It’s a papaya, it’s a chia seed, it’s a superfood!
Food that has particularly high nutritional value is often labeled a “superfood.” These nutrient-packed foods are key sources of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein.
Superfoods in pet food are also functional ingredients. Functional ingredients provide bonus benefits beyond basic nutrition when they are part of a complete and balanced diet. Antioxidants, omega fatty acids and fiber provide some of these bonus benefits.
Antioxidants help keep pets healthy by protecting them from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of normal metabolism, but if more free radicals are produced than there are antioxidants to control them, health issues, like cancer and heart disease, can occur. Antioxidants in superfoods can work with antioxidants naturally produced by the body to control these free radicals.
The bonus benefits of antioxidants include immune system support and maintenance of healthy skin. Superfoods that are sources of antioxidants include quinoa, blueberries, carrots, oranges and spinach.
Omega Fatty Acids
Fatty acids are components of fats that are energy sources, are precursors of hormones and chemical signals, and have key roles in cell membrane integrity. Some omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential and need to be provided in your pet’s food because they either can’t be synthesized by the body or can’t be synthesized in enough quantities to meet nutritional requirements. They are required by young animals for proper brain and vision development.
The bonus benefits of some omega-6 or omega-3 fatty acids include healthy skin, shiny coat, anti-inflammatory effects and improvement of diseases like kidney disease and heart disease. Superfoods that contain omega fatty acids include chia seed, coconut, flaxseed, salmon and salmon oil.
There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble — that help support healthy digestion in pets. Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance and slows down food digestion, and insoluble fiber helps move food through the intestines.
Intestinal microbes (the microbiota) ferment some dietary fiber to produce an energy source for intestinal cells, regulate colon pH and encourage growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. Fiber also promotes the production of regular, firm stools, helps with weight loss by improving the sense of feeling full and helps control hairballs in cats. Superfoods that are fiber sources include quinoa, blueberries, oranges and papaya.
Superfoods in Pet Foods
As well as providing a high nutritional value, superfoods as pet food ingredients can provide bonus benefits that help keep pets healthy and active. Below are some examples of superfood ingredients used in Diamond pet food formulas.
Examples of Superfoods Included in Diamond Pet Food Formulas
If you ever wonder about an ingredient in a Diamond-brand dog or cat food and why it’s there, be sure to check out our ingredient glossary, send us an email or call our customer service team at 1-800-442-0402.