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Pet Owners Shown to Have Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

A recent analysis performed by researchers at the American Heart Association suggests that having a pet may actually reduce a person's risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

After analyzing the data from multiple studies, the researchers found three main contributors to a lower risk of heart disease:

1. Dog owners are 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily exercise than non-dog owners.

2. An act as simple as stroking a pet has been shown to lower blood pressure. In fact, according to previous research, pet owners generally have lower blood pressure than people who don’t own pets.

3. People with pets actually handle stress better than people who don’t own pets.

The researchers concluded that pet ownership is associated with a lower risk of CVD but that causality wasn’t definite. They noted that simply owning a dog but continuing to live a sedentary lifestyle would not lower the risk of developing CVD.

The study was published online ahead of print on May 9, 2013, in the AHA’s journal Circulation.

If you’re not a pet owner and don’t plan on becoming one anytime soon, there are other natural ways to reduce your risk of CVD. Previous studies have suggested that supplementation of lycopene, aged garlic, CoQ10, resveratrol, omega-3s, and antioxidants all may improve heart health.

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