Pets, Uncategorized

Dogs Mimic Their Owner’s Facial Expression


Dogs Mimic Their Owners’ Facial Expressions


Are dogs empathetic beings, capable of experiencing others’ emotions? Very likely, yes, according to recent research published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.1 The study involved dozens of dogs, which were observed at a dog park in Italy.


Many of the dogs were found to display rapid mimicry of the other dogs’ body movements, particularly a play bow and facial expression (a relaxed, open mouth).


Within less than one second of seeing another dog play bow or relax their facial expression, many of the dogs responded in suit, copying the other dog’s expression or behavior.


What’s more, the dogs’ level of familiarity with one another affected their level of mimicry. Dogs that already knew each other and were socially bonded were more likely to mimic each other. “The stronger the social bonding, the higher the level of rapid mimicry,” the researchers wrote.2


The findings are incredibly intriguing, because facial mimicry in humans and non-human primates is a form of emotional contagion that is regarded as a basic form of empathy.


Overall, a high level of rapid mimicry was observed in a mean of 77 percent of the dogs, which reacted after perceiving play bows or a relaxed, open mouth facial expression.3


When the dogs mimicked each other, their play sessions lasted longer, which suggests it increased the dogs’ motivation to play and possibly strengthened the dogs’ relationship.


Dogs May Mimic Owners’ Facial Expressions, Too


If you smile at your dog, does he smile back? The researchers believe, given their findings that dogs mimic the emotional states of other dogs, that dogs can mimic their owners’ facial expressions as well, especially if they’re closely bonded. Seeker reported:4


“‘It is an automatic response, similar to that of humans when they see someone crying or smiling,’ [lead author Elisabetta] Palagi [,Ph.D.,]said, adding that domestication probably even enhanced dogs’ natural inclination toward emotional contagion all the more.”


The totality of evidence is showing that dogs have many complex ways of communicating with and understanding not only other dogs but also humans.


The researchers pointed out that dogs follow others’ gaze, head and body orientation, and combine body postures, including head and tail movements, to communicate their emotional states.


They also use their eyes, lips and teeth expressively and “regularly express their positive emotional states via specific signals that are performed through both the face (relaxed open mouth … and the body (play bow).”


Further, dogs can discriminate between emotional expressions on human faces and body postures. For instance, research published in Biology Letters found dogs recognize both dog and human emotions.5


The dogs were presented with either human or dog faces with different expressions (happy and playful versus angry and aggressive). The faces were paired with a vocalization that was positive, negative or neutral.


The dogs looked significantly longer at the faces that matched up to the appropriate vocalization, which is an ability previously thought to be distinct to humans.


Past research has also found dogs automatically imitate their owner’s use of either their head or hand (or paw) when opening a sliding door, closely mimicking their owner’s behavior even if doing so would cost them a reward (a treat).6


Dogs May Grasp the Meaning Behind Your Facial Expressions


It’s quite possible that dogs are not only capable of mimicking their owners’ facial expressions but also of understanding what the expression means, emotionally.


For starters, past research revealed spikes of oxytocin, i.e., the love hormone, are triggered by mutual gazes between a dog and his owner.7 Increased eye contact between dog-owner pairs led to higher levels of oxytocin.


Mimicry, which is based on and facilitated by such mutual gazing, likely has “a direct function in this emotional positive loop by connecting the dogs and fostering their social attachment,” the researchers wrote. They continued:8


” Through experience gained by social interactions with their owners, dogs are able to form a huge variety of memories of human facial expressions that goes beyond the purely perceptual level …


The ability to finely discriminate facial expressions also implies the possibility that dogs are able to catch the emotional meaning underpinning such specific facial expressions.


… All these findings concur in supporting the idea that a possible linkage between rapid mimicry and emotional contagion (a basic form of empathy) exists also in dogs.”


The researchers suggested that studying wolves may yield clues about whether rapid mimicry also exists in non-domesticated species, and therefore if dogs’ close ties with humans have played a role in this phenomenon.


Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s known that dogs recognize their owners’ faces and pay close attention to their cues in order to gauge their emotions. The next time you sit down with your dog, you can conduct an experiment of your own by acting playful and seeing if your dog acts playful in response.


