Sunflower seeds, in a layman’s terms, can be referred to as the fruits of the sunflower plant. These seeds are taken from the flower heads of the sunflower plant. Sunflower seeds are normally eaten by animals and humans consume these seeds as a treat.
So, can guinea pigs eat sunflower seeds? Guinea pigs cannot eat sunflower seeds because of the potential choking hazard. It can stick to guinea pig’s teeth. Also, you should note that sunflower seeds, just like any other seeds, are very fattening and this is not good for the health of your guinea pig. Your guinea pig needs to remain in optimum weight in order to lead a healthy life.
Again you should remember that seeds are not highly nutritious as compared to some of the other foods that you can give your guinea pig. Also, since guinea pigs are pet animals and they cannot choose their foods by themselves, it is your responsibility to select the ideal food for them. In this article, we’ll discuss more information about sunflower seeds and guinea pigs.
Are Sunflower Seeds Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
There are benefits that sunflower seeds can have on guinea pigs. The following are some of the best-known benefits:
Helps in the Maintenance of a Steady Blood Pressure
Optimum blood pressure means a healthy heart. High blood pressure is majorly caused by unsteady movements of the heart muscles that cause the heart to pump at higher than average speeds. High blood pressure can cause heart diseases including a heart attack if not appropriately handled.
Sunflower seeds have a compound that blocks an enzyme that may lead to the tightening of blood vessels. When this enzyme is dealt with, it leads to the relaxation of blood vessels hence ensuring that the blood pressure is maintained at optimum levels.
Also, sunflower seeds have the mineral known as magnesium that equally aids in the reduction of blood pressure. Unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid also help in the relaxation of blood vessels in your guinea pig.
Relieves and Reduces Inflammation
Swelling, or a better know term inflammation, is a condition that results from the body’s reaction to diseases and infections. Sometimes the swelling is brought by some type of injury.
Although this is a normal body process, it is quite risky when it gets chronic. Among other compounds in sunflower seeds, flavonoids can help reduce the chances of inflammation from getting to chronic levels.
Helps to Boost the Guinea Pig’s Immune System
Guinea pigs naturally have a weak immune system that leaves them vulnerable to attack from diseases and infections. To stay healthy and robust, these pets depend on the food that they eat.
Some of the vitamins that guinea pigs depend on vitamin C and A, which happen to be present in sunflower seeds, though in small portions. Vitamin C, for instance, is a perfect option for guinea pigs health as they can’t create nor store it on their own.
Sunflower Seeds Can Help in Digestion
Digestion is one process that guinea pigs have difficulty with. That is why they need help from the nutrients they get from different foods.
One such nutrient that aids in digestion is dietary fiber. This nutrient helps with the digestive process and with the extraction of nutrients from food.
In addition to this, it also helps in relieving constipation and making bowel movement easier for guinea pigs.
Nutrition Facts of Sunflower Seeds
The following are some of the nutrients present in sunflowers seeds:
- Energy – 584 kcal
- Protein – 20.78 g
- Total fat – 51.46 g
- Carbs – 20 g
- Dietary Fiber – 8.6 g
- Sugars – 2.62 g
- Calcium – 78 mg
- Iron – 5.25 mg
- Magnesium – 325 mg
- Phosphorus – 660 mg
- Potassium – 645 mg
- Sodium – 9 mg
- Vitamin C – 1.4 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 1.345 mg
- Folate – 227 µg
- Vitamin E – 35.17 mg
Are Sunflower Seeds Bad for Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks
There are several risks that sunflower seeds can bring to guinea pigs. The following are some of them:
Sunflower seeds, just like any other seeds, are a potential choking hazard for your guinea pig. If your guinea pig starts choking on sunflower seeds, offer your pet sufficient water and stop the feeding process immediately.
Some guinea pigs may be allergic to sunflower seeds. Although this is rare, you cannot dispute the fact of it happening.
Some of the allergic reactions may occur as mouth swelling, vomiting, diarrhea and fever among many other symptoms. In case you notice this, stop the feeding them sunflower seeds and seek medical assistance from a qualified vet.
Presence of Cadmium
This is a heavy metal that is found in sunflower seeds. It can cause a lot of damage to their kidney.
Quick Facts on Sunflower Seeds
There are several facts about sunflower seeds that you probably didn’t know:
- Sunflower seeds landed in Russia through the hands of royalty.
- Sunflower can be used in scrubbing. The sunflower heads that don’t have seeds in them can be converted into scrubbing pads to clean places.
- Each of the sunflower heads is made up of many tiny flowers.
- The petals that are visible around the flower heads are known as ray florets. These florets can’t reproduce.
- Sunflower seeds have been carried to space by astronauts.
- In ancient times, sunflower seeds were used to soothe chest pains.
- The tallest sunflower in the world measures 30 feet and an inch.
- Sunflowers follow the sun’s movement from east to west and hence their name.
- Sunflowers require a lot of sunlight to grow to maturity.
- The sunflower plant originated in America.
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.
List of Sources
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Foods Boosting the Immune System -Sunflower Seeds (Helianthus Annuus)