Red peppers are a standard food item in many cuisines worldwide. This veggie is incredibly tasty and nutritious, with many health benefits. We use the red peppers in salads, as a side dish, for cooked meals, stuffed paprikas, and many other recipes. And, because our guinea pigs are vegetarians and herbivores, they should probably eat red peppers, right? Don’t worry we will give you a detailed answer.
Can guinea pigs eat red peppers? Yes, guinea pigs can eat red peppers. However, red pepper has the highest amount of sugar out of all types of peppers. Red peppers can be fed to guinea pigs only in moderation (or as a treat). The good thing about red peppers is that they contain vitamin C, which is highly beneficial for our guinea pig. A few times per week is a good serving frequency, and the portion should be just one big slice of red pepper.
Some owners feed their guinea pigs red pepper daily, but this is not recommended due to the sugar and calcium amounts. A good rule is 2-3 times per week.
Alright, so the good news is that guinea pigs can consume this veggie safely but occasionally, in a moderate amount. They can still get the benefits of pepper even from just one slice. A well-balanced diet with a variety of veggies and fruits will provide your guinea pig with all needed nutrients. Let’s see some of the pros and cons of red pepper as food for guinea pigs.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Red Peppers
- Scurvy prevention – vitamin C is not naturally produced by guinea pigs, so they must receive it through foods or supplements. Red pepper is rich in this vitamin and it will prevent scurvy (diarrhea, rough fur, bleeding, no appetite, discharge…)
- Healthy blood – the iron and copper in red peppers ensure that the blood is healthy and not at risk for anemia.
- Antioxidants – vitamin A and manganese in red pepper act as good protectors of the overall health and immunity. They remove the free radicals and the risk of diseases they could cause.
Nutrition Facts of Red Peppers
In 100 g (3 oz) of sweet raw red pepper, these are the nutrients:
- Low in calories – 31 calories. Red peppers are not a threat for rapid weight changes. This veggie is not fattening for the guinea pig.
- Low in carbs and protein – in red peppers, there are 6.3 g of carbs and 1 g of protein.
- Fiber – 2.1 g. A good and normal amount of fibers; this will regulate the bowel movements and will improve the digestion. A higher amount of fibers could cause loose stool.
- High in sugar – 4.2 g. This is a lot of sugar for a veggie! The guinea pigs cannot digest the sugars well, even from natural, raw foods. Excess sugar causes pains and digestion problems for guinea pigs.
- Low in fat – 0.3 g. High amounts of fat are proven to be harmful to the blood vessels and cardiovascular health. Luckily, red peppers have a small amount of fat and they are a safe food for the guinea pigs.
- Vitamin A – 63%. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and keeps the health of the brain, kidneys, lungs, skin, heart and eyes.
- Vitamin C – 213%. It is amazing that red peppers are so full of vitamin C. Without this vitamin, the guinea pigs are prone to a fatal disease called scurvy.
- Vitamin E – 8%. E vitamin is essential for skin health and better skin quality. It prevents certain cancers too, slows down aging, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation too.
- Vitamin K – 6%. This vitamin helps in the production of prothrombin, the protein that clots blood when injuries happen.
- Thiamin – 4%. This is the B1 vitamin and it promotes good flow of electrolytes to all nerves and muscles. Also, it converts everything consumed into energy.
- Riboflavin – 5%. Also known as B2 vitamin. The B2 also converts food into energy, but it also promotes good oxygen flow in all of the cells too.
- Niacin – 5%. Niacin lowers the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, high cholesterol, and arthritis pains.
- Vitamin B6 – 15%. This vitamin can make your guinea pig happier and well rested! Yes, this vitamin boosts serotonin production (happiness hormone).
- Pantothenic acid – 3%. Known as the B5 vitamin. B5 creates blood cells and converts food to energy.
- Calcium – 7mg. Calcium is a mineral which forms strong and healthy bones. However, calcium is harmful to fully developed guinea pigs and it can cause urinary complications.
- Iron – 2%. This mineral is found in red blood cells, and it can prevent anemia.
- Magnesium – 3%. Magnesium removes pains in the body, keeps muscle tissues healthy, prevents diabetes and heart problems too.
- Potassium – 6%. Potassium regulates the blood pressure and prevents heart diseases.
- Zinc – 2%. The zinc will help in faster healing of wounds and injuries, and also will boost the immune system overall.
- Copper – 1%. The copper works together with iron to strengthen the blood. The copper is crucial because it forms red blood cells.
- Manganese – 6%. Manganese acts as an antioxidant and reduces the risk of all diseases that could appear due to free radical damage. Also, it regulates blood sugar.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Red Peppers to Guinea Pigs
- Painful digestion – the sugar content in red peppers is quite high. This will surely upset the stomach, flatulence, and cramps during digestion because stomachs of guinea pigs are not designed to digest excess sugars.
- Urinary problems – the calcium in red peppers could complicate the health of the urinary system. There is a chance of urinary stones, infections in the urinary system, bloody urine and renal failure (if the cavy is not cured in time for any urinary problems).
Quick Facts On Red Peppers
- Red peppers are just green peppers that were left to ripen
- Technically, the red peppers are a fruit, but for culinary purposes, we refer to them as veggies
- The red peppers are the sweetest out of all pepper types
- Red pepper has more vitamin C than green pepper
- Peppers are native to South and Central America
- The oldest pepper was found in Oaxaca and Puebla, Federal Districts of Mexico
- The bell pepper seeds were carried to Spain back in 1493, and after that, they were brought to other countries in Europe, and Asia too
- At first, peppers were highly unpopular in Europe
- Apart from red and green peppers, there are other colors too: yellow, orange, white, brown, purple and lavender.
- China produces most peppers worldwide, and other countries that produce this veggie are: USA, Turkey, Mexico, and Indonesia
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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