Most likely, you’ll find that your dog is quite adept at “catching” your emotions, so if you’re not in the mood for playtime, try getting him to imitate a different behavior, like curling up on the couch.


Health and Wellness Associates

  1. Becker DVM



Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Cut Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Half!


Cut Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Half


This is heart healthy month!


Research reveals you can cut your risk of heart attacks and strokes in half within one week, just by lowering your risk of blood clots!  If you have already had one heart attack or stroke, then you know that you are 75% greater chance of having another.

A few simple steps will give you almost immediate protection!


Ginger Helps Thin Your Blood

Adding ½ tsp of this flavorful spice to your daily diet can lower your risk of forming an unnecessary clot in as little as seven days.   To make iced lemon ginger tea, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, turn off the heat.  Add 3 tbs, lemon juice and ¼ cup grated ginger root.  Steep 20 minutes, strain into a pitcher.  Add honey or other sweetener (not white sugar) to taste.


Smiling stamps out harmful stress

The more often you smile, the less likely you are to ever develop clots. In fact, simply putting on a more upbeat expression on a regular basis helped many people cut their clots risk by 27%. Smiling calms your central nervous system, reducing your output of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes blood cells more likely to clump.  Do you have more weight and inches around the middle of your abdomen than other places, then you have a lot of cortisol in your body?


Oatmeal offers hours of protection

Having one cup and only one cup of steel oats for breakfast could lower your risk of a blood clot for up to four hours.  Oatmeal is rich in compounds that stop blood cells from clumping together and sticking to artery walls.   One cup of steel oats, one or two eggs, and a bowl of berries works well together.


Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Keeping your blood pressure under control helps protect artery walls from the damage that can lead to clots.  Drinking 4 ounces of beet juice daily can lower your blood pressure 10 points for 24 hours. Find beet juice in most health food stores, and not powder form.  If the taste is too strong, mix it with another juice or a can or diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale.   It is the only drink that contains citrate that cleans out your liver.  Has to be their diet, and has to be Canada Dry.


Citrus zest keeps blood vessels young.

Zest, the colorful outer skin of citrus fruits.  It is natures number on source of hesperidin, a plant compound that could cut your risk of a stroke, or heart attack triggering clot as much as 29%.  Similar to L-arginine, but after 90 days L-arginine will actually hurt your blood vessels then help them.


Contact us for your Personalized Health Care Plan

Everyone is different!


Health and Wellness Associates

P Carrothers



Kohlrabi: Is It Right For You?


Kohlrabi: Is it Right for You?

The Cool-Weathered, Out-of-This-World Vegetable and recipe.


While most crops wither in frosty weather, the same cannot be said for kohlrabi (pronounced “cole-rah-bee”). Known for its bizarre appearance but extremely hardy nature, this unique cruciferous vegetable is certainly not lacking in flavor and nutrition, making it highly deserving of your attention (and a space in your pantry). Keep reading to discover more interesting facts about kohlrabi.


What Is Kohlrabi?

It might look like something that’s extraterrestrial in nature, but kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes1), also called knol-khol,2 is actually native to northern Europe3 but now thrives all over the world today. Its name comes from the German words “kohl” and “rube,” and literally translates to “cabbage turnip.”4


Its appearance, however, is another matter. It looks like a turnip with leaves growing from it and standing out like spokes.5 But what kohlrabi lacks in beauty, it makes up for in flavor. It’s described to have a “sweet flavor that’s somewhere between a turnip and a water chestnut, with a crisp, crunchy texture.”6


Despite its bulbous appearance, kohlrabi is not a root crop. Kohlrabi is a brassica and is in the same plant family as cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.7 It grows above the ground, and not under the soil, and the bulb that’s commonly used for cooking is actually part of the plant’s stem.8


The kohlrabi plant is classified as a perennial, and thrives in temperate climates, although it grows best in cool season. In the U.S., kohlrabi is available from spring to late fall in different growing regions. You can choose from over 22 different kohlrabi plant varieties, varying in color, size, resistance, flavor and shape. The most commonly seen types are white, green and purple kohlrabi, which all have white flesh underneath.9 There are also kohlrabi varieties that have a longer shelf life than other types, such as Gigante and Kossak kohlrabi.10


Kohlrabi is one of the most versatile vegetables around. It can be cooked as you would carrots or turnips, and tastes great in salads, pies, or simply grilled or roasted. Kohlrabi can also be eaten raw (and this may be the best way of all to enjoy them).


