Guest Column: Can food be medicine?

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

By Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson is the owner of The Pet Authority in Albert Lea.

Hippocrates said it best, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Nutrition is the foundation of health for your pets. If fuels the body and provides the essential building

Michelle Nelson

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blocks for health maintenance, energy and tissue repair. We need to look at food as the most important medicine we give our pets every single day. In order to maintain your pets health, it is paramount to feed fresh, wholesome and low or unprocessed nutrition.

Here are seven healthy foods to support your pets health and promote healing:

1. Bone broth: One of my favorites due to the numerous health benefits. Improves digestion and helps heal leaky gut (all disease starts in the gut), assists in detoxing the liver, reduces inflammation, alleviates joint pain, boosts the immune system, supports brain function, improves skin health, strengthens bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and improves skin health.

2. Raw goat milk: One of the most nutrient-dense foods around, raw unpasteurized goat’s milk is a great source of Vitamin A, D and K2, is full of healthy fats like medium chain triglycerides and Omega 3s, is full of probiotics and digestive enzymes, and is a great source of protein, amino acids, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

3. Organ meats: Organs and glands are very nutrient dense, that is why in nature dogs and cats instinctually go for the good stuff first when they kill their prey: the organs. Your pets will benefit from adding organs such as stomach (tripe), liver, kidney, heart, brain and adrenal glands to their diet.

4. Eggs: Labeled as the most complete protein, eggs are great for cardiovascular health, eye and skin health. And yes, raw eggs are safe. My dogs love them raw or cooked.

5. Omega-3 oils: Great brain food, also great for joint support, heart health, anti-inflammatory, kidney function and skin and eye health. Small fish like sardines and anchovies are a great source or using a fish oil supplement like krill oil.

6. Coconut oil: Another must for my dogs, coconut oil is packed with a tremendous amount of benefits. It improves cognitive function, is anti-bacterial, reduces inflammation, is full of antioxidants and minerals, boosts the immune system, and is great for skin and oral health. Since it is a healthy fat, it helps to fight cancer as cancer cells cannot use fat. Cancer cells fuel themselves by eating sugar — without sugar they will starve. Knowing that carbohydrates turn into sugar, if you are feeding a dry food, which on average is 50 percent sugar, you are feeding the perfect cancer food.

7. Fermented foods: Like kefir or yogurt, fermented foods are a great source of probiotics, they support the immune system, help detox the bowels and help heal leaky gut and IBD.

Whether you currently feed your pets a dry food diet or a biologically appropriate raw food diet, these seven healthy foods can be added to improve your pets overall health. Do you want your pets to thrive of just survive? The choice is yours.

I will leave you with an ancient proverb, “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”