Watercress is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. This vegetable is really full of nutrients and watercress’s name comes from its growth pattern. It grows in water and this is a type of aquatic plant. Watercress growth is rapid, and it takes a short time to reach maturity. Now that you are more familiar with this plant lets see if our guinea pigs can consume watercress.
So, can guinea pigs eat watercress? Yes, guinea pigs can eat watercress. This plant is safe for guinea pig’s consumption and watercress can act as a good supplement for other foods such as hay. The best part about watercress is that it has sufficient amounts of vitamin C, which is a crucial nutrient for your guinea pig.
The watercress is also tasty and juicy it can provide a guinea pig with enough water/hydration, among many other benefits.
If you want to know benefits, risks, nutritional facts and more about watercress as food for guinea pigs, keep reading the following sections below.
Main Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Watercress
The following are some of the most important health benefits of watercress for your guinea pig:
- Keeps your pet hydrated – the presence of water in this herb makes it useful for refreshing and nourishing your guinea pig’s body. This, however, does not mean that you should stop giving your guinea pig fresh water.
- Prevents chronic diseases – the numerous antioxidants found in watercress make it ideal for preventing diseases. Oxidative stress is one of the known causes of chronic diseases. Antioxidants help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress and with that, they prevent diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
- Eliminates free radicals – free radicals occur due to normal metabolic processes. They are initially harmless until they get to chronic levels where they can cause cell damage and other complications. The antioxidants found in watercress help to reduce the presence of free radicals in your guinea pig’s body.
- Reduces cancerous growths – the phytochemicals available in watercress help to reduce growths within the body that could turn cancerous if not handled within the right time. Watercress also has compounds such as isothiocyanates that prevent cell damage from cancerous growths. They also block and prevent the growth of tumors inside the body.
- Maintains cardiovascular health – watercress is a cruciferous vegetable, and these types of veggies are ideal for a healthy heart. Watercress helps to reduce heart-related diseases by up to 16% in guinea pigs. The antioxidants found in watercress also play a significant role in terms of heart health. For instance, lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin help to bring down blood pressure and also reduce the occurrence of heart diseases and complications.
- Lowers the level of cholesterol – the dietary fiber found in watercress helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. This also helps to bring down the chances of heart failure and diseases.
- Reduces inflammation – swelling is normal and is often a result of infections or injury. If the inflammation does not end within the expected time, then this can get chronic levels and cause severe complications in your guinea pig. Nitrates help to prevent this from occurring by working hand in hand with other potent antioxidants.
- Helps in bone growth and development – the presence of vitamin K in watercress makes it ideal for your cavy’s bone growth and development. Other minerals that promote bone growth and development that are found in watercress include magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and calcium.
- Boosts immune function – the presence of vitamin C in watercress helps to boost your guinea pig’s immune system. Vitamin C deficiency is linked to reduced immune function since the vitamin strengthens white blood cells. By doing so, it helps to prevent the occurrence of diseases and also boosts the guinea pig’s immune defense. Besides, this vitamin also helps in the absorption of iron in the body. Iron is a mineral that helps in blood formation in the red blood cells.
- May aid in weight loss – though not researched yet, watercress can help in weight control. One of the reasons why this is the case is because it is low in calories. Besides, it is also filled with dietary fiber, which is a filler nutrient. This means that it induces satiety or fullness, thus reducing the cavy’s appetite.
- Improves eyesight and vision – the presence of zeaxanthin and lutein, which are potent antioxidants in watercress, helps to boost sight and eye health. These compounds fall under carotenoids, and they help to counter eye related diseases and complications.
Nutrition Facts of Watercress
Per 100 g of watercress these are the nutrition facts:
- Calories – 11
- Carbohydrate – 1.3 g
- Protein – 2.3 g
- Vitamin C – 71%
- Vitamin A – 63%
- Dietary fiber – 0.5 g
- Vitamin K – 312%
- Calcium – 12%
- Potassium – 9%
- Phosphorous – 6%
- Magnesium – 5%
As for the serving size, you can give them a 1 full cup of watercress or a handful. Watercress is a safe food for them that contains a lot of water, during summer this plant is a life saver for guinea pigs.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Watercress to Guinea Pigs
Watercress is generally safe for your guinea pig but still, there are some potential risks:
- Digestion problems – this only occurs if your guinea pig consumes too much of the vegetable at once. Some of the common symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting. Unless otherwise, you only need to give your pet sufficient water and it will be fine within no time.
- Acidity in watercress – this brings stomach discomfort for our guinea pigs. It is not easy to notice this in your guinea pig unless you really keep track of their behavior. In order to help them, you need to offer your guinea pig sufficient water, again, but if the situation gets out of hand, you can visit a qualified vet for further assistance.
Quick Facts on Watercress
The following are some fantastic facts about watercress:
- Watercress was used by ancient Romans, Greeks, and Persians.
- It was on the menu for the first Thanksgiving to ever take place.
- Watercress is used as a breath freshener and for medicinal purposes.
- It was used by ancient Greeks to cure blood disorders.
- Cultivation of watercress in England started in the early 1800s.
- It is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
- Watercress soup gained popularity in the 17th century and is today one of Britain’s best dishes.
- Watercress is said to originate from ancient Greece.
- It is a vital part of Mediterranean diets.
- Watercress is a member of the mustard family.
- It was used by soldiers in ancient times to stay healthy.
- Roman emperors fed on watercress for “better decision making.”
- Romans in ancient times used watercress alongside vinegar in the treatment of mentally sick people.
- The USA army used watercress as food for their soldiers.
- You can efficiently deal with a hangover by eating a bag of watercress.
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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