You’ve heard of superfoods – those which offer dynamic health benefits beyond just nutrition, supporting healthy longevity and offering healing properties, right? Well, Health Extension has put these powerful superfoods to work in many of our pet food products! These include ingredients like turmeric, apple cider vinegar, to controversial ginger, green tea, kelp, spirulina – and more! These ingredients are hard at work improving your dog’s digestive track, giving the immune system a boost, and improving heart health all the while offering your pet healthier, more vitalized years!
What are Superfoods?
The term “superfood” is not technically a food category, rather it’s a broad distinction identifying certain foods as having various nutritional benefits, often overlapping, giving rationale to their “super” status! Functional Medicine is a term often associated with superfoods. The idea is to help heal and prevent disease through the foods you consume, notably with the inclusion of superfoods in your diet. Superfoods are nutritionally-dense and often contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, offering benefits such as:
- High bioavailability (easily absorbed through digestion)
- Rich in healthy fats
- Heart Healthy
- Gut health and support
- High in antioxidants
- Helps ward off certain Cancers
- Fights disease
- Improves joint health
You may be familiar with some well-known superfoods, such as blueberries, ginger, sweet potatoes, and salmon (all of which we use in our Health Extension foods!), but there are lots more that we put into our natural dog food for your pet’s optimal health. Read on to learn about why these all-natural pet food ingredients are so powerful!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a powerful antibacterial & anti-fungal that gives your pets immune system a wonderful boost. It rematerializes the body and helps balance a dog’s pH level while improving digestion. Imparting Apple Cider Vinegar in your dog’s diet through our recipes can help reduce allergies and inflammation while providing healthy immune support.
Basil may come as a surprise, but it is a true superfood for your dog! Basil is high in vitamin K (for healthy blood clotting) and magnesium (essential for cardiovascular health), is an antibacterial, and protects against cellular mutation. That’s right: Basil is an excellent ingredient to protect against diseases like cancer as it helps fight cellular damage and free radicals, therefore aiding in the prevention of cancer. Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory properties help improve arthritis, aiding in joint health. Finally, Basil can even act as a calming agent for anxious dogs! Basil is known to decrease levels of stress hormones like cortisol and regulate blood sugars – which elevate in times of physical and emotional stress.
At Health Extension, we use beet pulp in our formulations because of its high fiber content. In addition, beet pulp is known to gently cleanse your dog’s intestinal walls, helping aid in increased nutrient absorption, making the food they eat more bioavailable. Beet Pulp also acts as a prebiotic, offering essential nutrients feeding the “good bacteria” (AKA probiotics) for optimal gut health and helps reduce diarrhea and vomiting.
Blueberries are well-known in the superfood environment to be a powerful antioxidant—which fight off free radicals responsible for cellular damage—which may lead to cancer and premature aging. But did you know that blueberries are also an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K? They're also abundant in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium? Yup! In addition, blueberries are rich in fiber for optimal digestion, and phytonutrients—excellent in promoting cellular health. And get this: blueberries contain Anthocyanins, the component responsible for their blue color, which lowers the risk of common dog diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Wow!
Chicory Root is an ideal prebiotic and probiotic—aiding in bile production and allowing a dog’s body to better break down food for absorption and enhances bioavailability. It actually acts as food for the good bacteria in your dog’s belly, allowing them to be beneficial longer! In addition, Chicory Root also helps improved your dog’s digestion, prevents constipation, and reduces inflammation, too!
For humans and dogs alike, coconut oil is a true superfood and a true leader in the “healthy fat category”! It's anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, and even provides an excellent source of energy and brain functioning through MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides). Coconut oil reduces digestion inflammation and increases nutrient absorption (bioavailability). Coconut oil also helps balance a dog’s metabolism, reduces reactions to allergens and provides essential fats for a healthy skin and coat.
Cranberries are well known to help prevent urinary tract infections in both humans and out pets, but this awesome superfood also contains necessary vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C, E and K1, as well as manganese. Collectively, those nutrients support healthy cellular renewal, a properly functioning metabolism, and an increased immune system. Cranberries are also packed with fiber for gut health and some of the same awesome ingredients found in blueberries, like Anthocyanins, which lowers the risk of common dog diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Powerful, cancer-fighting antioxidants further underscore the benefits of cranberry as a superfood ingredient in your dog’s diet, which help destroy free radicals and improve your dog’s overall cellular health while slowing the aging process!
