The next ingredient we’re covering in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is Green Tea.
What is Green Tea?
Green Tea originates from the plant species, Camellia sinensis. This is the same species that black tea comes from and it’s only the variety of tea plant and method of processing that distinguishes the two. Green tea is considered to have originated in China. China’s Yunnan province is considered to be the original home of the Camellia sinensis plant species.
Why would Green Tea be in pet food?
Green tea’s benefits are plentiful. It is an excellent source of antioxidants and alkaloids. It also contains plenty of vitamins including vitamins A, D, E, C, B, B5, H and K, manganese and other minerals such as zinc, chromium and selenium. Green tea is about 30 percent polyphenols by weight, including large amounts of a catechin called EGCG. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other health benefits.
In humans, green tea is thought to:
- Be an anti-cancer agent, and to lower blood cholesterol. Cancer tumors of the stomach, gall bladderbalder, lung & intestine are thought to be inhibited by green tea.
- Improves brain function
- Increases metabolism and fat burning
- Improves dental health
- Improves longevity
Looking at all these benefits, it makes sense you would want your pet to benefit from a little cup of tea.
Are there any risks to feeding your pet Green Tea?
Green tea does contain caffeine and may interrupt your pet’s sleep or make them jumpy or overactive – just as too much caffeine does in humans. It’s not a supplement to put in their water bowl, but there are many dog foods that contain green tea and the amounts provided through these meals would be conservative and acceptable.
Green Tea Factoids:
- One popular legend suggests that Shennong, Emperor of China and supposed inventor of Chinese medicine, discovered tea as a beverage around 2737 BC when fresh tea leaves from a nearby tea tree fell into his cup of just boiled water.
- Green tea is essentially the same thing as the trendy ‘matcha’ tea. Like black tea, matcha is in the same family and just undergoes a different farming process. It’s typically consumed as a powder rather than in leaf form which makes it more concentrated and higher in caffeine.
- It’s rumored that tea might help prevent fleas, so you can sprinkle some green tea leaves around your pet’s bedding.
A sampling of pet foods that contain Green Tea:
Wellness™ Complete Health Grain Free Small Breed Deboned Turkey, Chicken & Salmon
Artemis™ Fresh Mix Feline Formula
By Nature™ Turkey, Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe