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The Three Best Antioxidant-Rich Foods for Dogs

The Three Best Antioxidant-Rich Foods for Dogs

What is an Antioxidant?

 

Antioxidants are key components of our diet and our pet’s diets the same as vitamins and minerals. Just like vitamins and minerals, antioxidants can be taken as a supplement like Vitamin C, Selenium and even Melatonin, or as foods like berries, dark leafy vegetables and even certain legumes and seeds.


How is an Antioxidant measured?

 

Chart showing different methods of measuring antioxidants
While vitamins and minerals are measured by weight and content using mg (milligrams) or mcg (micro grams), antioxidants are measured in a unique way – in fact – there are several different ways to measure the antioxidant levels of certain compounds. The most common is known as the ORAC Test, which measures the antioxidant content of different foods using “μmol” or “micromol”. For foods, it’s typical to use a measurement scale of “μmol per 100 grams”. 


What are Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress?

 

As mentioned above, antioxidants help balance out oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is stress that causes the body to have an imbalance between of an excess of free radicals and not enough antioxidants to combat that stress. Free radicals are atoms, molecules or ions with one or more electron which is unbonded and highly unstable (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318652#What-are-free-radicals).

 

It is important to balance free radicals and antioxidants in the body and this balance needs to be kept in check. Without it, the free radicals can cause damage to tissues and organs in the body and if that process grows out of control, these free radicals can actually damage the way the body replicates cells more permanently (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318652#How-do-free-radicals-damage-the-body ), which means more wear and tear on the body. This can also lead to an accelerated aging process which has been studied in both humans and animals alike.

 

The unfortunate truth is that our pets will have a much shorter lifespan typically then us, their pet patents. In this way many pets are exposed to higher levels of chemical toxins over the course their life which causes oxidative and free radical stress to impact their bodies more than humans. In addition, our pets walk close to the ground, lie on the ground and are always sniffing around on walks therefore making their exposure to chemicals and toxins even higher. Toxins can be present in our homes (common cleaning agents) as well as during walks from pesticides and herbicides in the garden, parks or around neighborhood where we live. Even common veterinarian practices like routine vaccination or use of flea & tick treatments will also cause free radical damage that the body must counteract in order to maintain balance.

For both us and our pets, it can be just about impossible to refrain from exposure to any free radicals, however, we can choose to proactively combat these frequent exposures by ensuring our pawed pals are able to get enough antioxidants in their diet.

So which foods are best for our pawed pals? Find out below!

 

The Top Three Antioxidant Foods for Pets

 

A collection of healthy greens, berries and other antioxidant and fiber rich foods 

  • Berries

  • Of all the berries, wild blueberries have the highest levels of antioxidants, but can be hard to find. Blackberries and cranberries are also high level antioxidant fruits. If you live in a cold weather state or country, berries are available seasonally, especially in the winter. If you live where fresh berries are not common, you can always opt for frozen berries and defrost them to give to your pet. In addition, you can use berries frozen in treats for your pup or even blend them down into a smoothie or pup cup. Berries can easily get contaminated with pesticides so we recommend choosing organic when possible.


    Pomegranates

    If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with access to Pomegranate trees, the
    seeds from pomegranate fruit can be an amazing addition to your pup’s diet. They are packed full of nutrients including omegas, vitamin C and magnesium but also contain a high amount of antioxidants. Many dogs love to eat these plain or on their food. Just make sure they are ripe so they don’t taste too tart for your pup!

     

    Red Cabbage

    Closely related to kale and part of the brassica vegetable family, red cabbage packs in a high amount of nutrients including Vitamin C and Vitamin K. In addition, its ORAC value is high and it can even be improved when slightly cooked. Another reason we love red cabbage is that it is a gut-health promoting food and is active as a powerful prebiotic food (fibrous food) which feeds healthy gut bacteria in your pet’s gut.

     

    A Bonus Benefit

     Single bottle of Restore M3® a Probiotic, Prebiotic & Digestive Enzyme product for pets

    Adding a Digestive Enzymes to your pet’s food is another way to cut back on oxidative stress as enzymes help the body properly digest food into particles that the body can use for energy, antioxidants and building healthy muscle tissue. Choosing a product that contains prebiotics and probiotics in combination with digestive enzymes will provide access to overal gut-health as well as digestion. Restore M3® was formulated by pet parents with the help of microbiologists to provide the perfect combination of prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your pet leverage its natural defenses to fend off free radicals and boost immunity too. 

     

    Sources:
    https://www.takecareof.com/articles/what-are-antioxidants
    https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-9-3

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