In the news: problems at the Global Seed Vault

Within the Arctic lies the Global Seed Vault, an impenetrable deep freeze housing the seeds of the planet’s most valuable foods. Since melting water from the permafrost began to flood the access tunnel, it is to benefit from an upgrade costing millions of dollars.

Although the seeds remained undamaged, the incident has challenged the belief in the vault being a failsafe installation, guarding the planet’s food supply indefinitely. The vault, which is owned by the Norwegian government is to spend $4.4 million in improvements.

Buried 130m under a mountain near Svalbard, the vault contains approximately a million variety of seeds, all belonging to an invaluable food crop. The seed vault has been open since 2008 and was intended as a safeguard to protect against natural and human disasters.

But planners failed to anticipate unseasonably warm weather after what became the warmest year on record. This has led to the permafrost not establishing itself in the way it was planned. A group is now to investigate solutions to tackle the rise in water resulting from the hotter climate experienced on Svalbard.

A major problem has proven to be the design of the tunnel accessing the vault. At present it slopes downwards towards the main door. Any accumulation of water in the tunnel is therefore carried downwards, towards the seed collection. A solution would be to redesign the tunnel to slope upwards towards the entrance.

A spokesperson for the Norwegian government explained that the tunnel was designed in such a way as to be a practical method of entry to the vault, with the understanding that the permafrost would keep it safe. However, with the permafrost now not acting in the way it was expected to, the spokesperson acknowledged that something else should be done with the access tunnel.

To begin with, $1.6 million is to be invested to investigate methods to upgrade the tunnel, the results of which should be available by spring 2018. A further $4.4 is being invested now for current improvements, this is in addition to the original $9 million in construction costs for the vault.

Heat which was being released from a transformer station, has been stopped by moving the station away from the tunnel. The situation is also being alleviated by the introduction of drainage ditches in the mountain side above the vault. For additional protection, within the tunnel itself, waterproof walls are to be built.

These measures provide the basis of a precautionary approach, enabling long term additional security for the vault.

Intended to work independently of human involvement, the seed vault currently requires 24 hour monitoring, with pumps ready to extract any water accumulations. An ideal temperature of -18C is needed to keep the seeds safe.

Originally a coal mine, the Global Seed Vault was intended as a contingency to preserve precious seeds in the event of a worldwide disaster. The idea being that survivors from a global catastrophe could come to the vault and re-populate the planet with crops.

While juicer science is decidedly mixed, the practice of juicing has value in increasing nutritional intake

We know that it’s recommended to eat 6 to 8 portions for fruit and vegetables each day, however only a handful of people actually manage to eat that much. Juicing is a great way to consume a lot more fruit and veg in a simple and convenient way. Juicing is great for your health because you can absorb the nutrients that the vegetables contain much more easily and you are able to add a greater range of produce into your diet.

While juicing fruits is popular, anyone who has hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes should limit their use of fruit as their sugar content can exacerbate these conditions. Limes and lemons are the exception since they have virtually no fructose and they can be used to reduce the bitter flavor found when juicing the most beneficial leafy green vegetables.

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How To Get Started With Juicing

When you’re starting out with juicing, choose organic produce when you can. When juicing vegetables, it makes sense to start with the ones that can be tolerated and digested easily such as fennel, cucumber and celery. While these are not as packed with nutrients as dark leafy veg, they will allow you to adapt to the new lifestyle and then you can begin to add more nutritious vegetables to your juice such as Romaine, endive, spinach, escarole and red leaf lettuce. You can then begin to introduce cilantro, parsley and other herbs into your juice and finally, the bitter greens like kale, dandelion greens, collard greens and mustard greens.

You can balance their flavors with lemon or lime for a better taste. Alternatively, try adding a few cranberries or a small amount of fresh ginger which adds a kick while helping to boost cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol and prevent oxidation of LDL.

What Else Do You Need To Know About Juicing?

To get the most out of juicing, you can’t simply drink it. Here are some other things you should be aware of.

