What are the radishes? Radishes are a small, round, red, root veggies with green leaves and a very specific aroma and taste. We use this root vegetable in salads mostly, but also in many cooked meals and as an addition to healthy smoothies as well. This veggie is very unique because of the taste – zesty, spicy, a bit bitter and some people compare it to garlic strangely, but with a much milder flavor. Today we will discuss if our guinea pigs can safely consume radishes.
Can guinea pigs eat radishes? No, guinea pigs cannot eat radishes. Sometimes, extremely rarely, they could just have a tiny bit of the radish just to taste it (however not recommendable). This is because the radish is full of oxalates and these compounds will act similar to the calcium for the guinea pigs – creating bladder stones. The oxalates are found in many foods and they work together with the calcium, they bind together after the food is digested (more details in the ‘Risks’ section). If there is an excess of oxalates, they will pile up in the kidneys as a waste product. This is a serious damage for the urinary system of the guinea pigs that will result in urinary stones.
Now, let’s see the nutrients, benefits (if there are any for the guinea pigs), risks and more facts for the radishes as potential food for your guinea pig.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Radishes
Sadly, the guinea pigs won’t enjoy the benefits of eating radishes. If they could eat this veggie, they would benefit from vitamin C, along with other nutrients as well, but unfortunately, they can’t eat this veggie. So, other alternatives for such nutrients must be given, instead of radishes. Some of the most popular veggies for receiving the same type of nutrients are bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, kale, and some fruits.
Nutrition Facts of Radishes
For raw radishes, 100 g (3 oz), here are the nutrients:
- Low in calories – 16 calories. The radishes are not caloric, this means they cannot change the weight of the guinea pig (no risk from obesity).
- Low in carbs and proteins – radishes have a low amount of carbs 3.5 g, and protein too, 0.7 g. They won’t provide much energy, but still that should be enough coming from a very diet-friendly veggie.
- Fiber – 1.6 g. Fibers are good for the digestion. They improve bowel movements and the regular emptying of the bowels. Without them, there is constipation, and excess of fibers causes diarrhea.
- Sugar – 1.9 g. The amount of sugar is not too high here, but still it needs some precaution. Sugars are not well digested by guinea pigs and they can cause belly cramps and even stool problems.
- Low in fat – 0.1 g. Radishes are low in fat, which is really good. This means that the cardiovascular system will be in good health.
- Vitamin C – 25%. Radishes have a good amount of vitamin C, which is much needed for the guinea pigs health and survival. Sadly, they cannot receive this vitamin from the radishes.
- Vitamin K – 2%. This vitamin is important for faster blood clotting, in case an injury happens. This means they will not lose too much blood. It creates the prothrombin, the protein that clots the blood when needed.
- Riboflavin – 2%. This is the B2 vitamin (its other name). B2 will convert every food in the body into energy, but also it promotes better flow of oxygen in all of the cells in the organism.
- Vitamin B6 – 4%. A vitamin that reduces stress and anxiety. B6 boosts serotonin production (happiness hormone).
- Pantothenic acid – 2%. This is the B5 vitamin and it also converts consumed foods into energy.
- Calcium – 25 mg. Not a good amount of calcium for the guinea pigs at all. It can damage the health of their urinary system. Otherwise, this mineral forms healthy bone tissues, but only when the guinea pigs are still developing and growing.
- Iron – 2%. The iron is essential for healthy blood and it fights off anemia.
- Potassium – 7%. The potassium will always keep the blood pressure at normal levels, so with this, the cardiovascular system will be perfectly healthy.
- Copper – 3%. The copper binds with the iron and forms red blood cells. Also, it keeps the health of the blood vessels optimal, boosts the immunity, and helps in better absorption of iron too.
- Phytosterols – 7 mg. The phytosterols can lower cholesterol, can prevent heart diseases, and lessen inflammation too.
Caution: If you really want your guinea pig to have a taste of radishes, try to give him the tiniest bite, as rare as possible – almost never!. By a tiny bite, we mean the smallest little slice or cube you can chunk up. And most likely, the guinea pig will dislike the bitter and spicy taste of radish.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Radishes to Guinea Pigs
- Bad digestion – even though the radishes have a low amount of sugar, this is still a reason to worry about. With a tiny bite for the guinea pig to nibble just for taste, rarely, it should be ok (but, avoid this as much as you can). Also, in excess, the sugar will cause very painful digestion for the guinea pig – cramps, loose stool, flatulence, and gasses as well. A safe bet is to not risk giving radishes to the guinea pigs at all because you could put them through the painful tummy aches. Also, the specific spicy and bitter aroma of radishes will also upset the stomach of the poor little friend. Keep this in mind.
- Urinary complications – radishes have lots of calcium. This mineral may form strong bones, but it is not crucial at all for fully grown guinea pigs. In fact, it will cause them urinary problems like stones in kidneys and bladder, blood in urine and frequent infections of the urinary system. And, the oxalates in radishes will do this as well – research has shown that 8 of 10 urinary stones in guinea pigs are caused by calcium and oxalates binding.
Quick Facts on Radishes
- Radishes were first cultivated in China, and later in the 1500s in Europe too. In Massachusetts, they were cultivated in 1629
- This veggie belongs in the cabbage family. Its root is linked to cauliflower, broccoli, kale and also horseradish
- Also, radishes are quite similar and related to the wasabi, used in Japanese cuisine, mostly for its spicy and strong flavor
- 400 million pounds of radishes are consumed every year by Americans only!
- The term ‘radish’ simply means ‘root’, and this term comes from the Latin word ‘radix’
- Ancient Egyptians used the radish seed oil before olive oil was known and used.
- In Mexico, there is a day celebrated as “The Day of the Radishes”, on December 23rd – they carve the radishes into artworks!
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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