Don’t disregard the kohlrabi leaves – they’re edible, too. Kohlrabi greens can be enjoyed just like spinach, beet greens or collard greens, with a taste that’s reminiscent of kale and collards.11 They can be served cooked, either steamed or sautéed with other vegetables, or added raw to salads. It’s best to harvest them in early spring to ensure you get flavorful and tender leaves.


Kohlrabi Nutrition Facts

Just like the diversity it offers in terms of culinary uses, kohlrabi offers a wide array of benefits for your body as well, owing to its various nutrients, as listed below. In terms of calories, kohlrabi should not be feared, as it only has 36 calories in every 135-gram serving.

Kohlrabi Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 100 grams, raw

Amt. Per

Serving  % Daily


Calories 27

Calories from Fat             1

Total Fat              0 g         0%

Saturated Fat

Trans Fat

Cholesterol         0 mg      0%

Sodium  20 mg    1%

Total Carbohydrates        6 g         2%

Dietary Fiber      4 g         14%

Sugar     3 g

Protein  2 g

Vitamin A1%       Vitamin C            103%

Calcium2%          Iron        2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie


Don’t Miss Out on These Kohlrabi Health Benefits

Kohlrabi is rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as B-vitamins. It also contains copper, manganese, iron, potassium, dietary fiber and calcium, and is rich in antioxidant compounds like phytochemicals and carotenes as well.12 With this bounty of nutrients, it’s not surprising that kohlrabi offers immense body-wide benefits. Organic Facts lists some of the ways that kohlrabi can benefit your health:13


Promotes digestive health

Helps with weight management

Keeps nerves and muscle functioning optimally

Maintains healthy blood pressure levels

Boosts bone strength

Promotes vision health

Maintains your healthy metabolism

One standout vitamin found in kohlrabi is vitamin C – in fact, this vegetable has more vitamin C than an orange, with 62 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, or about 102 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).14 This water-soluble vitamin is vital for maintaining healthy connective tissues, teeth and gum, as well as for immune system health.15


Kohlrabi also has phytochemical antioxidants that may have cancer- and inflammation-protective effects, and may help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.


Sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which are found in kohlrabi, may also have anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and antibacterial benefits. Kantha Shelke, a food scientist at Corvus Blue LLC and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), told TIME:1617


“Kohlrabi’s chemopreventive effects makes it particularly healthy … Kohlrabi contains isothiocyanates which are effective against cancer. The chemopreventive compounds are more bioavailable from fresh–about three times as much as from cooked–kohlrabi.


The higher bioavailability is associated with a higher chemopreventive activity, which might be the reason why raw kohlrabi is preferentially consumed by health-conscious people.”


Tips in Growing Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi can be bought in most organic farmers markets. When buying kohlrabi, remember that larger bulbs can be tough. Opt for medium-sized bulbs that feel heavy for their size. Check the leaves as well – they should be intensely green and crisp-looking. Do not buy bulbs that have soft spots or yellowing leaves.18


Nevertheless, you can grow this hardy vegetable in your backyard (if the weather in your area permits it). Kohlrabi thrives best in well-drained, fertile soil and needs average sunlight to flourish.19 Home Grown Fun offers helpful tips in growing kohlrabi in your garden:


Although kohlrabi plant benefits from sunlight, brand new seedlings may need some shade, especially if the weather is hot.

When planting kohlrabi seeds, make sure they’re one-fourth to one-half inch deep in the ground, with 6 to 8 inches of space in between. Do not overcrowd them, as this may cause the plants to compete for nutrients and may also block the sunlight coming in. This will delay the formation of the bulbs.

Kohlrabi should be free of weeds and consistently well-watered. If not watered enough, the plants may become stressed and will not produce bulbs.

