But What is Inflammation Anyway?
Anti-inflammatory foods are super important to your pups (and your) health. But what is inflammation and why is it important? We hear about it all the time, but do we know why we think it’s so bad? It turns out, not all inflammation is bad. Like when you have an infection and your body responds to it by sending white blood cells to the area. That’s really all inflammation is, it’s our bodies sending white blood cells and the stuff they produce that protects us from foreign invaders to certain areas of the body. Sounds like an episode of Star Wars, right? But what is bad about inflammation is when our body triggers an immune response to an invader that isn’t really there, or when the body perceives its own tissues as the invaders. Like how Trump perceives American Muslims in America. A threat that is not really there and therefore evokes an inflammatory response… but I digress…
Almost all disease comes from low grade, chronic inflammation. So here are some of my favorite flame fighting foods for dogs (love that alliteration).
- Hemp Hearts:
Hemp Hearts are fun, why… because they aren’t that well known on the inflammation scene. Hemp is being proven more and more beneficial in the dietary world, and more studies come out all the time about the positive effects of several parts and applications of the hemp plant. I know a lot of pup diet-minded people and they use hemp oil instead of fish oil when replacing oil in raw food diets. Why? Because fish oil actually sucks. But that’s another post. Hemp seeds are great as well because they are a source of protein, are the closest plant molecular configuration to fish oil (omega 3, 6, 9’s), and support heart and skin health. There are 11 grams of protein in one single tablespoon of hemp seeds, so for all you dog guardians who have dogs on a vegetarian diet for (hopefully) health reasons (I never suggest doing this voluntarily, though), hemp seed can be a great replacement for meat. If your dog eats primarily a poultry diet, skip the hemp seeds and the oil because chicken already has high amounts of polyunsaturated fat and linoleic acid—and so does hemp seed and oil, causing an imbalance. An no, in case you were wondering, hemp seeds won’t get your pup (or you) high. Wrong cannabis plant… 🙂
The miracle spice that you probably have in your cabinet! The active ingredient is curcumin, whose health benefits are seemingly endless. Its anti-inflammatory properties even beat out Advil in one study. This mustard color spice can fight cancer, inflammation, allergies, digestion… you name it! Just be careful and ask your vet if your dog is on any medications, as turmeric may interfere with some. And whether it’s you or the dogs ingesting turmeric, always do it with a dash of black pepper. Piperine in black pepper inhibits our liver from filtering and cleansing the curcumin from our blood, therefore keeping more of it in our body longer, which gives our bodies a better shot of absorbing it! Fascinating huh? For an amazing recipe for turmeric paste (I wish I thought of this!) head to DNM http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/turmeric-dogs/ .
- Fresh Foods!
It’s okay—actually better than okay, it’s preferred—to feed your dog fresh food. By feeding them a handful of blueberries a day or leafy green veggies, you are saving their insides from doing the flame throwing act. Do what I do and blend up some smoothies to share or mush (not chop, not boil) fresh fruits and veggies and top their food with it a few times a week. Their insides will thank you.
Bonus round: Manuka honey, wolfberry, and ginger are all antioxidants that help fight off inflammation even harder with a 1-2 punch!
Have more favorite anti-inflammatories to share? Add them below and how you like to use them!