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The aftermath of wildfires in Evia island, Greece in August 2021. Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Even if global temperatures start to decrease, after peaking this century due to climate change, biodiversity risks are likely to persist for decades, a new study by London’s Global University (UCL) and University of Cape Town researchers finds. The potential impacts on biodiversity were modeled against pre-industrial levels if temperatures increased by more than 2°C (35.6°F), before beginning to fall again.

Climate change and all of its anthropomorphic influences are already facing a biodiversity crisis, with mass dieoffs — such as hundreds of migratory birds falling out of the sky in the Southwest in 2020. Altered reproductive events and species distributions are also among existing ill impacts.

Even if global temperatures start to decrease, after peaking this century due to climate change, biodiversity risks are likely to persist for decades, a new study by London’s Global University (UCL) and University of Cape Town researchers finds. The potential impacts on biodiversity were modeled against pre-industrial levels if temperatures increased by more than 2°C (35.6°F), before beginning to fall again.

Climate change and all of its anthropomorphic influences are already facing a biodiversity crisis, with mass dieoffs — such as hundreds of migratory birds falling out of the sky in the Southwest in 2020. Altered reproductive events and species distributions are also among existing ill impacts.

In 2015, the Paris agreement was signed in an attempt to reduce global warming below 2°C. Since greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, many scientific models now analyze decades-long overshoots of this limit. The effects of potential carbon dioxide removal technology were also factored into this model, targeting the offset of harmful temperature increases by 2100. 

A Return to Pre-Overshoot ‘Normal’ Is Uncertain at Best

Researchers studied more than 30,000 species in habitats globally and discovered that for a quarter of the areas examined, the chances of reversing the damage to pre-overshoot “normal” are either nonexistent or uncertain.

“We found that huge numbers of animal species will continue to endure unsafe conditions for decades after the global temperature peak,” said co-author Dr. Alex Pigot (UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, UCL Biosciences). “Even if we collectively manage to reverse global warming before species are irreversibly lost from ecosystems, the ecological disruption caused by unsafe temperatures could well persist for an additional half century or more.”

Researchers also looked at the possibility of CO2 emissions continuing to grow until 2040, then dipping after 2070 due to carbon cut efforts and carbon dioxide removal technology deployment. That means for several decades during this century, global temperatures would breach 2°C but fall after 2100. Researchers analyzed how quickly a species in any given location may become exposed to harmful temperatures, how long that would persist, the numbers of species it would affect and whether or not any return to “normal” were possible.

Most Species in Tropical Regions Threatened With Volatile Conditions

For most locations, dangerous temperature exposure will occur suddenly as species are pushed outside their thermal niche limits. Researchers also found that any return to comfortable thermal niches for these species would be gradual, lagging drastically behind global temperature decrease — due to volatile climatic conditions and impacts on ecosystems. The overshoot for biodiversity risks was determined to range from 100 to 130 years, twice longer than the actual temperature overshoot.

Regions facing the most impact include tropical locations for more than 90% of species in the Central Indian Ocean, the Indo-Pacific, Northern Australia and Northern Sub-Saharan Africa, all pushed beyond their thermal niches. In the Amazon, the team found more than half of all species will be exposed to volatile climate conditions. For almost 19% of all locations examined, including the Amazon, uncertainty surrounds the potential of returning to pre-overshoot levels; while 8% of regions may never return to those levels. The globe may likely face irreversible species extinction and ecosystem transformations.

Avoiding Temperature Offshoot Takes Priority

“Our findings are stark,” said co-author Christopher Trisos (African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town). “They should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse.”

Carbon dioxide removal technologies and nature-based solutions, such as afforestation, are also associated with potential negative impacts, shared lead co-author Dr. Joanne Bentley (African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town). Dr. Bentley warned that if the 2°C global warming target is overshot, the loss of biodiversity could compromise the ecosystem services humanity relies on for its livelihood. She advised that avoiding temperature overshoot should be the top priority, then limiting the magnitude and duration of any overshoot.

The research was funded by a collaboration between the African Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. The paper was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

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Look for peanut butter with a short ingredients list. Sanny11 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Peanut butter is a beloved childhood staple that is just as tasty whether you are five, 50 or 105. However, not all peanut butters have the same nutritional value. 

Unfortunately, many manufacturers include additives that are unnecessary and negatively affect the nutrition you should be getting when eating a healthy peanut butter. Below, we’ll guide you on what to look for when selecting a healthy peanut butter and provide a few recommendations.

Peanut butter is a beloved childhood staple that is just as tasty whether you are five, 50 or 105. However, not all peanut butters have the same nutritional value. 

Unfortunately, many manufacturers include additives that are unnecessary and negatively affect the nutrition you should be getting when eating a healthy peanut butter. Below, we’ll guide you on what to look for when selecting a healthy peanut butter and provide a few recommendations.

