduced its first-ever all-electric vehicle this week, kicking off an ambitious plan to slash emissions and phase out solely gas-powered vehicles starting this year.
The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.