The Importance of Antioxidants in Your Dog’s Diet
Humans and dogs share common physiological features. Some of the supplementation advised for humans can also work effectively on dogs. This includes antioxidants, which slow the aging process by protecting the body against damage from free radicals, boost immune system function, and lower the risk of degenerative conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
The best canine diets are enriched with antioxidants. As in humans, they maintain your pet’s health by countering the effects of free radicals. Nourishment with antioxidants provides long-term health benefits, especially in aging pets.
Studies have found that older dogs who received antioxidant-rich diets are able to perform complex tasks more easily and successfully. Here, antioxidants presumably work to inhibit oxidative damage, which causes a dog’s brain to age. For pet owners, it makes sense to feed their dog high-antioxidant diets when he/she is younger, to tackle aging early on.
Results of a study indicate that antioxidant-rich diets in dogs aged seven years and above address age-related cognitive decline, including symptoms such as patterned pacing and excessive licking. In the study, dogs who received antioxidants through their diet were also able to recognize family members and other pets more easily than the control group. Besides heightened abilities to discriminate between objects, dogs on diets rich in antioxidants have also been seen to be mentally agile and able to adjust to situations more efficiently.
What are the basic nutrients that your dog needs?
There are six essential classes of nutrients that canines need for overall good health. They are:
Proteins, which can be derived from chicken, turkey, lamb, fish and eggs
Carbohydrates, which can be derived from brans, beet pulp and wheat middlings
Vitamins, which can be included as part of a balanced diet or given in the form of supplements to your pet
Minerals, which can be derived from fish, beans, organ meats, bone meals, vegetables and wheat bran
Fats, present in a number of plant and animal sources. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are the two essential fatty acids most important to canine health.
Anti-oxidant enriched pet diets
A typical diet high in antioxidants would contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, L-carnitine, DL-lipoic acid, and fruit and vegetable extracts. In recent years, medical researchers have discovered several plant sources exhibiting high antioxidant activity. One such super-fruit is maqui berry, which is considered the world’s strongest natural antioxidant.
They form part of the regular diet of the Mapuche Indians, who demonstrate the longest life spans of any ethnic group in the world. The unusually high concentrations of antioxidants in this fruit control inflammation, which is a major factor in just about every degenerative disease, from diabetes and arthritis to cardiovascular conditions.
Growing wild in the rainforests of Argentina and Chile, Maqui berry contains the highest levels of anthocyanins, polyphenols and resveratrol. A study in the Latin American Archives of Nutrition noted that no food had as much antioxidant power, surpassing that of blackberry, strawberry, kiwi fruit, white mulberry and European raspberry. Scientific journal Phytochemical Analysis published a study calculating the amount of anthocyanins – known for reducing the risk of cognitive decline and cancer - in maqui berry. It found that fresh berries contain 138 milligrams of anthocyanin per 100 grams, while dried maqui berries have 212 milligrams per 100 grams.
Intake of maqui berries is positively linked to an increase in the body’s insulin. When consumed with meals, it can suppress blood glucose and prevent the formation of new fat cells. The fruit is also associated with anti-bacterial activity, indicating that it may assist in the prevention of food-borne illnesses.
That’s not all. The super-fruit also offers wide-ranging health benefits, which include strengthening bones and joints; fighting fatigue; clearing toxins from the body; and enhancing strength and stamina.
Probiotic supplements with maqui berry can offer your pet relief from gastrointestinal problems while also counteracting the effects of aging.