Leveraging the Antioxidant Properties of Fruits and Vegetables
Free Radicals Matter
Consumers know that antioxidants from fruits and vegetables provide positive benefits for their own health and they are looking for these same benefits for their pets. The most common antioxidants used in dog food, for example, include vitamin E, vitamin C, citric acid and rosemary. Vitamin C is commonly found in cranberries, blueberries, apples and some other fruits. Powerful antioxidants contained in these fruits can help the body, human or animal, fight free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive, oxygen-containing molecules that can damage cell membranes and enzymes, which makes the nervous and immune system especially vulnerable. Free radicals are considered factors in disease progression and premature aging. The right amount of antioxidants in a pet food or treat can help make a difference. Antioxidants within the formula work together to support overall health and provide for the entire body. Antioxidants supply multiple health benefits, including but not limited to anti-inflammatory effects, positive impact on immunity, retinal responses and physiological changes in the brain
Many fruits and vegetables contain a diverse array of phytochemicals known as phenolics. This includes flavonoids, such as anthocyanins. Some anthocyanins, like quercetin for example, can cross the blood-brain barrier. Phytochemicals have a complex molecular structure allowing them to bind free radicals, so they cannot attack metabolic systems within the body. Some of the fruits experts recommend for their anti-inflammatory properties can include pineapples, apples, mangos, cantaloupes and berries, particularly blueberries. Vegetables like pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes and carrots can also be very helpful for inflammation due to the beta-carotene content.
Antioxidants are now documented as influencing retinal response, particularly in dogs. A specific study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science 4 found, “Antioxidant supplementation…may be beneficial and effective in the long-term preservation and improvement of various functions of the canine eye.”