Plant Based Foods With Purpose – Functional Foods

Last week, I shared with you some information about animal-based functional foods. This time, I want to share some plant based options for you. There are SO many beneficial compounds in plants and it would be next to impossible to highlight them all here. So, I am sharing just a few with you. All suggestions were researched and referenced during my graduate work in nutrition.

If you are ready to feed your dog a truly nourishing diet, you may contact me anytime at dogfoodcoach@gmail.com. Thank you!

Plant Based Functional Foods

Offering a wide range of healthy, whole foods can help support the body’s vitalism or homeostasis. But specific foods have a ‘function’ beyond that – working to counteract specific health concerns.

This topic is worthy of great detail. But here, we introduce the topic with preliminary highlights. Many studies appear to conclude that fruits and vegetables surpass any other food group regarding potential to heal, treat and prevent many health conditions.

However, dogs have a high protein and amino acid requirement, so fruits and vegetables should not make up a majority of the diet. Nonetheless, they hold an indispensable place, and you can choose items based on their nutrient profile and ability to support the body and counteract illness. This means looking beyond the carrot and green bean world, into more powerful options. Here are just a few examples.

Algae, including seaweeds, offer potential health benefits, along with providing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Chlorella can help clear the body of environmental toxins. Spirulina may reduce the proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells. Dulse and kelp may slow progression of adenocarcinoma.

Beets contain a liver-protective compound called betaine, which protects the liver and reduces levels of homocysteine, a substance that can lead to stroke or heart disease.

Berries. While many berries have extremely high antioxidant levels, many are unhealthy or toxic to dogs. But there are a few excellent berry options. Blueberries, for example, are safe for dogs and famous for their potent antioxidant powers and anti-inflammatory effects.

Cruciferous vegetables. These powerhouses are famous for their cancer-fighting abilities. They contain several compounds that suppress tumor growth and attack cancer-causing carcinogens. Cruciferous vegetables also protect the heart. Cruciferous vegetable options for your dog include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and more. Some cruciferous vegetables can have negative effects on the thyroid, however cooking reduces or minimizes the impact. Cooking not only reduces thyroid effects but increases digestibility.

Garlic. While use of garlic for dogs has gained controversy of the years, it has long been used in dog products and is found in many holistic flea and tick products taken internally. Excessive amounts can thin the blood too quickly and become toxic, but garlic continues to be an ancient antiobiotic, antiparasitic and antibacterial food. Some holistic vets recommend about ¼ teaspoon a day per 15 pounds of dog. But if garlic is used at all, it should be used with caution and in small amounts.

Watermelon can help detoxify the body and has been used consistently in traditional medicine as a tonic, demulcent, diuretic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antiulcerogenic, antisecretory and hepatoprotective, along with its uses for renal stones and diabetes.

These are just a few examples. Other healthy vegetables include zucchini, asparagus, sweet potatoes, spinach and many more. As with all ingredients, start slow, work your way up, and divide intake throughout the day to minimize digestive issues.

I hope you enjoyed this article! If you are ready to feed your dog a truly nourishing diet, you may contact me anytime at dogfoodcoach@gmail.com. Thank you!