The guinea pigs are possibly the cutest furry rodent pets we can have! What makes them so unique and special is that they are the most sociable house pets out there. And, they’re vegetarian! Don’t let this fool you – vegetarian meal planning can be tricky too. We as their owners must plan out their nutrition well. Just because they are vegetarians doesn’t mean we should toss anything in their cage. Yes, it is simple to organize a vegetarian menu, but there are some veggies and fruits that need more research before you feed the cavy. For example, such food is bean sprouts.
Can guinea pigs eat bean sprouts? Yes, guinea pigs can eat bean sprouts. However, this is one of those foods the guinea pigs dislike a bit, even though they can eat it. Some cavies like the taste of bean sprouts, but most of them don’t. The bean sprouts have a specific taste, smell, and aroma, so even if the cavy eats this, sometimes it will not be too satisfied. The bean sprouts are not the main food for cavies, but they have some benefits. This is why it’s ok to give bean sprouts to cavies in small amounts, just once or twice a week – not more.
The bean sprouts are vegetables that are mostly grown from mung beans that start to sprout. This is done by watering beans that sprout, they are grown in a dark place. The humidity, moistness and the darkroom allow the quick sprouting. Bean sprouts are a very popular food in the Asian region. Also, the sprouts look like veggie noodles at first glance, and this makes it easy for the cavies to chew them. However, they have a very specific aroma and this can sometimes be unpleasant for guinea pigs. Still, is this food they healthy for cavies? Why are most cavies not crazy about them? Let’s have a detailed look.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Bean Sprouts
One benefit is that bean sprouts have carbs and proteins, and this gives the cavy enough energy during the day. There is almost no fat in bean sprouts, and this keeps blood vessels and cardiovascular system healthy.
If given in moderation, the bean sprouts will work up digestion well, because all bean-like foods have fibers that improve digestion instantly.
The most important benefit for cavies is the vitamin C. Bean sprouts have vitamin C, and this is the most essential vitamin for cavies. The guinea pigs cannot make this vitamin naturally. Also, they cannot store this vitamin in their bodies, so supplements or foods with vitamin C are a must. If your cavy gets the needed vitamin C, it won’t develop scurvy (rough coat, stiff joints, fatigue, no appetite, nose/eyes discharge).
Also, there are many good minerals in bean sprouts. The leaf part has the vitamin C too, also vitamin K and other minerals that can stop the calcium buildup! This is good because too much calcium can create bladder and kidney stones for the cavy.
Other benefits of bean sprouts are good eyesight, prevention of heart problems, and healthier bones. However, even with all these benefits, the bean sprouts must be given rarely, because they come with risks at the same time. We’ll mention them in another section below.
Nutrition Facts of Bean Sprouts
The bean sprouts are literally sprouts of beans. Usually, any bean can be used for this, but most commonly used are the mung beans, and soybeans too. Sprouts as a type of food are rich in fibers, they have almost no fats (this goes for the mung beans). For guinea pigs, they are good for overall health but let’s see the nutrition values of bean sprouts in details.
For a serving of 3 oz (100 g) of bean sprouts, there is:
- 31 calories in total
- 2 g carbs (for quick release of energy)
- 2 g protein (for slow release of energy)
- 2 g fat (low fat content which is good for the cardiovascular system)
- 9 g fiber (for good digestion)
- 23% vitamin C (the essential vitamin for the cavy’s health)
- 43% vitamin K (for healthy bones and healthy blood clotting)
- 16% folate (for healthy DNA, a healthy division of cells)
- 10% manganese (an antioxidant, reduces the risk of diseases)
- 9% copper (good for red blood cells, for nerve cells and for immunity)
- 8% riboflavin (for healthy growth and development, helps to break down carbs and proteins to make energy, helps the body use up lots of oxygen)
- 6% phosphorus (for healthy and strong bones, energy and healthy muscles. But, this acts similar to calcium and is not good for cavies in large amounts)
- 5% vitamin B6 (for making serotonin – good mood hormone)
- 5% iron (for healthy blood)
- 5% magnesium (for healthy bones, muscles, heart, for preventing diabetes)
- 4% niacin (for lowering cholesterol)
- 4% potassium (preventing stroke, hypertension, heart and kidney problems, makes good electrolyte balance, keeps muscles strong)
As we see, there are plenty of nutrients in the bean sprouts. You can give the cavy some bean sprouts 1-2 times per week. A good serving can be less than a handful, or several sprouts.
If this is a new food for the cavy, introduce it slowly and make sure the sprouts don’t smell too much. Introduce this as plain food. If you mix it with something else, the cavy might not be too happy about it. After all, this is a new food for them and must be tried separately.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Bean Sprouts to Guinea Pigs
The bean sprouts are relatively ok to digest and can be good for digestion – if served in moderation. One risk of too much bean sprouts could be imbalanced digestion or imbalanced digestive health. The cavy might be a bit bloated or have gas buildup.
Another risk of bean sprouts is the possible risk of foodborne illnesses. Rodents, especially guinea pigs, are prone to getting or carrying some illnesses that can be transmitted to humans too. If some fresh produce is cooked lightly or if it’s eaten raw, it can carry some foodborne illness. This goes even for bean sprouts.
Why? Well, beans and seeds require a very warm and very humid environment. This way they grow and sprout. But, such a warm and humid environment is also perfect for growing bacteria – such as E.coli, listeria, and even salmonella. For humans, it’s always best to cook bean sprouts before eating. This goes mostly for kids, people with weak immunity and pregnant women. However, be careful with the cavy, because these foods can expose it to the risk of such illnesses. Your cavy can try both raw and cooked bean sprouts – what matters is the small size serving, once a week.
The bean sprouts have phosphorus and this is not very good for cavies. The phosphorus (works together with calcium) is closely linked to most urinary problems in guinea pigs. The healthy kidneys must always have a balance between the calcium and phosphorus. Foods with lots of calcium or phosphorus will probably make bladder and kidney stones in cavies.
Quick Facts on Bean Sprouts and Guinea Pigs
- Guinea pigs can eat bean sprouts, but it’s not the best food choice
- The taste is very unique – the cavies either like it or hate it
- Bean sprouts are not the main food item – they are given very rarely
- The normal frequency of serving is once per week, maximum twice
- A normal serving is a few bean sprouts or less than a handful
- Sprouts are made in a warm and humid environment
- They have carbs and proteins, and no fat
- Bean sprouts also have vitamin C (the most important vitamin for the cavy’s health)
- The stem part has manganese and vitamin K
- The upper stem part has vitamin C, K, and minerals
- A small amount of sprouts is good for digestion
- Excess amount causes gasses, bloating and slower digestion
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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