Don’t Cleanse – Supplement

If you already eat a balanced diet, juicing is able to give you a nutrient rich, low fat energy boost. However, as a meal replacement it just doesn’t work. Juice is digested quickly and will make you so hungry that you’ll end up bingeing. Going on a juice fast may also give you unstable levels of blood sugar together with lightheadedness and headaches.

Choose The Best Ingredients

There are some vitamins which can be absorbed more easily when consumed as a juice including vitamins B and C. However some, such as vitamins K, E and A are better absorbed when they have undergone the complete digestion process. Others, like tomatoes, are more nutritionally valuable when they have been cooked.

Get The Mix Right

Vegetable juice takes some getting used to and experimentation is the key. Begin by adding 2 cups of greens with a single piece of fruit and then play with your ratio, perhaps adding some cinnamon for a little extra taste.

Drink Fast

If you prepare a large batch of juice at one time, it will have lost a lot of its nutritional value before you get around to drinking it. Drink it straight away for the optimal benefits.

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Which Are The Best Juicers?

Breville Compact Juice Fountain 700 Watt Juice Extractor

If you need a compact juicer to sit on your bench that won’t take up too much room in your kitchen, this juicer from the well known Breville brand is a great choice and is very affordable. Hardworking and convenient, this model is simple to use and produces juice quickly. It is easy to store and easy to clean, which explains its high popularity.

Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850 Watt Juice Extractor

If you need a quality juicer, this is the ideal machine for you. With the perfect balance of efficiency, speed, durability, price and simplicity, this centrifugal juicer is the best all rounder. Simple to use and quick and easy to clean, this juicer produces delicious juice in no time.

Super Angel All Stainless Steel Twin Gear Juicer

If you want to invest in the best possible juicer that money can buy, this all stainless steel model is stylish and offers impressive performance. Durable and long lasting, this juicer is simple to maintain and produces pure tasting juice. It is also ideal for juicing the nutritious leafy greens, making it a fantastic option when it comes to improving your health.

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New research indicates increased health benefits for people who consume more than 5 servings of produce per day

We all know about the benefits of eating 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, however if we all eat as many as 10 we could live a longer life. In a study carried out by London’s Imperial College, it was revealed that changing to this way of eating could cut the number of premature deaths by 7.8 million cases.

There are also specific vegetables and fruits which have been linked a reduced risk of developing heart disease or cancer, and even consuming small amounts can be beneficial to the health, although eating more is always better. A portion is 3 oz, which equates to a pear, small banana of 3 tablespoons of peas or spinach.

A lower risk of cancer has been linked to eating green vegetables like spinach, yellow vegetables like peppers and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower. Meanwhile, a reduced chance of a stroke or heart disease was linked to consuming apples, citrus fruits, salads, leafy green veg, cruciferous vegetables and pears.

To include more produce in your diet you can begin the day with a breakfast of a vegetable packed omelette full of tomatoes, avocado and spinach, and then lunch on a salad. Dinner can be a stir fry or stew and you can snack on peppers and hummus or fruit smoothies. Another great way to consume a lot more fruit and veg is to invest in a juicer as you can enjoy delicious fruit and vegetable juices which are nutritious and a convenient way to consume large amounts in one go.  Consuming produce of different colors is best.

Compared with people who eat no vegetables or fruit, people who include 200 grams in their diet reduce their chance of getting cardiovascular disease by 13%, cancer by 4% and of dying prematurely by 15%. By upping the amount they consume to 800 grams, they can cut those figures to 28%, 13% and 31% respectively.

Fruit and veg reduces blood pressure and cholesterol while boosting the immune system and the health of the blood vessels thanks to the nutrients they contain. Their many antioxidants reduce damage to DNA to reduce the chance of developing cancer.

Many people, however, find it difficult to even manage 5 portions per day and in the UK only around 1 in every 3 people gets enough. To make it easier, try to have 1 or 2 days without any meat during the week and gradually phase in more vegetables over the rest of the days. Pulses also count, and this makes it even easier to consume enough. By eating a minimum of 5 portions per day you can improve your health considerably, and by eating even more you can make yourself even healthier. It is also important to teach children from an early age about the importance of eating enough fruit and vegetables, and to do this most effectively, you should lead by example.