Often assumed to be a vegetable, tomato is actually a fruit that belongs to the nightshade family which originated in South America. It is eaten by people all over the world in salads and main meals. Now you are probably wondering what about our cute little guinea pigs, can they eat this delicious treat? No worries we have covered every question in detail about tomatoes and guinea pigs.
So, can guinea pigs eat tomatoes? Yes, guinea pigs can eat tomatoes. In fact, guinea pigs can eat every type of tomato but you should limit and pay attention to the portion size of tomatoes when feeding them to your guinea pig. Also, there are parts on the tomato plant that you shouldn’t feed your guinea pig. For instance, the stalks or vine and green leaves of tomato should be avoided at all costs. This is due to the toxic effects they have on guinea pigs.
The best types of tomatoes to feed your guinea pig are:
This was our brief info about tomatoes as food for the guinea pigs. For more details on benefits, risks or fun facts about tomatoes for guinea pigs keep reading the following sections.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Tomatoes
There are really many types of tomatoes and all of them have a wide array of benefits that can have a positive impact on the life of a guinea pig. The following are some of the best-known benefits of the fruit:
- Boost Cardiovascular Health – The health of the heart is vital to the existence of any being, and guinea pigs are no exception. Heart diseases often lead to death if not dealt with accordingly, and the best way to handle them is through prevention. Lycopene and beta-carotene are linked to a reduced risk of strokes and heart-related complications. These compounds are available in tomatoes.
- Reduces Inflammation – Swelling is caused by either diseases or injury and it is a normal body reaction. It becomes an issue when it gets to chronic levels. At this point, it can cause several complications, including cancer and diabetes. To deal with inflammation you need antioxidants, and tomatoes are filled with them.
- Aids in the Elimination of Free Radicals – These radicals occur due to metabolic processes in the body and they can cause problems for our cute little guinea pigs. This is why you need to help your guinea pig to deal with them through the provision of foods that are rich in antioxidants like tomatoes. Free radicals, when accumulated in the system, can lead to massive cell damage and diseases.
- Tomatoes Are Good for the Skin – Some compounds in tomatoes such as lycopene are known to provide the skin with nourishment and protection.
- Helps to Boost the Immune System – The vitamin C that is present in tomatoes helps in improving the functioning of the white blood cells which ward off diseases from your guinea pig’s body. The vitamin c equally plays an important role in the absorption of certain minerals such as iron which are essential for the blood. The deficiency of this vitamin will cause a disease known as scurvy.
- Helps in the Development of Strong Bones and Teeth – The presence of vitamin K in tomatoes means that your guinea pig will have healthy teeth and bones. This is important for guinea pigs since they are quite fragile animals.
- Help with Digestion – Tomatoes have an average amount of dietary fiber that still helps with digestion. Dietary fiber also helps with nutrient absorption on top of preventing digestive problems such as constipation.
- May Contribute to Weight Loss – First of all, tomatoes have a low amount of calories present in them, and secondly, they induce satiety through dietary fiber. Both of these two reasons are attributed to weight loss properties since they reduce the intake and overall levels of calories in the guinea pig’s body.
Nutrition Facts of Tomatoes
These are the nutritional facts for 1 cup of tomatoes (150 g):
- Calories 26.8 (112 kJ) – very low amount of calories.
- Protein 1.3 g, carbohydrate 5.8 g – very good amount of proteins and carbohydrates.
- Vitamin C 18.9 mg – the importance of this vitamin, cannot be overstated. It is essential for the daily life of a guinea pig and should not be taken for granted
- Vitamin K 11.8 mcg – an essential vitamin for blood clotting and bone formation/growth.
- Folate 22.3 mcg – this is a compound that is needed by the heart to avoid failure. It is also vital for tissue growth and cell function.
- Potassium 353 mg – aside from preventing heart diseases and complications, this mineral also lowers the blood pressure.
- Dietary fiber 1.8 g – fiber is a vital nutrient for the guinea pigs since it helps in digestion and also plays other important roles.
- Lycopene – this is a powerful antioxidant that has benefits towards reducing inflammation and the existence of free radicals in the body.
- Beta carotene – this is another antioxidant that is mostly converted into vitamin A and it helps to improve sight, among many other functions.
- Chlorogenic acid – aside from acting as a potent antioxidant, this acid also plays a role in the lowering of blood pressure in the guinea pig’s body.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Tomatoes to Guinea Pigs
Several risks are associated with tomatoes, just as any other food has its own risks. These are some of them:
- Some guinea pigs can be allergic to tomatoes – The noticeable allergic reactions include swelling of the mouth and throat. In case you notice this, you need to give the guinea pig water right away and stop the feeding process. If the symptoms get worse, then you can always book an appointment with a qualified vet for assistance.
- If tomatoes are eaten in excess by guinea pigs this can result in diarrhea and lip sores – For this reason, you should reduce the serving size of the tomatoes that you give your guinea pig. Guinea pigs cannot regulate the intake of food on their own. Remember that the staple food for guinea pigs is hay and fruits or vegetables only act as supplements.
- Presence of too many sugars – Some types of tomatoes contain a bit more sugar than it is needed by guinea pigs. This presents a problem. A way to regulate this is by offering the cavy tomatoes once in a while, maybe one or two times per week.
Serving Size and Frequency of Tomatoes for Guinea Pigs
You need to chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces for the guinea pig to eat comfortably without any problem. For a serving size never go more than half a cup or handful of tomatoes. One thing to note is that guinea pigs won’t have any problem eating tomato seeds. These seeds are unlike the other seeds which are huge and can pose a potential choking hazard to your guinea pig.
As for the frequency of serving tomatoes for guinea pigs is 2 times a week. This is a good number in order to keep a rich and balanced diet with different vegetables and fruits.
Quick Facts on Tomatoes
The following are some fantastic facts about tomatoes that you need to know:
- There are different variants of tomatoes in the world.
- Ketchup was initially a Chinese sauce that had no tomatoes in it. After a century, tomatoes were added to the recipe for the sauce.
- When tomatoes are under attack from caterpillars, they emit a chemical that makes their leaves taste terrible.
- In Egypt 2012, protesters where trowing tomatoes on Hillary Clinton.
- Tomato juice is mostly made out of tomato sauce rather than the fresh fruits, in America.
- Research has shown the possibility of growing tomatoes on soil that is similar to dirt. This has led to the assumption that tomatoes can be grown on Mars.
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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