Top 3 Science-Backed Mental Health Benefits of Hanging Out With Your Pet Dog

No feeling is better than coming home after a long day and finding your family waiting for you. And if you have a furry friend to welcome you home enthusiastically, that’s a double joy! You can’t help but smile and laugh at your pup’s earnest affection, wagging tail, and goofy antics. Now, scientific evidence has revealed that being around your pet dog is not only just fun and heartwarming but also gives your mental health a good boost. Here are a few science-approved mental health benefits of having a barky best friend around:

Stress Relief

It’s already widely known that spending time with a pet dog hugely helps in relieving stress. According to research published in The Stress and Health journal, the dramatic stress reduction resulting from cuddling with a canine companion can last up to 10 hours. Even a brief interaction with a pup slows down the production of cortisol, the stress hormone in our body, which is the main culprit behind spiking up blood sugar levels and triggering fat deposition.

Increased Focus

Scientists have conducted experimental studies with therapy pet dogs in classrooms. They have found that the presence of dogs in classrooms showed proven signs of increased engagement and improved memory among the students. A Georgia Southern University study revealed that the presence of a therapy dog leads to improved gross motor skills among students of different ages, which can result in higher literacy rates in the institutions.

Feelings of Joy

According to a study by the University of Maine, people who spend some time every day with a dog experience a boost of cheerfulness throughout the day and wholesome feelings of well-being. You don’t need hours for this! Researchers have shown that just 15 minutes of puppy love in a day can bump up your happiness level, deliver a sense of satisfaction, and nix any negative feelings you have. So, a puppy in the house brings long-lasting joy to the family!

A Simple Yet Delicious Recipe for Cacio e Pepe to Make at Home

Cacio e Pepe is a popular Roman pasta dish that is not only delicious but also quite simple to make. It’s simplistic as it only requires 3 main ingredients that make preparing the dish practically impossible to get wrong. It’s so simple that you or your kids can recreate the dish with ease. Plus, it can be served on a regular weeknight or for a more fancy occasion.

A Simple Yet Delicious Recipe for Cacio e Pepe to Make at HomeThe trickiest part of the entire dish is figuring out how to properly turn the dry cheese and reserved pasta water into a creamy sauce. It’s all about portion control and the trick is quite simple to master. Make sure that the cheese is at room temperature before beginning. The leftover pasta water should also not be too hot when added to the skillet so that the cheese doesn’t coagulate and get lumpy. The key is to have a smooth and creamy sauce, without any lumps.

While you should be able to get the hang of things the first time around, the recipe for Cacio e Pepe only gets easier to follow with more attempts. Here’s how to make it at home:

Ingredients for

  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of spaghetti or bucatini pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 1 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, plus some for garnish

How to Make the Pasta

  1. Start by heating the extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the black peppercorns to the skillet so that they can toast. Stir occasionally until the peppercorns start to sizzle, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Prepare the pasta so that it’s al dente according to the directions on the package. Once cooked to your desired taste, use tongs or a spider spatula to transfer the pasta into a colander to drain. Reserve some of the cooking liquid from the pot and set it aside.
  3. Add the cheese into the heated oil skillet and, using the residual heat, add ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Gently whisk until the water has been absorbed and the mixture has the consistency of a chunky paste.
  4. Add ¼ cup of cooking liquid and whisk until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  5. Serving Cacio e PepeAdd the drained pasta into the mixture and stir until the pasta is well-coated. Stir in ¼ cup of cooking liquid at a time until a creamy sauce forms and coats the pasta. Divide the pasta and plate the Cacio e Pepe by garnishing the top with Pecorino Romano cheese.