The next ingredient we’re introducing in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is Quinoa. Quinoa has stormed the human health food scene in recent years as a healthy alternative to carb-rich pasta and rice. There are hundreds of varieties of quinoa, but it is typically found in white, tan or red forms.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is thought of as a grain, but actually it is a seed. It originated thousands of years ago and is considered an “ancient grain” like amaranth, barley and farro.
Why would Quinoa be in pet food?
Quinoa packs a huge nutritional punch and is good for humans as wells as your pets. It is a gluten-free whole grain that contains high levels of protein as well as vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-6 and vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also provides minerals such as magnesium, phosphate, iron, calcium and potassium.
Quinoa is a complete protein that also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
Are there any risks to feeding your pet Quinoa?
Not really. Their seed coating can be bitter as the contain saponins, a naturally occurring chemical produced by the quinoa plant to repel insects. This coating is typically removed during processing, although trace amounts may cause mild stomach irritation although that is unlikely.
- NASA has proposed that quinoa would make an ideal food for long duration space flights.
- Quinoa was known as “the gold of the Incas” by the Aztecs who discovered it.
- Quinoa can be used to help control the development kidney stones because of its high levels of potassium.