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We've always suspected it, but now scientists have confirmed that dog owners are more likely to have better cardiovascular health.

The research was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings and involved 1,769 people between 25 to 64-years-old, living in Brno in the Czech Republic.

Each participant had to provide information on their BMI, diet, physical activity levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, if they smoked or not and their fasting blood sugar levels.

42 percent of the candidates owned a pet of some sort, with 24 percent of people owning a dog and 17.9 percent owning another animal.

The American Heart Association heart score system test was used, looking at seven changeable risk factors of heart health.

Dog owners were more likely to exercise, have an ideal diet and blood glucose level than those who didn't, but they were more likely to smoke for some reason. They still scored better overall for cardiovascular health, however.

The study authors cautioned: "The higher smoking rates among dog ownership attenuates the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health."

Existing evidence links dog ownership to better mental and physical health, so it makes total sense.

Study co-author Andrea Maugeri commented in a statement: "In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level.

"The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level."

Research claims that getting a pooch could be a useful way to boost heart health, and an important way to tackle the prevalence of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US alone, causing one-in-four deaths each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Senior investigator Francisco Lopez-Jimenez stated that owning dogs has previously been linked to better mental health and feeling less lonely, both of which are assumed to decrease the risk of heart attacks.

One study published last year in the journal BMC Psychiatry, which examined 17 existing papers concluded having a pet could help the symptoms of mental illness.

Philippa Hobson, senior cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation, told Newsweek: "Whether you're a pet-owner or not, physical activity can benefit your heart in lots of different ways.

"Just spending 10 minutes a day walking around the block is good for your heart health."

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So, you might want to re-think your skinny coffee order, because new research suggests that full-fat milk is not the artery-clogging devil liquid we were once led to believe it was. 

In fact, the study conducted at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that full-fat milk can actually promote good heart health.

The team of researchers discovered that non-skimmed dairy could boost levels of 'good' High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Their report stated: “Dietary guidelines have for decades recommended choosing low-fat dairy products due to the high content of saturated fat in dairy known to increase blood concentration of LDL cholesterol .

“But studies show no association between overall dairy intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and even point to an inverse association with type 2 diabetes.”

The finding directly contradict decades of dietary advice, with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk often being hailed a healthier alternative to its full-fat counterpart.

“Our findings suggest whole milk might be considered a part of a healthy diet among the healthy population,” the study concluded.

What's more, in 2016, the same team found eating low-fat cheese did not reduce cholesterol, cut blood pressure or help to trim the waistline.

RIP to all the pizzas and chocolate milkshakes we've refused over the years – it was all in vain. 

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Cranberries generally have a lot of health properties. The superfood helps fight against cancer, controls cholesterol and it even helps you lose weight.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to make this tasty juice, then we’re not sure what is!

Ingredients:

  • 600g frozen cranberries, thawed (or fresh if you prefer)
  • 1.5l water
  • 200g sugar

Method:

  1. Place the cranberries and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to medium heat and cover loosely.
  3. Simmer 10 min. until the cranberries have burst.
  4. Strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth.
  5. Try no to press on the fruit to extract more juices, it will make the juice cloudy.
  6. Pour the strained juice back into the sauce pan and add sugar.
  7. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 min.
  8. Let cool to room temperature before cooling the the fridge.
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