Are you confused about the role of antioxidants in pet foods? Well, you are not alone. Below we explain what antioxidants are, what their purpose is, and why we put them in our pet foods.
Everyone knows that like us, our pets need oxygen to survive. But it also causes oxidation, which is a process by which chemicals in the body are altered and become what is known as free radicals. Free radicals are generated when the body turns food into energy, and they are also a result of exposure to environmental factors like sun exposure, pollution, cigarette smoke, etc. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all share a voracious appetite for electrons, stealing them from nearby cells. This electron theft can radically change the structure and function of the cell, leaving it unable to complete it’s job properly. This can result in an increased risk of infection and disease, and accelerate the aging process in the body.
Antioxidants are the free-radical fighters that are produced by the body, or derived from the healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, which are consumed. Precise calls them cell protectors. Antioxidants can protect and often reverse some of the damage caused by oxidation. They fight free radicals by generously giving electrons to the thieves, satisfying their voracious appetite. Essentially, they are electron donors.
There are hundreds of substances that can act as an antioxidant but the most familiar ones are vitamins A, C and E, lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and selenium. These are found in many foods, and they are also available as dietary supplements. Some of the sources of antioxidants that Precise uses in our pet foods are apples, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, carrots, peas, sunflower oil, eggs, brown rice and citrus fiber.
The best way to ensure that your pet gets plenty of antioxidants is by providing a diet that contains some vegetables, fruits and whole grains. A variety of sources is also important as each antioxidant plays a slightly different role. There is good evidence that eating a diet with lots of different vegetables and fruits is beneficial because they not only supply antioxidants to your pet, but also provide a package of healthy substances like vitamins, minerals and fiber as well, that promote health.
In conclusion, antioxidants promote a healthy immune system and thereby increase the potential to lower the risk for certain diseases. Precise thinks that is good reason to celebrate antioxidants, because we all want our pets to live long and vibrant lives.