Short term diet to help boost immune system health
Sometimes when our rats are fighting infection, stressed or feeling generally below par it makes sense to look to their nutrition to give then that extra boost that their immune system might need. This mix is useful to feed to any rat having antibiotics/surgery or likely to be experiencing sustained stress.
Brown rice booster
The mix is designed to be fed daily, alongside (say 50/50) a good quality grain mix. The completed mix can be stored for up to 48 hours in a refrigerator, in an airtight container.
3 cups of cooked brown rice. (1)
½ cup oily fish (tuna/mackerel/sardines/salmon/trout) either fresh (cooked) or tinned - not tuna - in either spring water or tomato sauce. (2)
1 carrot – grated. (3)
1 tablespoon flaked almonds. (4)
1 cup broccoli – chopped. (5)
3 cloves garlic (raw) – finely chopped or grated. (6)
½ cup strawberries – chopped. (7)
½ tablespoon flax oil or a tablespoon of flax seeds. (8)
Mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle on a probiotic and/or multivitamin if desired.
Notes The ingredients of this mix are chosen for their high levels of the following nutrients: selenium, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, bioflavinoids, carotenoids and garlic. All of these nutrients have been shown to boost the functioning of the immune. The body can be viewed an having a microscopic army, which is both defensive and offensive - creating barriers to viruses, killing bacteria both chemically and by engulfing them, and maintaining normal flora (good bacteria) that are responsible for maintaining an environment that is hostile to invasive bacteria. The immune system is complex and has many weapons and defensive tactics. Many micronutrients have been found to help build a strong immune system by increasing antibody production, supporting white cell production, protecting the body against environmental pollutants and aiding the production of other aspects of the immune system such as interferon, T-cell and B-cell production. It should be noted that whilst rats can manufacture their own vitamin C research seems to indicate that there are still benefits from high levels of dietary vitamin C, especially for elderly rats.
1. Wholegrain rice is a good source of selenium, zinc and vitamin E.
2. Oily fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and selenium.
3. Carrots contain beta carotine (a carotenoid) and bioflavenoids.
4. Almonds contain vitamin E and zinc.
5. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, beta carotine and bioflavenoids.
6. Garlic is immune boosting itself and is known to increase antibody production.
7. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C and bioflavenoids. When out of season they can be substituted with other berries.
8. Flax oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids.
The volumes above will feed approximately 12 to 15 rats.
Author: Alison Campbell
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