Coach Alicia Fong

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Health tip for week Jun 13th

Benefits of owning a pet

We all know that owning a pet is work especially a dog and it’s all about unconditional love, but it also provides few health benefits to pet owners:

1)       Decreases Stress

In a 2002 study at State University of New York at Buffalo, researchers found that when conducting a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a spouse, family member or close friend was nearby. Promises Treatment Centers, which specializes in addiction, not only recommends its patients consider getting a pet, but even allows pets in its rehabilitation facilities, according to David Sack, MD, CEO of Promises. “One of Promises’ core beliefs is that we need to remove obstacles that prevent people from getting help,” Dr. Sack says. “We are committed to making Promises a safe and reassuring homelike environment. And what could be more like home than to have your pet accompany you?”

2)      Lowers Blood Pressure

While some studies have found a stronger connection than others, having a pet has the potential to lower blood pressure, especially in hypertensive or high-risk patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “If you have a dog around, your blood pressure is lower,” says Marty Becker, DVM, veterinary consultant for Good Morning America and author of the upcoming book Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual. “

3)      Eases Pain

Believe it or not, pets can be the best medicine, especially when a person is dealing with chronic pain such as migraines or arthritis, says Dr. Becker. “Just like Valium, it reduces anxiety. The less anxiety, the less pain,” he says. One study from Loyola University found that people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery may need significantly less pain medication than those who do not.

4)      Lowers Cholesterol

According to the CDC, another heart-healthy result of owning a pet is lower cholesterol. People who own pets–and men, in particular–have significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those who don’t have pets.

5)      Improves Mood

A lot of the health benefits of owning a pet may stem from the mental and emotional benefits. “People who have pets are less harried; there’s more laughter in their life,” says Dr. Becker. “When you come home, it’s like you’re George Clooney. You’re a star.” This is a primary reason pets are used in various forms of therapy. “At Walter Reed Army Medical Center, they’re using dogs to help soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder,” says Katy Nelson, DVM, associate emergency veterinarian at the VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. “They’re finding the guys who have a pet are able to re-enter society a little bit easier. They’re showing a decreased suicide rate, one of the biggest health threats [veterans] face. These guys who have a pet have someone they’re responsible for, someone who cares about them. And they don’t have to explain what they’ve been through.”

6)      Helps People Socialize

While it may seem a bit counterintuitive, owning a dog actually increases a person’s opportunities to socialize, according to Michael Landa, CEO of natural pet food brand Nulo and founder of Los Angeles–based dog-walking service The Pet Staff.  If you own a business, it also helps you meet prospects.  A 1999 Canadian study found that pet owners were more ‘socially engaged’ than non–pet owners. In addition, an Austrian study “found that pet ownership led to an increase in social contact, more socialization within neighborhoods [such as neighbors chatting as they walk their dogs], and even a greater perception to observers that the neighborhood seems ‘friendly.’”

7)      Prevents Strokes

Although dogs are often touted for their health benefits, cat owners can see gains, too. Felines are just as beneficial to your health as dogs. “If you have a cat, you’re 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke,” Dr. Becker says. In addition, pets can aid in the recovery of a heart attack. “If you have a heart attack and you have a dog, you are [significantly more] likely to be alive a year later,” Dr. Becker says.

8)      Prevents Allergies and Improves Immunity

Dr. Becker says pets can dramatically improve immunity and prevent allergies. “A study found that children ages 5 to 7 from pet-owning households attend school three weeks more per year than those who don’t have pets,” he says. He also says that the more pets you have earlier in life, the fewer allergies you will develop. “Kids who grow up on farms and around animals don’t have allergies,” he says. “That dander on that hair, that’s natural immunotherapy.” But he notes that this effect is not reversible: Getting a pet as an adult will not minimize allergies, it only helps prevent certain allergies from developing in children.

 

June 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health tip for week June 6th

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Be aware that high fructose corn syrup will be renamed to “corn sugar”.

The new name “corn sugar” was submitted to the federal government for permission to be used in food labels by the Corn Refiners Association. They have leverage with the government and it is most likely to be approved so look forward to the new label. Don’t mistaken by thinking it’s different. It’s the same and is very bad for you.

What is exactly high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)?

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a man-made sweetener that is found in a wide range of processed foods, from ketchup and cereals to crackers and salad dressings. It also sweetens just about all of the (regular) soda Americans drink. HFCS used in foods is between 50 to 55 percent fructose—so chemically, it’s virtually identical to table sugar (sucrose), which is 50 percent fructose. Metabolic studies suggest our bodies break down and use HFCS and sucrose the same way.

Why is it bad for you?

Research has shown that “high-fructose corn syrup” goes directly to the liver, releasing enzymes that instruct the body to then store fat! This may elevate triglyceride (fat in blood) levels and elevate cholesterol levels. This fake fructose may slow fat burning and cause weight gain. Other research indicates that it does not stimulate insulin production, which usually creates a sense of being full. Therefore, people may eat more than they should. Indications also are that the important chromium levels are lowered by this sweetener which may then contribute to type 2 diabetes. Obesity is a contributor too.

HFCS is easy to transport in tanker trucks. It isn’t susceptible to freezer burn, as is sugar. It has a long shelf life and keeps foods from becoming dry. It gives bread and baked products a wonderful color. It’s also cheaper than white sugar, partly because of generous federal subsidies and trade policies that encourage farmers to grow more corn. Fast food chains add it to their products because it is cheaper. It’s in the sauces, in the condiments, in the breadings, in the buns and in the drinks. It is the commercially preferred artificial sweetener by mist food manufacturers.

June 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment