Superfoods have recently become a buzzword in the food and nutrition world. They don't have to be some long-lost food that an ancient civilization used to consume and is just now being rediscovered. Superfoods are generally regarded as nutrient-dense foods that have certain health benefits if you eat them regularly. The benefits can range from improving the function of the digestive system to preventing cancer and heart disease. And it doesn't have to be something you have to go out of your way for at the store - a lot of these foods can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store! But what about your dog? Can he benefit from these superfoods, too? Which ones are safe for him to eat?
Here are 8 Superfoods you can enjoy with your dog:
Quinoa is a quick and easy way to get protein into your dog's diet without spending a lot of money at the store on meat. Quinoa is one of the only grain-sourced protein which contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition, a lot of the dog food you'll find on supermarket shelves contain a high percentage of processed carbohydrates - which isn't great for your dog. If you supplement your pup's diet with quinoa, you're providing them with a food rich in calcium, fiber, and several B vitamins.
Chia seeds are probably one of the original superfoods; their use dates back to the ancient civilization of the Aztecs and Mayans. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat (including omega-3 fats), and important nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. They are also an easy plant-based protein to incorporate into the diet! Sprinkling some seeds in your dog’s food is a quick and easy way to take advantage of the health benefits that this superfood has to offer.
Everyone has heard about the nutritional benefits of kale, and the good news is that you can share it with your pup, too! Kale is rich in Vitamin A, which helps promote a healthy immune system, and Vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting and bone metabolism. The antioxidants in kale help with cleansing the digestive system. Additionally, kale contains anti-inflammatory properties, which are great for older dogs who may suffer from weak joints or arthritis.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, and potassium, making them a great addition to your diet in general, as well as providing the extra benefit of reducing your risk for heart disease and cancer! Talk about SUPERfood! The powerful nutrients found in blueberries can also help protect you and your pup from hypertension, obesity, and even memory loss. Try throwing a few to Fido as a snack or using them as a reward for training!
Like other dark green leafy vegetables, spinach is a food nutrient-dense and rich in protein, iron, and a variety of vitamins. Spinach is good for the skin, hair and bone health. Being high in iron is important, as a diet low in iron can affect how the body uses energy. As a low-calorie food, spinach is also a smart option for people (and dogs) trying to lose a little weight! Feed it to your dog raw, or if you're looking to boost its health effects, try it steamed!
Sweet Potatoes are another cost-effective way to keep you and your pup happy with vital nutrients. Brimming with fiber, which helps in maintaining proper blood sugar levels and slowing the digestion of carbohydrates, this root vegetable is a quick and easy way to keep your dog full and happy. In addition, the anti-inflammatory nutrients are a smart way to naturally help an older pooch who may be suffering from arthritis. Another benefit of this superfood is that it does not have a significant impact on blood glucose levels, making it a perfect choice for dogs with diabetes.
Like quinoa, eggs also contain all 9 essential amino acids, which is important because your typical dog food doesn't contain the level of protein that your dog should be getting. They are also a fantastic source of choline, the nutrient that impacts healthy brain development, metabolism, and the nervous system. Additionally, they are high in antioxidants, specifically ones which protect against eye-related disorders. Mixing a bit of scrambled egg in with your dog's food on a weekly basis can ensure your pup is getting the protein and nutrients he needs.
In addition to being a prime source of protein, Salmon contains Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B-6, all of which have varying positive effects on the body. Vitamin B-12 is naturally found in seafood and is essential in maintaining healthy red blood cells and nerves. Vitamin D is important for maintaining proper bone health, and vitamin B-6 is needed to support the proper functioning of the nervous system. The omega-3 fatty acids present in salmon are great for supporting the immune system and keeping hair and skin healthy.