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By Kris Gunnars
Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
It is more than just dark-colored liquid with caffeine. Coffee actually contains hundreds of different compounds, some of which have important health benefits.
Several massive studies have now shown that the people who drink the most coffee live longer and have a reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer's and diabetes.
Coffee Is a Major Source of Antioxidants
When hot water runs through the coffee grounds while brewing, the substances in the coffee beans mix with the water and become part of the drink. Some of these substances are well known, including caffeine, but there are hundreds of other compounds in there as well, many of which science has yet to identify.
Many of these compounds are antioxidants that protect our bodies from oxidation, which involves free radicals that damage molecules in the body. Without getting into complicated details, oxidation is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and common diseases like cancer and heart disease.
When you're treating yourself to a cup of coffee, you're not only getting caffeine but a whole bunch of other beneficial compounds, including powerful antioxidants.
Several Massive Studies Show That People Who Drink Coffee Live Longer Than Those Who Don't
There are several studies showing that when people drink coffee, they have a lower risk of dying from a range of serious diseases.
A groundbreaking study, the largest of its kind, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012: Freedman ND, et al. Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality. New England Journal of Medicine, 2012. In this study, 402,260 individuals between 50 and 71 years of age were asked about their coffee consumption.
The results were fairly remarkable. After following the people for 12-13 years, those who drank the most coffee were significantly less likely to have died. As you can see from the graph, the more coffee people drank, the lower their risk of death was.
The sweet spot seems to be at 4-5 cups per day, where men had a 12 percent reduced risk and women a 16 percent reduced risk. Drinking six or more cups per day provided no additional benefit.
However, even moderate consumption of coffee (one cup per day) was associated with a 5-6 percent reduction in risk of death, showing that even a little bit is enough to have an effect.
Although these numbers may seem small, given how incredibly widespread coffee consumption really is, this could have implications for millions of people.
When they looked at particular causes of death, they found that the coffee drinkers were less likely to die from infections, injuries and accidents, respiratory disease, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. The benefit does not appear to be attributable to the caffeine, because both decaf and regular coffee had the same effect.
Of course, this is a so-called observational study, which can not prove that coffee caused the reduction in risk. But it is a good reassurance that coffee is, at the very least, NOT the villain it has been made out to be.
Many Other Studies Have Lead to Similar Results
So, not only does coffee add years to your life, but it may also add life to your years.
Coffee is full of powerful antioxidants. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Coffee Is Super Healthy
Despite having been demonized in the past, coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. Period.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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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.