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Good News: Cats Are Good For Your Health

Good News: Cats Are Good For Your Health

Scientists studying the human-animal bond have discovered there are health benefits of owning a cat. Yes, even that belittled “black cat” can be good for you!

1. Help your cardiovascular system

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    Studies at the University of Minnesota determined those who did not own cats were 30-40% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners were. (Sorry, dog owners, you don’t see the same benefit.) The chance of death from sudden heart attack is reduced, too, for cat owners. A study funded by the NIH determined that pet owners were more likely than non-owners to survive a heart attack, regardless of the severity of that attack.
    Other research suggests that owning a cat compares favorably with going on a low-salt diet for reducing heart disease risk.

    2. Help your immune system

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      The immune system gets a boost from the feeling you get just by owning a cat. Owning a cat may lead to improved social support, reduced depression, and more laughter, play and exercise – all of these help your immune system function better.
      And cats can tell when you’re not feeling well. They help you get better by coming to comfort you.

      3. Avoid allergies and respiratory problems

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        Children who are raised around cats (and dogs) develop immunity to allergens at an early age. The incidence of respiratory problems, including asthma, is reduced in children exposed to cats early in their lives.
        As a bonus, children raised with pets appear to develop greater empathy for the feelings of others and relate better to other people.

        4. Lower your blood pressure

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          Petting your cat is calming and reduces your blood pressure. Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo found lower blood pressure in the study subjects who owned pets compared with those who did not.

          5. Lower your cholesterol and triglycerides

          Diet and exercise go a long way toward reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but owning a cat helps, too. A 2006 Canadian study found owning a cat lowered cholesterol better than even some medications.

          6. Reduce your stroke risk

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            A University of Minnesota study determined cat ownership can reduce your stroke risk by up to one-third!

            7. Heal your bones and muscles

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              Cats purr at a frequency between 20-140 Hz, which is known to have therapeutic effects. Bones heal best at 25 Hz and 50 Hz frequencies (and 100 Hz and 200 Hz are also helpful). Soft tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments heal faster at these frequencies. And infections and swelling are also healed in this frequency range.

              8. Reduce anxiety and stress

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                In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, with more work and less socializing, interacting with a pet brings play-time and creativity back into your life. Caring for your cat and cuddling with your cat take your mind off your own worries and reduce your levels of anxiety and stress.

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                9. Improve your mood, relieve depression

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                  Cats may have the reputation of being solitary, unsocial animals but cat owners know this is not the case. The love and companionship of a cat helps you feel better about life in general and can lift your mood and lessen feelings of depression.

                  10. Reduce loneliness

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                    Having a person-cat connection is a form of social interaction. If your group of friends is small, or far away, your cat can help relieve your feelings of loneliness. If you come home to an empty house at the end of the day, spending time with your cat can uplift your mood.
                    Families today are smaller and often far apart. Empty-nesters fulfill the need to nurture and find a reason to get up in the morning by owning a cat. The social support provided by your pet may encourage you to interact more with other people.

                    11. Therapy pets reduce medical expenses

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                      People who own cats make fewer doctor and hospital visits. When they do visit the hospital, they are discharged earlier. Overall, their medical expenses are reduced.
                      Therapy dogs are fairly common in nursing homes and special-needs schools, but there are therapy cats, too. Cats know who needs a good purring!

                      12. Exercise

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                        Cats don’t need as much exercise as dogs, but they still love to play. Make your cat your exercise buddy and help him bat a toy mouse around! Watch your cat and learn how to stretch! Observe how many times your cat stretches – and when he does it – and join in!
                        The “pet effect” can improve your quality of life. Cats may not be able to confer their “9 lives” onto their owners, but you can improve the one life you do have by sharing it with a cat!

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                        Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                        Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                        To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                        Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                        1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                        Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                        Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                        To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                        2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                        Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                        If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                        Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                        3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                        Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                        Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                        4. Feed Your Brain

                        Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                        This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                        Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                        Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                        5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                        According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                        Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                        Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                        6. Write it Down

                        If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                        It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                        You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                        7. Listen to Music

                        Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                        8. Visual Concepts

                        In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                        Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                        Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                        9. Teach Someone Else

                        Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                        Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                        10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                        Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                        So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                        Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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