Dogs, like people, thrive off what we call “healthy fats” (as previously noted in the Coconut Oil category), which lubricate the body and provide other holistic benefits. An excellent source of omega-3 comes from flaxseed. Research shows that flaxseed has wide-ranging health benefits involving cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune system support. Flaxseed also contains dietary fiber, protein, manganese, and lignans! Additionally, adding flaxseed to your dog’s diet through Health Extension dog food can even help reduce inflammation in the arteries lowering the risk of things like heart attacks and chronic kidney disease, as well as improve joint health, adrenal functions, and support healthy digestion.
Garlic is a wonder ingredient for dogs and one that we have included in some of our dog food because of its awesome holistic benefits. Garlic is known to provide overall support to the immune system and increase healthy liver and cardiac functions. It also helps prevent blood clots and reduces cholesterol/fat build up in the blood and heart, helping prevent heart disease. Garlic also aides in the fight against bacterial, viral and fungal infections while helping prevent the formation of tumors. Garlic is also known to stimulate the lymphatic system, helping your dog properly remove waste and detoxify. What else? Garlic increases the rate of killing off parasites, too!
As humans, we know ginger to be a great digestive aide - the same goes for your dog! But did you know that ginger is also helpful at treating arthritis, cancer, and potentially even heartworm? As a proven anti-inflammatory, ginger helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis and studies show promising evidence that ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are effective at defeating certain cancer cells. In addition, ginger helps stimulate the stomach for healthy elimination, relieves bloat, and can help soothe nausea!
Green Lipped Mussels
High in omegas (those awesome, “healthy” fats), this hardy shellfish is harvested in the waters surrounding New Zealand. It’s rich in ETA (Eicosatetraenoic Acid) and DHA which has been shown to reduce arthritis inflammation and pain. Yup! These omega-rich ocean creatures are like little pain relievers for dogs suffering with arthritis. In addition to that, green lipped mussels contain glucosamine, chondroitin, zinc, and magnesium: all powerhouse ingredients for joint health!
Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant with the ability to promote weight loss and even increase your dog’s metabolism. Green tea extract is also believed to protect cells and tissues from age-related damage that lead to some forms of cancer.
One of our most dynamic, multifunctional superfood ingredients is kelp: a superpowered, fiber-rich sea vegetable! It is among the most nutrient-dense ingredients in our plant kingdom. The kelp we use at Health Extension is harvested from clean, cold ocean waters, and is a natural, highly bioavailable source of over 60 different vitamins and minerals, and 21 amino acids! Among its many benefits, kelp helps promote a dense and healthy coat and supports the immune and digestive systems. It can even help ward off fleas! Kelp is also high in iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid functioning, and iron to support circulation, proper gland functioning and a healthy metabolism. And in addition to all of that, kelp is also a fantastic dental aide, helping to reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. That’s why we use it in our fresh breath dental bones!
This perennial plant extract improves liver bile flow, thereby eliminating wastes from the body. It also loads the liver cells with antioxidants, protecting them from chemical and free-radical damage. Milk thistle is believed to provide therapeutic benefits for dogs who have conditions like liver disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis. The best part is, studies show this amazing plant may be one of the only things that promotes liver cellular repair after damage has occurred. You read that right! – it may help the liver actually repair itself!
You have probably heard of giving your dog an “oatmeal bath” to help soothe skin and eliminate odors, but oatmeal is also an excellent source of quality fiber for your dog and has a multitude of nutritional benefits! At Health Extension, our human-grade oatmeal is non-GMO, has not been irradiated, and contains no processing, chemical, nutritional, or medicinal additives. In dog food, oatmeal is an excellent source of energizing carbohydrates. Many pet parents opt for oatmeal as a key ingredient when choosing a grain inclusive food. And you may not know this, but oatmeal is rich in linoleic acid: a type of omega-6 fatty acid that helps keep skin strong and healthy!
