This note is for those of us who want our beloved dogs to live to a ripe and healthy old age. Heck, this note is for those of us who want ourselves and our families to to live to a ripe and healthy old age!
Rosemary is now being studied along with the effects of eating a Mediterranean Diet for it’s ability to keep minds sharp, bodies healthy and longevity well beyond average in a small village in Italy where residents are living up to twenty years beyond the country’s average lifespan age of 83. We explain the details below and how to work rosemary into the whole family’s diet.
We have also included a recipe for an incredibly simple dinner of Rosemary Roasted Chicken as well as a link to our five-minute follow up recipe for Rosemary Chicken Pops for your four-legged friend to give him a rosemary boost as well.
Researchers at the University of San Diego School of Medicine in California along with Sapienza University in Rome are diligently trying to figure out why 300 residents of Acciaroli in Italy have lived to the age of 100. In addition they have been stunned to discover so many seniors living over the average lifespan age of 83 in peak physical and mental condition, most notably the low rate of heart disease and Alzheimer’s in the population.
Scientists believe that the secret to the high quality of life and extended lifespan is a combination of environmental and dietary factors including daily physical exercise, clean air and water in the region and their consumption of a Mediterranean diet. One very strong dietary habit that stands out amongst this group of people is an almost daily consumption of the herb rosemary, a key component of the Mediterranean diet and a plant that grows native in the region.
Locals infuse everything with the herb rosemary, which many believe has healing properties. Rosemary is commonly used in cooking and is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin B6. Rosemary has previously been studied for its link to memory and is used in modern day herbal medicine as a painkiller, and help with migraines and digestive problems.
In a separate study, Dr Mark Moss a psychologist at Northumbria University in England presented findings from a study he conducted on rosemary essential oil. His findings showed that smelling the rosemary oil helped people to remember to do things in the future by 60%-75% compared to those that had not been exposed to the oil. Other studies have also supported rosemary’s link to alertness and improvement of long-term memory.
The Acciaroli study is ongoing and is the first time the population has been studied so closely for its link to longevity.
As our wonderful four legged friends are leading longer lives, they also may suffer from some age related cognitive decline which is believed to be partially due to sedentary lifestyles and poor quality diets. Providing your dog with little snacks of Wellness full of memory boosting herbs like rosemary and quality fat sources like extra virgin olive oil along with healthy lifestyle habits like outside exercise and fresh air may help to boost brain activity.
Because smelling rosemary also has an effect on long term memory and alertness, we suggest buying a rosemary based oil blend at your local health food store. You can place a few drops on your dog’s collar so that he is exposed to the smell of the oil throughout the day. You may also want to rub the oil on your own hands for the fragrance and health benefits it gives. Give your dog a good scratch with those hands so that his fur has a bit of the fragrance on it as well. Please note that undiluted essential oil of any kind can be irritating to the skin and may even burn it in heavy concentrations so we highly recommend that the essential oil is diluted in another oil for a gentler effect.
You can make your own rosemary-infused oil by placing a sprig or two of completely dry rosemary leaves into a glass jar, topping with olive oil (a great anti-inflammatory ingredient), replacing the lid, and shaking lightly. Store it in a warm, dark place for two weeks. Strain and simply pour back into the glass jar. Use one-fourth for a fragrant bath, or blend with balsamic vinegar to drizzle as a tasty dressing over salads.
Working rosemary into the diet is very easy to do. We often drop a few sprigs in boiling water to make a rosemary tea and as in the example above, you can easily make a rosemary infused olive oil to drizzle over salads, meats and grains. This can also be used as the drizzle you give to your dog each day (link).
We love rosemary on whole roasted chicken which is why we have provided a very easy recipe to follow along with a great way to use the rosemary infused leftover juices as a wellness-based boost for your pup.
1. Wash, smell (for brain power!) and prepare your rosemary.
2. Generously distribute & massage in olive oil.
3. Sprinkle sea salt & ground pepper on top of and inside the cavity of the chicken (add lemon as well, if desired).
4. Stuff & decorate the chicken with rosemary. Note: Lurking dog in background.
5. Roast until chicken is golden brown and ready to serve. Let sit for 20 minutes, carve & enjoy.