Antioxidant Boost

Are fruits and Vegetables Good for Dogs?

While meat does contain some antioxidants, fruits and vegetables contain significantly higher amounts. Plant-Based foods have a mean of 11.57mmol/100 grams while animal-based foods have a mean of .18mmol/100 grams. Herbs and Spices are also much higher as are many plants used more specifically in Herbal/traditional plant medicine.

The antioxidant content is also why the debate in the raw feeding community is kind of ridiculous.

Do dogs need carbohydrates to survive? No, dogs could survive without vegetables or fruits. 

The real question is can fruits and vegetables be beneficial for our dogs and cats.

Research is presently limited as to what specific antioxidants and the amount necessary to actually confer a benefit, but that means we can concentrate on providing a good amount of them as well as a variety of them. Not necessarily because of the vitamin-mineral content, but because of all of the different antioxidants that they provide. 

There is a reason why it is commonly recommended to eat a variety of colored fruits and vegetables. That you should eat the rainbow, and that is because the color is one of the major differentiators in the specific antioxidants and the amount found within fruits and vegetables. Because we don’t necessarily know which ones or how much. We can cover our basis by eating a variety of the compounds.

What Fruits and Vegetables are good for dogs?

In order to determine which fruits and vegetables are good for our dogs and cats, we have to look at what specific antioxidants are found, and in what quantity.

While the ORAC, TROLOX, FRAP and the other measurements have been criticized as irrelevant due to the fact that the studies have been conducted in vitro. It does represent a baseline at which we can begin to evaluate the antioxidant potential of various fruits and vegetables.

Many antioxidants have demonstrated plenty of potential in vitro the ones that have demonstrated the most interest are bolded below. The problem, however, is and will be for a long time translating those results to in vivo.

One of the major problems with studying antioxidants is that we don’t know what the ideal level of inclusion is, and it is difficult to measure their effects. Which is complicated by the fact that part of their benefit has to be measured over a long period of time. This relies more heavily on longitudinal studies.

This has been a significant challenge for one of the most widely studied compounds Curcumin, the primary bioactive compound of interest in Turmeric, which suffers from extremely poor bioavailability.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help fight free radicals within the body. This help reduces the levels of Oxidative Stress.

While certain levels of oxidative stress and free radicals are important too much has been linked to a number of health conditions, and is why it has sometimes been called the silent killer.

Antioxidants however is a very broad term that refers to a variety of compounds.

Antioxidants can be hydrophilic (water-soluble) or lipoic (fat-soluble). Some vitamins and minerals also act as antioxidants.

Terpenoids

One major family of antioxidants in plants is terpenoids.  Many the Terpenoids are fat-soluble. Terpenoids are broken down into Carotenes, Xanthophylls, Triterpenoids, Monoterpenes, Steroids, and Diterpenes.

Phenolic Compounds

The next class are Phenolic Compounds. These are the antioxidants that most people are more familiar with. Given the extensive nature of this family, it is better to use an image to illustrate it as a list.  

Phenolic Compounds

  • Monophenols
  • Polyphenols
    • Flavonoids
      • Flavanols
      • Flavanones
      • Flavones
      • Flava3ols
    • Isoflavonoids
    • Stilbenoids
    • Curcuminoids
  • Aromatic Acids
    • Phenolic Acids
    • Hydroxycinnamic
  • Others
    • Such as Capsaicin, Gingerol, Piperine

Other Antioxidant Families

There are also Glucosinolates, which are commonly found in the brassica family (cabbage) and are responsible for the benefits often attributed to them. There are also betalains, chlorophylls, animes, and some carbohydrates such as Monosaccharides, and Polysaccharides. Beta Glucans which are Polysaccharides from mushrooms is one major area of interest. 

There are many others, but they are generally of lesser interest.

Our Antioxidant Boost

Our Antioxidant Boost is a combination of Beetroot, Watercress, Pineapple, Mangos, Bananas, Blueberries, and Kiwi. Each ingredient selected for our Antioxidant boost was picked for several reasons.

