Can Hamsters Eat Asparagus? The answer is…...
The Asparagus is a very popular herbaceous plant that comes from the family of lilies. They grow in different colors such as purple, green and white. It contains a substance, asparagine which is acidic in nature, that is responsible for its flavor and diuretic properties.
This spring vegetable is low in calories but power-packed with nutrients. It possesses sufficient, if not high amounts of minerals (potassium and phosphorous), antioxidants (flavonoids) and essential vitamins (A, C and K). It is very beneficial for weight loss and brain development in humans but what happens when they are fed to hamsters?
Can Hamsters Eat Asparagus?
Asparagus provides us humans with a lot of health benefits and fortunately, does so for hamsters too. So yes, Hamsters can eat Asparagus preferably fresh. It is considered safe for their consumption and can be served to them raw or cooked.
It should also be noted that frozen or canned asparagus should not be added to their diet. This is because they are unhealthy for them and could cause illness to the hamster since both have been treated with sodium and preservatives.
Health Benefits of Asparagus to Hamsters
There are a lot of health benefits attached to asparagus. In fact, there are always new findings on ways this spring plant can contribute to our health and that of our pet. From metabolizing free radicals, improving weight loss to maximizing its reproductive health, this vegetable can be proven to be essential for their nutrition.
It is associated with providing:
- Dietary fibers
Asparagus is an excellent source of dietary fibers. These fibers help to improve the hamster's digestive health. They add bulk to diet, aid in digestion and help in regulating bowel movement. They also reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Fibers have also been recorded in a 2015 study to help in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
Asparagus contains minerals like
- potassium that helps in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and managing blood pressure in hamsters.
- chromium also reduces the risk of diabetes by ensuring the proper functioning of insulin in transporting glucose from bloodstream to cells.
- Phosphorous, iron, magnesium and calcium helps to optimize and manage bone health.
The best compounds capable of combating free radicals that cause cellular damage in the body are known as antioxidants. In conditions of oxidative stress, these compounds reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer etc by lowering the activity of these radicals. Some antioxidants that can be found in asparagus are beta carotene, tocopherol and selenium.
This herbaceous spring plant is a rich source of useful vitamins like K, C, E and A. It also contains B vitamins too like folate. Vitamin K helps in blood clotting while vitamin A helps to promote better eyesight.
Vitamins C and E can act as antioxidants that helps to reduce the effects of free radicals. Vitamin C also helps to prevent scurvy in hamsters. Folate is present in asparagus and plays a vital role in ensuring the healthy growth and development of your hamster.
Asparagus contains other compounds with notable health benefits like:
- Niacin: This compound induces the brain to produce endorphin which is responsible for triggering emotions like happiness in hamsters
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: These compounds are good for improving their eye health.
- Copper:This compound is essential for promoting a healthier coat for your furry pet
- Folic acid: manages depression and improves the health of their brains.
How to Feed Asparagus to your Hamster
We have established that feeding your hamster asparagus is indeed beneficial, the next thing to consider is the best means of feeding it to them.
- First and foremost, before feeding them the plants raw or cooked it must be washed properly and kept clean. This makes them free from harmful pesticides and bugs and by extension, helps to promote intestinal health and function.
- Do not salt or sweeten the vegetables or add any other additives.
- If you prefer to serve it cooked (steamed or blanched), then try to use the lowest heat possible. This ensures that most of the nutrients are retained.
- Do not feed them the stalks from older asparagus even if you cook them till tender
- Do not overfeed them. Give them small amounts of it or as treats to avoid risks of some notable side effects.
Side Effects or Risks
The risks associated with the excessive consumption of asparagus are
- An upset stomach such as diarrhoea or loose stool
- Odour in urine
- Bladder stones,though rare, could occur due to oxalic acid in the asparagus plant
- Choking: this wouldn’t occur from overfeeding your pet but trying to feed them whole pieces including stalk could lead to that
So How Much Asparagus Can Be Fed to your Hamster?
Though asparagus is considered safe and can be consumed by your furry pet in portions larger than some other foods, it still depends mostly on the size and type of hamster. In general, they should be given amounts that fit perfectly in their paws or slightly larger.The dwarf breeds can only consume a small piece of asparagus 2-3 times in a week. The Syrian and Roborovski breeds on the other hand can be fed daily with the same amount.
Asparagus confers a lot of health benefits to our furry pets. It is assorted with a lot of nutrients necessary for maximizing the hamster's health. It is capable of boosting it's overall bodily functions. Asparagus can be fed to your pet hamster on a daily basis provided it is given to them in small quantities preferably as treats to prevent impairments to their digestive health.
Also note that, asparagus and some other fruits and vegetables should not be included in their diet if the hamster is obese or has digestive issues. If the hamster has impairments in their kidney, asparagus should not be included in their diet either because it will cause more damage to their kidneys.