These berries are all the buzz and many of you have recently purchased them from TheBestBirdFood.com. With such an exotic, tart, tangy taste one wonders why parrots like them so much, but it seems they do.
Some in the avian community doubt they can be healthy for our birds due to the fact Inca Berries belong to the nightshade family, but if we measure their worth by these standards then we would have to remove all peppers from our birds’ diets too, including all chili peppers, cayenne and paprika! With as many of us feeding these tasty foods to our parrots, and in abundance at that I don’t see the nightshade family disappearing from our feathered friends’ diets any too soon.
Besides, Inca Berries are indigenous to the very regions where many parrots originate from, South America, specifically Peru. I seriously doubt while parrots are out foraging for food they take a look at Inca Berries and think to themselves “Oh, these are of the nightshade family, I better pass these by.” No, I can safely bet parrots pluck those little golden berries right off the branches and enjoy the tartness right on the spot!
By the way, don’t be fooled by the newest term “Pichuberries®” being sold as the most current high anti-oxidant berry recently discovered. Did you notice the legal ® trademark symbol behind “Pichuberries?” That’s because a company located in Arizona (http://pichuberry.com) decided to coin this new term and legally register the name as their own. Pichuberries are the same berry as Inca berries. Yep, they are the very same scientific classification known as Physalis peruviana. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_peruviana) -These are not to be confused with “Gooseberries (Phyllanthus emblica)”, not the same as Cape Gooseberries (Physalis angulata).
The nutritional benefits are plenty too! They are high in antioxidants and relatively low in sugar. The fiber they contain is soluble fiber, just the right kind for a parrot’s digestive tract. This means the fiber slows down the digestive process long enough for nutrients to be absorbed, unlike insoluble fiber found in vegetables and allows the digestive tract to be gently flushed of toxins at the same time instead of harshly scrubbed like cellulose does found in botanically classified vegetables. These are very important points when we consider that the digestive tracts of parrots are both short and narrow and very sensitive and delicate compared to the digestive tracts of other animals and especially mammals. Parrots are not mammals, they are aves and as such have very different digestive tracts that do not have the organ necessary to digest cellulose. In addition if cellulose is consumed over and over again it scrapes away the delicate mucosal lining leaving the thin walls of the digestive tract exposed allowing for the possibility of “avian leaky gut syndrome” which may potentially lead to auto-immune disorders. In short feeding tropical fruits indigenous or similar to what our birds may find in their native habitats not only triggers their instinctive behaviors and foraging desires, but it’s much healthier for their natural born systems all the way around.
Basic macro nutritional benefits per 45 gram serving of Inca Berries are:
- Protein: 3.3 gr
- Fiber: 8 gr
- Fat: 1.5 gr
- Vitamin C 4.5mg
- Potassium 675mg
- Phosphorus 99mg
- ORAC Rating 1743
- They are a good source of Capric and Lauric acids similar to Coconut Oil
- They are also a good source of Palmitc acid (Omega 7) (Similar to Palm Oil)
- They are an excellent source of Oleic acid (Omega 9) (Similar to Macadamia nuts)
- They are a fair source of Omega 3
I will not be removing these tasty little treats from my parrots’ diets any too soon! Anytime I can find foods that are indigenous to our birds’ place of origin I would much rather feed those foods than foods that originate domestically. I realize I have to supplement with domestic foods, but even then I try to find foods that are at least similar in overall nutrition, including the kind of protein, fat and fiber as my birds might consume in their native lands.
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