Our Criteria for Inclusion

  1. Ensuring a wide range of antioxidant compounds from each of the classes and subclasses.
  2. Provide a wide range of essential nutrients and technically nonessential nutrients (according to AAFCO, NRC, and FEDIAF) so that it can be a compliment either by itself or when added to our dog food toppers. While neither the boost or toppers are complete and balanced, the toppers do come relatively close with only a few exceptions.
  3. Other Compounds evidence supporting their use as nutraceuticals, such as Dietary Nitrates and Digestive Enzymes.
  4. Decent Source of both soluble and insoluble Fiber
  5. Sugar Content. When Formulating the Antioxidant boost, it was necessary to still monitor the amount of sugar provided.

At the Current time we only include the antioxidant boost, in our toppers, but will be releasing it as a standalone product in the future,

Our Antioxidant Boost is included at a rate of 10% in the dog food toppers that include the Antioxidant Boost. We debated including it at higher and lower inclusion rates but settled on 10%.

Too often, when these types of ingredients (Superfoods) are listed or included on the label they are included in such minuscule amounts that they may as well not be present.

At the same time, not every dog truly likes eating fruits and vegetables. Some dogs will turn their nose up when you present them with a blueberry.

So, it was important for us to set it at a rate where dogs that don’t necessarily like fruits and vegetables will still be excited to eat it when it is sprinkled onto their food.

If your dog likes fruits and vegetables, we are more than happy to make your dog a special batch at a higher inclusion rate.

Beetroot

Beetroot has been highly valued for much of human history. According to one manuscript, Beetroots were grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Beetroot was so highly regarded in Ancient Greece that they were offered on a Silver Platter to Apollo.

Beetroot is not just packed with essential nutrients, such as, Manganese, Potassium, Iron, Vitamin B9, and Vitamin C. Beetroot is also a rich source of several Antioxidants.

Beetroot has been associated with several health benefits. Many of them relate to their high content of dietary nitrates and antioxidants.

In a study conducted on rats, Beetroot was found to improve the delivery of oxygen to the skeletal muscles.

Beetroot also contains a number of classes of phytonutrients. Among the classes are Betains, Betalines, Polyphenols, Phenolic Acids, Saponins, and Flavonoids.

Betalins are what give beets their distinctive color. The primary difference between Red and gold Beets are that Red contain betacyanin while golden contain betaxanthins.

Betanin which is found in red beets is one of the specific antioxidants of interest in beets. As it has demonstrated a good amount of potential in vitro. Approximately 3.976 of Betalins are produced in the dry extract of beetroot.   

Some of the other Antioxidants found within beetroot are Quercetin, Luteolin, Gallic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Apigenin, and Catechin.

Beets also contain pectin, a fiber that has been shown to help eliminate toxins.

As per one study, beetroot can also protect the liver from oxidative damage.

We specifically use red as that is the one that is generally of more research interest.

Watercress

Watercress has long been used in a variety of traditional remedies. It is an often-overlooked leafy green from the Brassicaceae (Cabbage) Family that packs a powerful nutrient punch. While there are issues with the aggregate nutrient index. Watercress is one of the highest-ranked vegetables.

Watercress is packed with several essential vitamins and minerals. Namely, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and several B Vitamins.

Besides its nutrient density, Watercress also provides a range of antioxidants.

In one study on the antioxidant compounds of 12 different cruciferous vegetables, they found over 40 unique polyphenols. Furthermore, Watercress also outperformed all other vegetables in the study in the total amount of polyphenols.

Among the antioxidants found were quercetin, kaempferol, lutein, ß-carotene, limonene, chlorogenic, caffeic, and coumaric acid.

Quercetin is one of the most extensively studied antioxidants and has gained a considerable amount of interest over the years for its potential to aid in our health.

