4 pet food ingredients from superfood plants

Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, quinoa and peas are plant products that pet food manufacturers have marketed as superfoods.

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photo by Karissaa | BigStockPhoto
photo by Karissaa | BigStockPhoto

1. Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes can now be found in pet food diets for the treatment of food hypersensitivities/allergies.

2. Pumpkin: Pumpkin can be used in raw pet food diets as a fiber source to help alleviate constipation, which can be an issue when feeding raw pet food diets.

3. Quinoa: These protein-rich seeds are gluten-free and grow in arid, harsh environments.

4. Peas: Peas provide protein, vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin K, copper, zinc and manganese.

Certain nutrient-rich plants have gained popularity under the term superfoods, both in human and pet food. Although there’s no legal or medical definition of a superfood, these ingredients became especially popular in premium and super-premium products, including premium pet treats.

Nutritious alternatives

Some plant superfood ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, now are used in elimination diets for the treatment of food hypersensitivities, according to Greg Aldrich, PhD, animal nutritionist at Kansas State University. However, little has been published regarding sweet potato nutrition or usage in pet food.

A lack of published research is a common problem for plant superfood ingredients in pet food, wrote Aldrich. Such is the case for pumpkin, but his analysis of existing information suggested that the incorporation of pumpkin into pet food looks promising as an alternative ingredient.

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