Kohlrabi should be harvested at their prime – don’t wait for them to become overgrown. It usually takes six to seven weeks for a kohlrabi plant to reach maturity.

Once harvested, kohlrabi leaves and bulbs should be kept in the refrigerator, where they will stay fresh for at least a few weeks.


How to Cook Kohlrabi Bulbs and Leaves: Recipes You Can Try

Whether mashed, sautéed, grilled, roasted, kohlrabi is certainly one of the most versatile vegetables you will come across. Kohlrabi salad and soup recipes are becoming popular today, mainly because this cruciferous vegetable works great in these dishes. Different cultures around the world also have different ways of cooking kohlrabi, making use of this crop in various creative ways.


Shelke says that in countries near the Equator, kohlrabi is often grated and transformed into kohlrabi fritters, pancakes or flat breads. In India, pickled kohlrabi mixed with turmeric powder, salt, dry mustard powder, oil and vinegar is a well-loved treat, and is served with yogurt and bread. This is also how kohlrabi is enjoyed in Tibet, Nepal and northern China.20


If you want to try cooking kohlrabi, here’s an easy recipe you can try:


Kohlrabi Healthy Recipes:

Carrot and Kohlrabi Slaw

Kohlrabi Healthy Recipes


1 large kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed off, grated

1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 red onion, grated

4 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt




In a large bowl, mix the kohlrabi, carrots, cabbage, onion, cilantro and raisins (if using).

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, mayonnaise, salt and honey.

Pour the dressing over the slaw, and mix until all the ingredients are fully coated. Chill for several hours before serving.

(Recipe adapted from The Kitchn21)


While cooking kohlrabi leaves and bulbs may seem like a great idea, remember that they retain most of their nutritional value when eaten raw. Simply peel, slice, and sprinkle the bulb with salt, and then eat it raw. As for the leaves, use them as a replacement for your typical salad greens.


Health and Wellness Associates

Archived JM


Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Uncategorized

Berries and Coconut Whip Cream


Berries and Coconut Whip Cream


Is it good for YOU?


Try bringing berries into your regular diet if you have any illness or symptom, including high cholesterol, ovarian cysts, irregular menstruation, brain cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, encephalitis, epilepsy, Huntington’s disease, narcolepsy, osteomyelitis, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), atherosclerosis, heart disease, ovarian cancer, atrial fibrillation, prostate cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), mystery infertility, endometriosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), acne, weight gain, bladder infections, fibroids, hypoglycemia, psoriasis, adenomas, edema, thyroid nodules, hot flashes, sensations of humming or vibration in the body, headaches, nerve pain; mineral deficiencies, frozen shoulder, panic attacks, phobias, brain lesions, jaw pain, anxiousness, scar tissue, Candida overgrowth, back pain and if you are female.


As you eat berries, reflect on the abundance of berries available year-round and how they grow on bushes low to the ground so we can easily pick them and share in them with animals also in need of nourishment. The selfless nature of berries help us to also become more generous, kind, and selfless in turn.


Beautiful and enticing, these berries-and-cream bowls are perfect for brunch, entertaining, or dessert. The coconut milk whips into a cloud of light, fluffy whipped cream, and the hint of ginger and lemon zest completes the dish. Enjoy impressing those you love with these beautiful berry bowls.


Berries and Coconut Whip Cream

Gluten free



1 cup blueberries

1 cup blackberries

1 cup raspberries

1 cup strawberries

2 x 13.5-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated

¼ teaspoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Lemon juice (from about ¼ lemon)

1 2-inch piece vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise

1 teaspoon lemon zest

4 leaves fresh mint, minced



Rinse the berries, mix them together, and divide them evenly into 2 bowls. Open the cans of coconut milk, being careful not to shake them. Coconut milk naturally separates in the can, leaving a thick, heavy layer on top. Scoop out the solid cream from each can and place it in a small mixing bowl. (You will need ½ cup of cream.) Discard the thin liquid that remains. Using a fork, whisk together the coconut cream, ginger, maple syrup, lemon juice, and the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean pod. Whisk until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Scoop a generous dollop of cream over the berries in each bowl. Top with the lemon zest and mint.


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Health and Wellness Associates

Archived  MM