Small but mighty, the parsley plant packs a healthy punch in your dog’s diet as a superb-herb! Parsley is rich in vitamins C, A, and K, which collectively aide in immune support, vision health, and proper blood and liver functioning. Parsley is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and is a fiber-rich digestive aide. Parsley is also known to help fight off cancer-causing pathogens, too!
Turns out dogs are pumpkin obsessed, too! And for good reason. Pumpkin is among the most nutrient-dense ingredients we use at Health Extension. Pumpkin is rich in vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene (which give it that orange color!), helps support healthy eye functioning and can fight against vision deterioration. Additionally, vitamin A helps your dog maintain a healthy coat and nourished skin. Pumpkin also delivers potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, improves muscle health, and assists in metabolism. Many pet owners know the stomach-soothing benefits of pumpkin thanks to its high-fiber content. Antioxidants in pumpkin fight off cancer-causing free radicals, and dogs get a healthy dose of iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and folate in every pumpkin-y bite!
Not just a garnish, sage is one of the most “sage” ingredients your dog can enjoy in his diet! Sage is a great source of vitamins A, E and K, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. Collectively, these ingredients support bone, skin and eye health. In addition, sage is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial ingredient. With the addition of its antioxidant properties, sage is a great solution to help ward off cancer-causing free radicals. Notably, sage has ketones: a natural oil that improves mental health and assists in preventing cognitive deterioration. Sage is truly a functional ingredient for your pet, helping reduce auto-immune inflammatory disease, relieving symptoms of arthritis, preventing cancer, relieving gas and bloating and reducing seasonal allergens.
You may know salmon as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids—those which contribute to brain health benefits, a strengthened immune system, and joint support. But salmon is also rich in protein and is an awesome substitute for dogs with sensitivities to other meat sources! The premium omega-3 fatty acids that salmon contains also helps reduce inflammation, improves your dog’s skin and coat, increases collagen production, reduces allergies, and contributes to heart health.
Spinach is a great source of iron, vitamins A, B, and K as well as other naturally occurring vitamins. Additionally, it’s known for being rich in Vitamin C that helps aid in wound healing. Spinach is abundant in mineralsphytonutrientsomega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene as well. It’s also high in fiber to aid in digestive health and can even help increase hydration and support eye health. Additionally, spinach is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that are known to combat free radicals and ward off cancer.
Sweet potatoes are often used because of their high-fiber, low fat content and as an alternate carbohydrate. But that’s far from the only benefits of feeding your dog sweet potatoes. They contain carotenoids, vitamin A, C and B6, in addition to antioxidants, phytonutrients, pyridoxine, potassium, magnesium, copper and iron! Beta-carotene, what gives sweet potatoes their orange color, is also responsible for helping support eye health and prevent heart disease and cancer in dogs!
Turmeric is a powerhouse superfood that many people have adapted into their diet for its awesome anti-inflammatory properties and ability to improve disease symptoms. Turmeric also aids in treating numerous ailments including, but not limited to digestive and urinary issues, blood disorders, and pain. Turmeric has proven to be as effect as over the counter anti-inflammatory agents but without the same negative side effects on the stomach. And it helps conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Now that is functional medicine in action!
Switching your Dog to a Superfood Diet
Feeding your dog a diet rich with organic, non-GMO, superfood-infused formulas has the power to do so much more than just give them the awesome nutrients their body craves. And rather than figuring out how to source, cook and combine all of these awesome ingredients into meals for your dog, we’ve already done the hard work at Health Extension for you! Each of our superfood-infused products has been formulated to contain exactly the right ratio of ingredients for optimal nutrient absorption and benefit.
The superfoods we include in our dog food formulas work in synchrony with your dog’s biological makeup, helping improve gut health and therefore improve nutrient absorption. That means your dog can eat less while gaining more from each healthy bite of our Health Extension food! Consuming a diet rich in all-natural ingredients and superfood components every day is one of the best ways we know how to help dogs achieve healthy, vibrant years with less likelihood of developing or suffering from common diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, liver failure, arthritis, and cognitive dysfunction. This also means less need for medical interventions and medications, and a happier, healthier pet. That’s why we say, Health Extension delivers all the ingredients for a healthy life!