Perhaps what has impressed me so much are some of the research of how changes in our diets can have such an enormous impact in overall health. In particular the role of dietary fiber and what it can do to populate the gastrointestinal tract with prebiotics. I've recently written extensively about probiotics and their impact to the microbiome. There are many plant varieties that can offer prebiotic benefits to people and animals. Whole grains, legumes (beans) pumpkin, chicory root, flaxseed, peas and more. Another fascinating plant is sea kelp. Through my studies few years ago, I learned about a particular variety of sea kelp called "Ascophyllum nodosum" that is grown and harvested off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. The health benefits to dogs and cats of this particular variety are truly amazing. The studies showed that there are four key benefits to animals from this sea kelp: 1. Improved gastro intestinal health, 2. Building a stronger immune defense system, 3. Antioxidant protection and 4. Stress reduction, particularly from heat. All four of these benefits can be significant to animals. Here are the details of each health benefit to dog and cats:
- Improving Gastro Intestinal Health: The unique fiber profile of this kelp acts as a prebiotic, supporting normal digestive function.
- Building a Stronger Immune Defense System: The insoluble fiber and polyphenol compounds support the immune system in a unique way.
- Antioxidant protection: The Polyphenolics, Flavonoids and Fucoxanthan act as antioxidants within the gastro intestinal tract, which is an important system function.
- Stress Reduction, particularly from heat: The bioactive molecules in Ascophyllum nodosum kelp support the animals natural ability to resist stress. We thought this was a wonderful benefit to animals.