Drinking Lots of Coffee Won't Damage Your Arteries, According to a New Study

iStock/ozgurcoskun
iStock/ozgurcoskun

If you need a pot of coffee to make it through the day or have a reserved table at your local coffee shop and worry about what all of that caffeine might be doing to your heart, you may find encouraging news coming out of the British Heart Foundation. Researchers at the organization have found no evidence linking excessive coffee consumption—even up to 25 cups a day, though no one is recommending that—with an increased risk of stiffening arteries, which can lead to heart problems like heart disease or a heart attack.

The data was presented this week at the British Cardiovascular Society Annual Conference and based on a review of 8412 UK residents. The study examined previous research linking coffee ingestion to hardening of the arteries and compared the heart scans of people who drank less than one cup of coffee a day, between one and three cups a day, and more than three cups a day. Researchers found no increased risk of hardening arteries in the group drinking more coffee, which even held true for the small number of the participants who reported drinking up to 25 cups daily.

The study, which has not yet been published or peer-reviewed, was looking only at the link between stiffened arteries and coffee consumption. The idea that guzzling coffee is safe for your heart should not be construed to mean it’s safe overall: a 2017 analysis of over 400 studies on the detrimental effects of coffee found that drinking up to 400 mg daily, or roughly four 8-ounce cups, was tolerable for most people, but that tolerance can vary. One cup might make someone restless, while someone else might not see any adverse effects until they hit cup number four.

People with certain medical conditions, like high blood pressure, should be careful to watch their consumption. Individuals with other chronic conditions should always consult a physician before making caffeine a daily part of their routine. Like most things, it’s best enjoyed in moderation.

[h/t CNBC]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

The Right Way to Clean Your Face Mask

Properly cleaning your face mask is important to keep it free of infectious material.
Properly cleaning your face mask is important to keep it free of infectious material.
mikography/iStock via Getty Images

In an effort to slow the transmission of coronavirus in public settings, health officials are advising that people unable to practice social distancing wear a cloth face mask. While not as effective at filtering respiratory droplets as medical-grade masks, cloth masks are still recommended as a practical preventative step.

Like all apparel, masks get dirty. They absorb sweat and germs, and they need to be cleaned. But how?

According to National Geographic, the best way to clean a cloth face mask is to take the same approach as the rest of your laundry—toss it in the washer. Laundry detergent is effective against coronavirus because the pathogen is encased in a layer of oily lipids and proteins. Detergents and hand soaps contain surfactants, which reduce the surface tension of the fatty layer. The surfactant molecule is attracted to oil and grease on one end and water on the other. The end that disrupts the oil bursts the coronavirus envelope apart. Tiny pods of surfactant called micelles trap and wash the remnants away. It’s this activity, not the water temperature, that kills the virus, though using a higher dryer temperature can destroy most microorganisms that might be lingering.

Bear in mind there’s a recommended way to take off your mask. Make sure your hands are clean, then pull it off using the straps behind your ears. This avoids contaminating the mask—and your face—with any pathogens that might be on your hands.

Medical-grade masks are trickier, as they’re intended to be used only once and can’t stand up to a wash cycle. If you have an N95 or paper mask, you can set it aside for several days, at which point the virus is likely to become inactive. But keep in mind that health officials still aren’t entirely sure how long coronavirus can persist on surfaces, and it’s possible for a mask to collect particles over time, increasing the viral load.

But what about the rest of your clothes? Experts say not to worry so much about disrobing the minute you get home. The coronavirus likes moisture and dries out quickly on fabrics. You need to be careful with the material covering your face, but the rest of your outfit can wait until your regularly scheduled laundry appointment.

[h/t National Geographic]