With August 26th being National Dog Day, we wanted to share the health benefits that dogs (and pets in general) have on humans. Anecdotal and scientific evidence have shown that dog owners tend to be healthier than the average person. Here are a few ways that living with a dog might keep you healthy:
- They keep you moving and active: This is no surprise to dog owners that frequently walk or exercise with their pets. According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Public Health, children with dogs spent more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than children without dogs. Additionally, a 2006 study done by Canadian researchers at the University of Victoria, dog owners were more likely to participate in mild to moderate physical activity. They walked an average of 300 minutes per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 minutes per week.
- Dogs are allergy fighters: Although due to contrary belief, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with "furred animals" -- whether it's a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals -- will have less risk of allergies and asthma as they become adults.
- Dogs and the elderly: Studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home. Caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet. Walking a dog or just caring for a pet -- for elderly people who are able, can provide exercise and companionship.
- Depression reducers: Studies in AIDS patients and the elderly have shown that each group is far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. The benefit is especially pronounced when people are strongly attached to their pets and have a an animal to take care of in their life. Studies have found that pets give purpose.
- Good for the heart: Several studies have found that heart attack patients who have pets, survive longer than those without. Also, male pet owners have less sign of heart disease, lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Beet Juice? Who knew? Beet juice is a dietary source of the molecule nitrate. When converted in the body, nitrate can dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow, both important factors for exercise performance. In a new study from American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, healthy male subjects who drank beet juice for 15 days had lower blood pressure and more dilated blood vessels at rest and during exercise. Blood vessels also dilate more easily and the heart consumed less oxygen during exercise with beet juice consumption. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that beet juice can be used as a dietary nutraceutical supplement to enhance oxygen delivery to the muscles and reduce the work the heart does during exercise. Exercise can be "performed at a given workload for a longer period of time before the onset of fatigue," the researchers added. Talk to your doctor about healthy ways you can improve your workouts.
We know that breastfeeding infants has a healthy impact on the child’s growth, but a series of recent studies presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's Annual Meeting report that an infant's immune system development and susceptibility to asthma and other allergies may be influenced by a number of factors that shape what bacteria is in their stomach, such as gestational age at birth, breastfeeding and delivery by Cesarean section. Similar studies have supported this claim. In June 2014, Medical News Today reported on a study published in the journal Allergy and Clinical Immunology, in which researchers found exposing babies to bacteria and allergens in the first year of life may reduce the risk of allergies, wheezing and asthma later in life. Additionally, several studies are also showing breastfed babies are at lower risk of pet-related allergies. Studies go on and on. Your doctor can tell you more about the health benefits to breastfeeding, for both mother and child. So feel free to ask!
Blueberries are not only popular, but repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries have been enjoyed by Native Americans for hundreds of years and have been enjoyed around the world in cuisines from Asia to the Mediterranean. What's New and Beneficial About Blueberries With their nervous system and brain benefits, research has shown that blueberries can improve memory. In a study involving older adults, 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve scores on two different tests of cognitive function including memory. While participants in the study consumed blueberries in the form of juice, three-quarters of a pound of blueberries were used to make each cup of juice. As participants consumed between 2 to 2-1/2 cups each day, the participants actually received a very plentiful amount of berries. The authors of this study were encouraged by the results and suggested that blueberries might turn out to be beneficial not only for improvement of memory, but for slowing down or postponing the onset of other cognitive problems frequently associated with aging. Have you eaten your blueberries today? Ask your doctor about additional benefits of blueberries and other super foods.
We’re in full swing - Summer! While sunny skies and warm temperatures do more than make our environment a pleasant place. They also provide some very significant benefits to our health and wellbeing. Sunlight helps to regulate almost all our bodily processes, as well as acting as psychological encouragement to improve our lifestyle. Here are a few more reasons summer is great for your health:
- There are Reduced Rates of Heart Attacks in the Summer Research indicates that you are less likely to die of a heart attack in the summer than in the winter. In a study of almost 11,000 people who had heart attacks over a period of nine years, survival rate increased by 19 per cent if the attack occurred in the summer. Higher levels of Vitamin D - which is synthesised by sunlight - are also thought to play a protective part in those who suffer heart attacks.
- People eat more fruit Rising temperatures and increased availability of summer fruits make it easier to fulfil the recommended quota of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. They also boost the immune system and, because of their low calorie content, help with weight loss.
- Relieves skin complaints Controlled exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can have a therapeutic effect on skin complaints such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis.
- Increases agility The summer is an excellent time to begin an exercise programme. Not only do summer clothes provide an incentive to get the body in shape, but the feel-good factor created by sunlight boosts our enthusiasm to begin a fitness regime. Exercise is not only the most effective way to burn up excess calories, but also improves the vital flow of oxygen to the brain, lowering stress levels and improving powers of concentration.
- Increases our water consumption Water is vital to thousands of chemical processes that take place in the body's cells to enable it to function. These include promoting digestion, regulating body temperature, improving the health and vitality of our skin and flushing toxins from the body. In the summer months we are more inclined to drink the recommended two litres of water a day needed for optimum health.
- Helps to regulate sleep disorders Waking up to the sun and getting early-morning exposure to its light can help those suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia. This is because sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock reset itself. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of sunlight between 7am and 9am each morning to help those who have problems getting to sleep at night.