What Type of Peanut Butter Is Healthiest?

What makes peanut butter healthy? Here are two solid indicators that you’ve selected a healthy peanut butter:

  1. Peanuts are the first ingredient. Since ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, it’s a good sign to see peanuts listed first.
  2. A short ingredients list. Some stores allow you to grind your own peanuts into peanut butter. However, in most cases, you should look for a label with just a few ingredients. A little salt is okay. Some peanut butters have natural sugar included but shouldn’t have added sugar listed. Oils are unnecessary.

A label that says “natural” can be a mixed bag, depending on your standards for good health. The FDA has a specific policy regarding manufacturers using the word “natural” on their products: Nothing synthetic or artificial, including additives, should be included in the food product that you wouldn’t expect to be there. 

You will still see ingredients like sugar and palm oil sometimes listed on some ingredient lists. Some “extra” ingredients are considered to be natural derivatives, although they are processed ingredients. Some brands claim the sugar is naturally occurring. Others say adding sugar helps prevent separation. Most say that sugar in peanut butter makes the peanut butter better suited for baking.

A brief PB PSA: Don’t be afraid of the oil you find on top of peanut butter. It’s a sign that your peanut butter is natural and has no unnecessary additives that keep it from separating. All you have to do is stir it. Refrigerating your peanut butter also helps prevent separation.

Now that you know what to look for in a healthy peanut butter, let’s get to the recommendations we have for five of the healthiest peanut butters on the market.

1. Smucker’s Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Nutrition Snapshot:

Every two tablespoons: 180 calories

16 g fat (2 g saturated)

55 mg sodium

5 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar)

8 g protein

Ingredients: Peanuts

Well-known among peanut butter brands is the name Smuckers. This organic creamy peanut butter is simple and only contains peanuts. The sodium is naturally occurring. However, Smuckers also makes a natural creamy peanut butter that contains added salt with a sodium count of 110 milligrams.

2. Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter

Nutrition Snapshot:

Every two tablespoons: 180 calories

16 g fat (2 g saturated fat)

0 mg sodium

6 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar) 

8 g protein

Ingredients: Peanuts

Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter has been around since 1893. There’s a rumor going around that Crazy Richard’s manages to get exactly 540 peanuts into every jar of peanut butter it makes, and that’s all! If you’re looking for a pure product, this is it. No sugar. No salt. No oil.

3. MaraNatha Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

Nutrition Snapshot:

Every two tablespoons: 190 calories

16 g fat (2 g saturated)

80 mg sodium

7 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar)

8 g protein

Ingredients: Organic dry roasted peanuts, sea salt

MaraNatha uses a double-grind process to make its peanut butter extra creamy. No oils necessary. The inclusion of sea salt adds extra oomph to the flavor without being too salty.

4. Once Again Organic Creamy Salt Free Unsweetened Peanut Butter

Nutrition Snapshot:

Every two tablespoons: 190 calories

14 g fat (2 g saturated fat)

0 mg sodium

7 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar)

8 g protein

Ingredients: Organic peanuts

While there is no salt, there is a little sugar. Again, the little bit of sugar is natural to the product and could be helpful for those looking for peanut butter that’s a little healthier and good for baking. 

5. Wild Friends Classic Creamy Peanut Butter

Nutrition Snapshot:

Every two tablespoons: 190 calories

16 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat)

95 mg sodium

7 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar)

8 g protein

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sea salt

Wild Friends Classic Creamy Peanut Butter is also good for baking due to its slight sugar content. It also contains a little sea salt for taste. Another perk of this creamy peanut butter is its fiber content, which is good for gut health.

What Ingredients Should You Avoid in Peanut Butter?

The unhealthiest peanut butters add unnecessary ingredients that do nothing for nutritional value:

  • Added sugar
  • Lots of salt
  • Vegetable oil or palm oil
  • Trans fats
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An array of fresh herbs including rosemary, basil, sage and oregano. fcafotodigital / E+ / Getty Images

The human virome is made up of an estimated 380 trillion viruses, some of which harm the body and others that may benefit the body by coexisting within it. As much as half the stuff in your body, such as viruses and bacteria, may not be your own biological matter. From birth, viral infections serve an important part in human disease and survival. 

A 2006 workshop at the National Institutes of Health analyzed the impact of globalization on infectious disease emergence. It notes that plague epidemics in colonial African cities were closely tied to the advent of the steamship and increased travel and trade. Similarly, we live in a fast-paced technological age with a high population density with shifting commodities, food and capital moving across political borders. Pathogens can easily hitch global rides, as evidenced by the spread of the coronavirus.

