• Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN

Benefits of Fruits & Veggies

Updated: Jan 16

Vegetation for canines can be controversial, but it all comes down to quantity and quality. When appropriately added, it can have immense health benefits for every type of diet.


Why Are Fruits & Vegetables Beneficial?

High glycemic and processed carbohydrates in a canine bowl can lead to poor health. But high quality, low-glycemic plant matter has many health benefits.


A study done by The Voyageurs Wolf Project conducted a study that revealed during peak berry season (July-August), 80% of the wolf pack's diets consisted of berries.




Dogs are not obligate carnivores, unlike felines. Instead, they are facultative carnivores, which means that the animal can also eat non-animal foods. While their diet should be primarily made of meat, their food options are much more varied and have included vegetation naturally in the form of gut contents in their prey and scavenging for fruits and berries.


Fruits & veggies are excellent sources of vitamins & minerals, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and soluble & insoluble fiber. Ensure to only feed low-glycemic fruits and veggies and stay away from starchier ones such as potatoes, peas, and beans.


The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed, and metabolized and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore, insulin levels. Feeding low glycemic vegetation is the key so dogs can easily digest the plant matter and get the full range of benefits!


Fruits are loaded with antioxidants, which help against free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause long-term harm to your dog. Free radicals can damage cells and DNA, which speed the aging process. This is called oxidative stress, and it’s a bit like rust accumulating in the body. But antioxidants can help clean up the damage. Some fruits also contain digestive enzymes like pineapple (bromelain) and papaya (papain), which help with anti-aging, anti-degeneration, and overall better health!


Vegetation is also a fantastic source of fiber. This is crucial as the undigested fiber (insoluble) is food for the gut's beneficial bacteria. Fiber is food for the bacteria and is converted to Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are used for energy, immune cells, and protecting the gut lining. In addition, this fiber helps synthesize Vitamin K.


Polyphenols

The body's relationship with polyphenols and the gut is complex, symbiotic, and significant. Therefore, there is much more to learn and discover with polyphenols.


Polyphenols (phytochemicals) are potent antioxidants made of many phenols grouped only found in plant material. This means they can neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and increase metabolic diseases. Polyphenols also aid in reducing inflammation, which is where all disease stems from.


It is not yet proven, but polyphenols may give fruits and veggies immense health benefits.


Polyphenols have been reported to have a wide spectrum of biological activities, including a major impact on initiation, promotion, and progression of cancer by modulating different signaling pathways - Hindawi.


The amount of polyphenols a plant contains depends on the food, origin, ripeness, farming practice, transportation, storage, and more. They are many polyphenol supplements out on the market, but they are less beneficial than polyphenol-rich foods.


Preparation

Raw plant matter can be quite hard for canines to digest, so it’s important to make sure to prep the plant for maximum bioavailability. This is because canines are not equipped with the biological functions to digest plant matter, such as herbivores and omnivores. Breaking down plant matter before feeding allows for the proper enzymatic digestion to occur. Optimal ways to do this are

  • Blending

  • Fermenting

  • Steaming

  • Boiling

  • Sautéing in a healthy fat


DIY Veggie Mix


Supplies needed

Cutting board

Knife

Bowls

Blender


Ingredients

All plant matter used should be non-starchy, low-glycemic fruits & vegetables. A list of the most commonly used plant matter is below.


Spinach

Kale

Dandelion Greens

Microgreens

Cucumber

Zucchini

Berries


Directions

1. Gather all your produce.

2. Peel the produce stickers off.

3. Rinse all produce.

4. Cut ingredients into small pieces for easy blending.




5. Add some liquid to cover the veggies and blend.

Pro tip: Adding in wheatgrass powder will thicken up your veggie mix!



6. Add in containers & freeze.


Dosage:

1/2-1 tsp. small dogs

2-3 tsp. medium dogs

1-2 tbsp. large dogs


Veggie mixes are great for fresh diets and kibble boosters. Plants are great as long as it's quality over quantity and prepared appropriately. I hope you learned something new today & Always Keep Exploring!

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