Watercress also contains glucosinolates, namely sulforaphane. This is one of the main compounds of interest in broccoli and kale and is the reason why they are not in our Antioxidant boost.

Watercress, like beetroot, is a valuable source of dietary nitrates.

Dietary Nitrates have been gaining an increased amount of attention in human health as to how they can be beneficial for the heart.

Pineapple

Pineapples have been a part of traditional medicine for centuries.

Pineapples are relatively low in calories but provide a wide range of vital nutrients. Fiber, Vitamin C, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Copper, Thiamin, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Riboflavin, and Iron.

Pineapples also contain small amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamins K, Zinc, Calcium, and Phosphorus.

While Pineapples are packed with several antioxidants, the ultimate reason for Pineapple’s inclusion is that pineapples also contain a digestive enzyme called Bromelain.

Bromelain is a digestive enzyme that aids in the breakdown of protein into its building blocks, such as amino acids and smaller peptides. Once the protein is broken down, they are more readily absorbed in the small intestine. This can potentially be helpful for dogs with pancreatic insufficiency, a condition in which the pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes.

Bromelain is often combined with quercetin to enhance its anti-inflammatory effects.

Mango

Mangos are rich in several essential Vitamins and minerals.

Mangos are particularly rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Manganese, and Iron. They also contain Vitamin E, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, and Folic Acid. Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B5, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E.

Mangos also contain a wide variety of antioxidants. Like pineapple, its inclusion is the result of containing a digestive enzyme—specifically Amylase. Amylase, however, aids in the breakdown of carbohydrates instead of protein. This may be more beneficial for dog breeds that have fewer copies of the AMBY2 gene. These would primarily be breeds that didn’t evolve from earlier agrarian societies.

Mangos are also rich in antioxidants namely mangiferin, catechins, anthocyanins, gallic acid, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and benzoic acid.

Banana

While Bananas contain a variety of essential nutrients, as well as being a rich source of antioxidants, Banana’s inclusion is partly influenced by their fiber content and the presence of Biogenic Amines.

We use Bananas that are just slightly more yellow than green in the ripening stage. This is done as that is when the antioxidant levels are the highest, and while the sugar content is lower. (de Souza 2021)

Bananas are also a rich source of many antioxidants, among these are the Phenolic Compounds,(quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, cyanidin, Catechin, Gallic acid, Cinnamic acid, p-Coumaric acid, Gallocatechin gallate, Violaxanthin, and Ferulic acid.), Carotenoids (b-carotene, a-carotene, b-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and lutein) and Bio-genic Amines (Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine).

Blueberries

There is a reason why blueberries are commonly featured on packaging and marketing materials, and that is because Blueberries are one of the most widely recognized “superfoods”.

While Blueberries do provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals, they are most well known for their antioxidant potential.

In one study, they found blueberries contained a wide range of phenolic acids, Flavonoids, Flavanols, and Anthocyanidins. 

The compounds found to be high in Blueberries were, Reservatol Gallic acid, Protocatechuic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, luteolin rutin, myricetin, quercetin, gallocatechin, epigallocatechin (Not to be confused with Epigallocatechin Gallate), and catechins.

Resveratrol is the antioxidant of interest in wine and is believed to be responsible for the health benefits attributed to wine.

Kiwi

Kiwis are not just delicious; they also contain a digestive enzyme called actinidain, which aids in the digestion of protein.

Kiwis are also a valuable source of fiber as well as a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Kiwis are a particularly rich source of Vitamin C.

Kiwis also contain a wide array of Antioxidants namely Protocatechuic acid, Caffeic acid, Proanthocyanidin, Chlorogenic acid, Gallocatechin, Quinic acid, Proanthocyanidin, and Quercetin.

de Souza, A., Mello, J., Silva Favaro, V., Santos, T., Santos, G., Lucca Sartori, D., & Ferrari Putti, F. (2021). Metabolism of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity in bananas during ripening. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 45(11)

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