The human virome is made up of an estimated 380 trillion viruses, some of which harm the body and others that may benefit the body by coexisting within it. As much as half the stuff in your body, such as viruses and bacteria, may not be your own biological matter. From birth, viral infections serve an important part in human disease and survival. 

A 2006 workshop at the National Institutes of Health analyzed the impact of globalization on infectious disease emergence. It notes that plague epidemics in colonial African cities were closely tied to the advent of the steamship and increased travel and trade. Similarly, we live in a fast-paced technological age with a high population density with shifting commodities, food and capital moving across political borders. Pathogens can easily hitch global rides, as evidenced by the spread of the coronavirus.

Can our immune systems keep up with the speed with which we live our lives? Recent viral outbreaks following the advent of globalization and modern travel also means that we must shift our attention to newer ways of safeguarding public health. Sometimes, that means returning to older ways. Here are six impressive herbs with antiviral activity to include in your diet and home remedies.

1. Sage

Sage is a part of the mint family and often used in traditional medicine to treat viral infections. A 2014 review published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine discusses the therapeutic potential of the sage species which may provide natural solutions for the relief or cure of life-threatening diseases like dementia, lupus, heart disease and cancer. Sage also can be used to treat common illnesses.

Aqueous extracts from sage, peppermint and lemon balm present significant anti-HIV-1 activity by raising the virion density, according to 2008 findings published in Springer Nature’s Retrovirology. HIV-1 was severely impaired once treated with Lamiaceae extracts (from the mint plant family).

The antiviral activity of sage is linked with safficinolide and sage one which are found in the stem and leaves of the plant, according to a 2017 analysis of the pharmacological properties of sage. These findings were published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.

2. Oregano 

Oregano is also a plant with antiviral properties, thanks to the chemical compound carvacrol that belongs to the mint family. Both oregano oil and carvacrol decreased the activity of murine norovirus (MNV) within 15 minutes of exposure to the virus. MNV is extremely contagious and a main cause of stomach flu. These results were published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology in 2014.

Oregano oil and carvacrol also reveal antiviral activity when it comes to the herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rotavirus. The findings were published in the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology in 2011.

3. Fennel

Fennel is a member of the carrot family that tastes like licorice. Studies show it demonstrates antiviral activity against certain viruses.

A 2014 test-tube study revealed that fennel extract presents potent antiviral activity against parainfluenza type 3 (PI-3) and herpes viruses. PI-3 contributes to respiratory infections in cattle. The findings were published in Biomedical Research International.

Fennel essential oil contains the chemical constituent trans-anethole, which also presents antiviral effects against herpes, according to an article published in Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2011.

The Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology reports animal research conducted in 2015 demonstrates the potential of fennel to decrease inflammation and boost the immune system, thereby fighting off viral infections.

4. Garlic 

Garlic is a member of the Allium family and related to shallots, chives, leeks and onions. It’s a popular remedy for many conditions, such as viral infections.

An older study published in the International Journal of Dermatology analyzed the efficacy of garlic extract applied to warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) twice daily. All 23 participants found that their warts were eliminated in just one to two weeks.

A review on the therapeutic effects of garlic conducted in 2014 suggests that garlic presents antiviral activity against viral pneumonia, influenza A and B, HIV, HSV-1 and rhinovirus. The results were published in Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine.

Garlic also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that stimulate an immune system response which could protect the body against viral infections, according to findings published in the Journal of Immunology Research. However, these results were based on animal and test-tube studies, not human trials.

5. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a part of the mint family known for its lemony zest and taste. It’s commonly used in dressings, seasonings and teas. It also contains potent medicinal qualities, including plant compounds that benefit the body through antiviral activity. These compounds have shown efficacy against the influenza A virus, according to 2016 findings published in Virusdisease.

Additionally, test-tube studies have revealed the antiviral activity of lemon balm against herpes, HIV-1, enterovirus 71 and bird flu. These results were published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry in 2021.

6. Basil

Particular varieties of basil, especially holy and sweet basil, could effectively combat viral infections. 

Holy basil is also commonly known as tulsi and may improve immune response to viral infections, inhibiting the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 Spike S1 and ACE2. The compound eugenol is responsible for augmenting the immune system in this study, according to findings published in the 2021 Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

Sweet basil extracts, that include the compounds ursolic acid and apigenin, have been shown to exhibit powerful antiviral effects against hepatitis B, herpes and enterovirus. These results were reported in an older comparative study published in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology.

A clinical four-week study found that those who supplemented with 300 milligrams of tulsi extract experienced raised levels of natural killer and helper T cells. These are immune cells that defend the body against viral infections. The systematic review was published in 2017 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Much progress has been made in drug development and immunization, but antiviral therapies that match the pace of human evolution are lacking in our fast-paced global society. The discovery and development of novel antiviral drugs, especially from natural herbal sources, is a vital next step in pharmacology.

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