Drink Four Cups of Coffee a Day and You Could Live Longer, Study Says

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iStock

If you drink at least one cup of coffee per day, you're in the company of 54 percent of American adults who do the same. Raise your daily consumption levels any higher and you'll venture into the territory of more devoted coffee fanatics. But enjoying coffee in moderation isn't the only way to reap the beverage's health benefits. As one study suggests, having four cups of coffee a day can lower your risk of early death.

The new research, which was released by the European Society of Cardiology, includes data from nearly 20,000 participants in Spain. The volunteers entered the study at an average age of 37.7 years old and were asked about their food and coffee-drinking habits as well as their health history and lifestyle choices.

After about 10 years, the subjects were revisited. Researchers found that those who reported drinking at least four cups of coffee a day were 64 percent more likely to avoid dying early than those who barely drank coffee at all. With each additional two cups the study participants consumed per day, their risk of all-cause mortality was cut by another 22 percent.

Lead study author Adela Navarro told The Telegraph that these results are likely tied to coffee's anti-inflammatory properties. Coffee is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which help prevent a variety of ailments like heart disease and Alzheimer's. The work of such compounds is most notable in coffee drinkers over a certain age, according to the study. While participants age 45 and older lowered their risk of dying by 30 percent with each additional two cups of coffee they drank, the younger subjects showed no significant correlation.

Of course, any new study that touts the life-saving benefits of coffee must be weighed against previous research on the negative effects of caffeine addiction. That means you shouldn't automatically boost your coffee intake to four cups a day and expect to get healthier without changing other aspects of your lifestyle. But if those four cups are already a part of your routine, you can continue to chug them down relatively guilt-free.

This Outdoor Lantern Will Keep Mosquitoes Away—No Bug Spray Necessary

Thermacell, Amazon
Thermacell, Amazon

With summer comes outdoor activities, and with those activities come mosquito bites. If you're one of the unlucky people who seem to attract the insects, you may be tempted to lock yourself inside for the rest of the season. But you don't have to choose between comfort and having a cocktail on the porch, because this lamp from Thermacell ($25) keeps outdoor spaces mosquito-free without the mess of bug spray.

The device looks like an ordinary lantern you would display on a patio, but it works like bug repellent. When it's turned on, a fuel cartridge in the center provides the heat needed to activate a repellent mat on top of the lamp. Once activated, the repellent in the mat creates a 15-by-15-foot bubble of protection that repels any mosquitos nearby, making it a great option for camping trips, days by the pool, and backyard barbecues.

Mosquito repellent lantern.

Unlike some other mosquito repellents, this lantern is clean, safe, and scent-free. It also provides light like a real lamp, so you can keep pests away without ruining your backyard's ambience.

The Thermacell mosquito repellent lantern is now available on Amazon. If you've already suffered your first mosquito bites of the summer, here's some insight into why that itch can be so excruciating.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

“They Will Catch on Fire”: Michigan Library Asks Patrons Not to Microwave Their Books

Burning books may kill coronavirus germs, but at what cost?
Burning books may kill coronavirus germs, but at what cost?
Movidagrafica Barcelona, Pexels

Last month, the Plainfield Township branch of the Kent District Library (KDL) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, took to Facebook to share a cautionary tale about burning books.

It wasn’t a summary of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, nor did it have anything to do with a metaphorical protection of free speech. Instead, the post showed a scorched edition of Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber, which had apparently been microwaved in an ill-conceived attempt to burn off any coronavirus germs.

As the post explained, each book is outfitted with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag—a more efficient alternative to barcodes, which must be scanned individually and at close range. But since RIFDs contain metal, “they will catch on fire in the microwave.”

“I don't know if it was something that they saw on the news—that they thought maybe the heat would kill COVID-19,” the library’s regional manager Elizabeth Guarino-Kozlowicz told the Detroit Free Press.

Exposure to high heat could indeed kill the virus. According to the World Health Organization, temperatures of 132.8°F or above can eliminate the SARS coronavirus, which behaves similarly to this newer strain (SARS-CoV-2). That said, we still don’t know exactly how heat affects SARS-CoV-2, and nuking a novel is a horrible idea no matter what.

Food & Wine reports that KDL workers are quarantining all returned library books for 72 hours to make sure all coronavirus germs have died before checking them back into the collection. As for the fate of the charred volume, KDL told Mental Floss that the borrower has been billed for it. After they pay the fine, they’ll get to take it home for good.

If you’re worried about borrowing contaminated books from your own library, you can always call first to find out what safety guidelines they’re following. Or, you could stick to e-books for a while—here are five free ways to get them.

[h/t Food & Wine]