In this article, we are going to talk about turnip greens as food for the guinea pig! What exactly are the turnip greens? They are the green part of the turnip vegetable (cruciferous vegetable family, such as broccoli or kale). In this article, we are only going to talk about turnip greens (top part), our guinea pigs can also consume the bottom part/root of the turnip (see our previous article for more details).
The turnip greens resemble spinach leaves or rocket leaves. We consume turnip greens in many cooked meals and salads, wraps, sandwiches, or we consume them sauteed, raw, boiled – in every possible way! Let’s see if our guinea pigs can eat this turnip greens as well.
Can guinea pigs eat turnip greens? Yes, guinea pigs can eat turnip greens. The turnip greens have vitamin C and other nutrients that are good for the guinea pig. The bad thing about turnip greens is the calcium content and because of this, they can eat this veggie just 2 times per week.
Guinea pigs really love the taste of turnip greens, they will beg you for more, but you are the owner and you need to be cautious with the serving size and how often you will feed your guinea pig with turnip greens.
Turnip greens are on the ‘allowed foods’ list for our furry cute friends. Twice per week is enough for the guinea pig to have a variety in the diet, and still get the benefits of the turnip greens. With the proper serving size and caution with high-calcium foods, you can avoid any potential risks for the guinea pig. So, let’s see some facts, details, pros and cons for turnip greens as food for the guinea pigs.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Turnip Greens
- Scurvy prevention – the turnip greens have lots of vitamin C! Guinea pigs survive and stay healthy thanks to vitamin C, which they don’t produce naturally. With vitamin C, they can stay safe and they will not get scurvy (symptoms: rough coat, no appetite, diarrhea, discharge, bleedings…)
- Healthy weight – the turnip greens have low amounts of calories, carbs, proteins, and fats. This makes them a good food for maintaining a healthy weight (and also a healthy cardiovascular system too)
- Strong and healthy blood – the iron and copper content in the turnip greens ensure prevention against anemia. The overall immunity of the guinea pig will be much better when the blood is in good health.
Nutrition Facts of Turnip Greens
Here is the nutrition information for 100 g (3 oz) of raw turnip greens:
- Low in calories – 32 calories. The turnip greens are not a threat for the healthy weight of your guinea pig. This veggie is not fattening at all.
- Low in carbs and proteins – they also have low amounts of carbs, 7.1 g, and protein too, 1.5 g. These amounts are quite good considering this is a veggie, and this is another reason why the guinea pig will have a healthy weight (low amounts of these energy sources don’t contribute to weight gain).
- Fiber – 3.2 g. Surprisingly, turnip greens have more fiber than they have protein. But, this is normal because leafy veggies are always mainly fiber, compared to other nutrients. This amount is good and will improve the digestion and bowel movements.
- Sugar – 0.8 g. This veggie also has a little bit of sugar. Don’t panic, this amount is relatively low. Guinea pigs don’t digest sugars very well and their stomachs will get upset after the consumption (diarrhea, bloating, cramps)
- Low in fat – 0.3 g. With a little bit of fat, turnip greens are again proving they are not a fattening food. Also, this is healthy for the cardiovascular system.
- Vitamin A – 232%. This vitamin is an antioxidant and it keeps the organism safe from many diseases. It boosts the health of kidneys, lungs, skin, eyes, heart, brain, and it boosts the overall immunity too.
- Vitamin C – 100%. Amazing news! This is the most needed vitamin for guinea pigs. Our cavies don’t produce this vitamin naturally, and they don’t store it either. So, they need to get this vitamin from foods or supplements. Turnip greens are loaded with C!
- Vitamin E – 14%. This vitamin is important for skin health. It prevents skin cancer too, boosts the immunity, prevents heart diseases and soothes inflammations as well.
- Vitamin K – 314%. The vitamin K produces the prothrombin, a blood clotting protein.
- Thiamin – 5%. This is the B1 vitamin, and it converts the carbs into energy.
- Riboflavin – 6%. Also known as the B2 vitamin; it promotes good oxygen flow in all cells, but also it converts foods into energy.
- Niacin – 3%. Niacin is the B3 vitamin and this vitamin prevents heart diseases and diabetes, also it lowers cholesterol and soothes pain in the bones.
- Vitamin B6 – 13%. This vitamin will help your guinea pig with sleep, also it will be less stressed, and happier! This happens because this vitamin boosts serotonin production (happiness hormone).
- Pantothenic acid – 4%. Also known as the B5 vitamin. The B5 helps with blood cells production.
- Calcium – 190 mg. A mineral that forms strong bone tissues, but it is a harmful nutrient for fully grown guinea pigs. In excess, it creates many urinary complications which can be fatal.
- Iron – 6%. Iron brings oxygen to the brain and muscle tissues.
- Magnesium – 8%. Magnesium removes pains, keeps muscle tissues strong, and it prevents diabetes and heart problems.
- Potassium – 8%. Potassium can prevent loss of muscle mass, and it can even prevent the formation of the kidney stones.
- Zinc – 1%. Zinc boosts the immune system and it also helps with faster wound healing.
- Copper – 18%. Copper makes red blood cells and it helps with iron absorption too.
- Manganese – 23%. Another antioxidant in the turnip greens. Manganese reduces inflammation, regulates the blood sugar and boosts the immune system against free radical damage.
- Selenium – 2%. This nutrient keeps the heart healthy and it protects from certain cancers.
- Phytosterols – 12 mg. Phytosterols can reduce blood cholesterol.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Turnip Greens to Guinea Pigs
- Urinary problems – most of the urinary problems in guinea pigs are caused by calcium. Now, this is a problem because turnip greens also have loads of vitamin C! So what to do? Simply, feed turnip greens to the guinea pig 2 times per week, a small handful. Not more! More than this will create calcium deposits in the urinary system of the cavy. These calcium deposits will cause bladder and kidney stones, painful urinating, infections and blood in urine too. All of this can lead to renal failure if untreated.
Quick Facts on Turnip Greens
- Turnips belong in the same family group as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts.
- Usually, turnips are white, with white flesh, but some varieties can be orange and yellow.
- Turnips have been cultivated since 1400 BC, in India. However, it is believed this veggie originates from Asia and Europe.
- The leaves taste like mustard greens, quite similar to spinach when it’s used fresh in salads.
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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