Quinoa in Dog Food – Multitude of Health Benefits
As dog lovers, we perpetually seek the finest nourishment options for our furry companions, wanting them to enjoy both longevity and robust health. Recent years have witnessed a significant pivot towards more health-conscious choices, leading pet parents globally to consider superfoods, not just for themselves but also for their pets. Quinoa, a food that’s taken human health enthusiasts by storm, is now making waves in the world of dog food. This article dives deep into understanding quinoa, its rich nutrient profile, and the myriad health benefits it offers when included in dog food.
What is Quinoa? A Journey Through its History, Origins, and Sources
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is known as a ‘pseudo-cereal’ for it’s grain-like properties, though it technically isn’t a cereal grain like wheat or oats, but rather a seed. It belongs to the Amaranthaceae family and is a relative of plants like spinach and beetroot. The wonder crop originates from the Andean region in South America and has been a dietary staple in the local cuisine for thousands of years, with a history tracing back to the Inca civilisation who revered it as the “mother of all grains.”
Cultivation of quinoa is primarily concentrated in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, but its burgeoning popularity due to its robust nutrient profile and adaptability to diverse growing conditions has led to an expansion in its cultivation to North America, Europe, and Asia. Quinoa thrives in a variety of environments, ranging from coastal regions to high altitudes with harsh conditions.
Unpacking the Nutritional Powerhouse: Nutrients and Polyphenols in Quinoa
Quinoa is a nutritional treasure trove, not just for humans but also for our canine companions. It’s an excellent source of protein, boasting all 20 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. This aspect is particularly crucial for dogs, as proteins are pivotal for building and repairing tissues, among other physiological functions.
Moreover, quinoa is rich in dietary fibre, aiding in smooth digestion and contributing to gastrointestinal health, a common concern in many dogs. The seed is also low in glycaemic index, which is beneficial for weight management and can be particularly advantageous for dogs prone to diabetes.
Essential vitamins and minerals are abundant in quinoa. It’s a good source of magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin E, all of which contribute to various aspects of your dog’s health including bone health, blood functioning, and immune system support.
One of quinoa’s standout features is its concentration of polyphenols – micronutrients known for their antioxidant properties. These compounds combat free radicals in the body, promoting overall health and potentially warding off degenerative diseases. Quercetin and kaempferol, specifically found in significant amounts in quinoa, are renowned for their anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties.
Impact on Health – How Quinoa Enhances Your Dog’s Wellness
Incorporating quinoa into your dog’s diet can have profound impacts on their health. Its high-protein content supports muscle development and repair, crucial for dogs’ active lifestyles. The amino acid profile of quinoa, inclusive of lysine, methionine, and cysteine, is particularly beneficial for the synthesis of proteins, enzymatic reactions, and metabolic health.
Quinoa’s rich fibre content aids in the digestive process, promoting regular bowel movements and helping maintain a healthy gut. This is particularly beneficial for dogs suffering from gastrointestinal issues, as a regulated digestive system can prevent conditions like constipation and diarrhoea.
The low-fat and calorie content of quinoa makes it an excellent dietary inclusion for weight management. Obesity in dogs is a growing concern and can lead to numerous health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. Quinoa’s low glycaemic index means it releases energy slowly into the body, avoiding blood sugar spikes and helping maintain a healthy weight.
The abundance of vitamins and minerals in quinoa strengthens the immune system. For instance, the magnesium in quinoa helps in muscle function and bone health, which is crucial for older dogs as they are prone to issues like arthritis and muscle weakness. The iron content ensures proper oxygenation of blood, vital for energetic, playful pets.
Areas of Impact – Where Quinoa Makes the Difference
- Skin and Coat Health: The amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in quinoa promote a healthy skin and coat. Regular consumption can lead to a shinier coat and healthier skin, reducing common problems like dryness or itchiness.
- Allergies: Unlike common grains, quinoa is gluten-free. This makes quinoa-based dog food an excellent choice for dogs with certain food sensitivities or allergies, providing a wholesome alternative to grain-based foods.
- Age-Related Ailments: The antioxidant properties of polyphenols in quinoa are beneficial in combating age-related ailments in dogs. They help in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, common in senior dogs.
- Reproductive Health: For breeding dogs, quinoa’s nutrient-rich profile supports reproductive health, ensuring the delivery of essential nutrients for both mother and puppies.
11 Science Informed Reasons to Include Quinoa in Your Dog’s Diet
- Very Nutritious – the United Nations (UN) declared 2013 “The International Year of Quinoa,” due to its high nutrient value and potential to contribute to food security worldwide. (4)
- Contains the Plant Compounds Quercetin and Kaempferol – Quinoa contains large amounts of flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These important molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies. Quinoa contains more Quercetin than Cranberries. (5, 6,7, 8, 9, 10).
- Very High in Fibre, Much Higher Than Most Grains – one study found 17–27 grams of fibre per cup (185 grams). Most of the fibre is insoluble, but one cup of quinoa still contains 2.5 grams of insoluble fibre which acts as an excellent prebiotic for dogs supporting dog’s digestion and gut health.
- Gluten-Free – naturally gluten-free. Using it instead of typical gluten-free ingredients can increase the antioxidant and nutrient value of your diet when you’re avoiding gluten. (16, 17)
- Very High in Protein with All the Essential Amino Acids – Quinoa is high in protein compared to most plant foods. It also contains all the essential amino acids that you need, making it an excellent protein source for vegetarians and vegans. (18)
- Has a Low Glycaemic Index which is Good for Blood Sugar Control – eating foods that are high on the glycaemic index can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity linked to many of the common, chronic, diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. (19, 20, 21, 22)
- High in Important Minerals Like Iron, Potassium, Zinc and Magnesium – these minerals are essential for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.
- Has Beneficial Effects on Metabolic Health – studies show that quinoa can improve metabolic health, by reducing blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels. However, more research is needed. (26, 27)
- Very High in Antioxidants – Quinoa is very high in antioxidants, which are substances that neutralize free radicals and are believed to help fight aging and many diseases. (28)
- May Help Your Dog Maintain or Lose Weight – Quinoa is high in fibre, protein and has a low glycaemic index. These properties have all been linked to weight loss and improved health. (30, 31, 32)
- Sustainable Food – carbon and water food print 30 – 60 times lower than beef (33)
Quinoa, with its exceptional nutritional profile, stands out as a superfood that is as beneficial for our canine friends as it is for us. Its inclusion in dog food ensures a diet that’s high in protein, rich in essential vitamins and minerals, and full of health-promoting phytonutrients and polyphenols. When considering a dietary shift or looking for an allergen-free, healthy grain substitute, quinoa proves to be an unbeatable choice. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet, but rest assured, quinoa-infused dog food could be a step toward a happier, healthier life for your beloved pet. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!
Other than its inclusion of the superfood Quinoa, Bonza Superfoods and Ancient Grains recipe is the ONLY 100% plant-based dog food with Probiotics, Omega-3 DHA, EPA and DPA, Herbs and Adaptogens to support your dog’s best health and deliver an irresistible, tail thumpingly tasty flavour.
Includes PhytoPlus®, our unique formulation of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to keep your dog in peak condition for their longest, healthy life.
All gently cooked at low temperatures using a cold extrusion cooking method to preserve the integrity of our quality nutrients, probiotics and Omega-3’s.
Bonza is recommended and approved by vets and nutritionists to keep your dog’s coat softer, skin clearer, joints more mobile, heart healthier, teeth cleaner and bones and muscles stronger.