These ten vegetables are wonderful for your parrot! And with so much to choose from, you have the opportunity to give them the variety they deserve and the nutrition they need. Variety is the spice of life, and adding these veggies to your nutritional arsenal will only benefit you and your herd. All the properties of these vegetables also apply to humans. So be sure to include them in your diet for the same nutritional benefits.
Collard Greens: A Gift from the South
Obviously, a staple in the southern region of the United States, they have a number of health benefits including the ability to lower your cholesterol, even more so when you steam them. However, the traditional method of serving of cooking it in the jar and serving it with ham shank will not produce this effect. But raw or just steamed makes it good for you and your birds. The health benefits are numerous. Research has shown a link between collard greens and cancer prevention because of the support it provides for three-body systems: the detox system, the anti-oxidant system, and the anti-inflammatory system. The boost it gives all three of these simultaneously is what makes these anti-cancer properties work.
Romaine lettuce: who knew?
Now here’s a leafy green that you don’t think would be worth much to the nutrition department. I normally don’t offer it to my birds myself because I don’t eat it too often. However, it does contain a fairly solid amount of folic acid which is a water-soluble form of Vitamin B. It tastes rather mild and your herd might be drawn to its crunchiness. The bright green color indicates excellent nutrition. Believe it or not, romaine lettuce is 17% protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also has more vitamin A than carrots. It contains 182% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, while carrots contain only 40%.
Parsley: Curly or Italian, the choice is yours
People believed that parsley was poisonous to birds. When I had my first Gray, I was told not to feed him and I was never able to get any solid information on why I wouldn’t. Well, it turns out that it’s all screwed up because it is loaded with vitamin K and contains a respectable amount of vitamin A. It is a wonderful source of antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. And there is nothing toxic about it for your birds. It has a crisp taste and the curly variety adds texture and taste. Chop it up for Chop and he’ll stick to everything. Picking a parrot is a difficult task. When they’re finely chopped they really can’t avoid it, so it’ll end up nicely in your bird’s stomach.
Leaf lettuce: strengthening those bones
Really? Yes! Leaf lettuce significantly boosts the strength and density of bones thanks to the vitamin K they contain. They studied in nursing homes and found that serving two cups a day lowered the risk of hip fracture. And we all want our little guys to have strong, healthy bones. Therefore, a salad with leaf lettuce or a lettuce wrap that contains other healthy vegetables is a good idea. Until I did my research, I had no idea that this material was such a good idea for my Grays. Lettuce wraps all around!
Chicory: from the coffee cup to the bowl
Okay, I have to admit, I don’t know this green at all. I remember that the roots of the latter were used as a coffee substitute because they do not contain caffeine. However, I know another member of the family, radicchio. I use radicchio in Chop for my African Grays because of its red color and bitter, crisp taste. This tiny head of miniature lettuce with purplish-red and white veined coloring was found to be loaded with polyphenols – a very robust micronutrient that goes a long way in preventing disease. This will benefit your herd!
Spinach: Popeye got it right
Spinach is tough. Too much can cause calcium to leach into your system and that of your bird. And of course, because of the iron, you shouldn’t be feeding it to a species prone to iron storage diseases. But every now and then for your parrots, that’s fine. Serve it as a leaf or chop it and serve it on top of other foods. My African Grays love the soft texture and taste. Maybe Popeye was right from the start!
Green beets: saving these peaks
When I first started making Chop I would buy beets and just use Chop tops because the red color in the beets made your Chop look awful pink and it looked rather unsightly. Now that more grocery stores and markets are competing with farmers’ markets and co-ops, golden beets are increasingly available. Golden beets don’t bleed and form a beautiful, bright yellow shade that almost appears to glow. Anytime you have a strong color in a vegetable, it’s an indication of a lot of nutrition. So use the golden beetroot roots and the top of your chop. The tops are so nutritious for you and your herd! And professional chefs are embracing the “green beet” trend. Those beets they were throwing away? They now charge a higher price for this previous “garbage” and put it in salads at some of the best restaurants in the country. So the next time you buy beets, remember your parrots and look for the group of beets with lots of green still attached.
Swiss chard: a nutritional rainbow
I like to use Swiss chard in my chop. It’s incredibly colorful if you buy rainbow chard and my birds seem drawn to the bright colors. And it is a powerful vegetable in the nutrition department. It protects against diabetes and contains 13 different polyphenols, natural chemicals that have an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals. This particular green gives a nutritional boost to the rear. It’s a tasty and crispy addition to anything you choose to make. Oddly enough, Swiss chard contains 300% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K. And it’s so pretty!
Chinese cabbage: more than the stir-fry
I swear I didn’t know it was so good for you. I thought it was just another cabbage-like green that was widely used in stir-fries and other Asian dishes. But it turned out that Asian culture had become a reality when they included this vegetable in their diet. You see it called Napa or Celery Cabbage and it contains highly available sources of calcium and iron, as well as to prevent inflammation. It’s a fairly sweet and crunchy cruciferous vegetable that goes well with many flavor combinations. But you should take note of the idea that it can prevent and reduce the risk of inflammation.
Watercress: the new queen of nutrition
Yes, the most respected vegetable today is watercress. The kale of the past two years, and now the watercress wins the “Best In Show” award at the Superfood Championships. He now goes up to supermarkets as the new popular green to consume. Research has shown that consuming two cups a day can reduce cancer-related damage to your DNA by about 17%. It also contains vitamin A and vitamin K in the gills. No need to cook this delicate green for your birds. Offer it as is or cut it with scissors. It’s a bit bitter, a bit like arugula, but you taste it without going back. My Grays love stuff! And I’m happy to see more and more grocery stores offering this powerful green and making it available to more families with birds.
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