the Medicinal Value of Plant Food


0 ver the past three decades, scientists have done extensive research on the chemical components contained in a variety of plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. In doing so, they've gleaned a vast amount of information on their medicinal value.

The chemical components that have been studied in plant foods are often referred to as phytochemicals - phyto means "plant." These remarkable substances have the ability to prevent disease and heal disease and they may produce favorable results for both you and your birds.


While we've always known that eating our vegetables was the right thing to do, we now have even more incentive to eat them and to serve them to our birds. It is very important to eat at least 3-5 servings of vegetables per day and 2-4 servings of fruit per day. This advice is no less important to heed when it comes to feeding your birds.

We know that plant foods can provide our birds and us with outstanding nutrition, but these newly found medicinal substances in plant foods go far beyond basic nutrition. I will discuss some of the phytochemicals that are beneficial to health and list the foods that contain them, beginning with one of my favorites, garlic.


Allicin is a substance contained in garlic and is an effective antibiotic, antifungal and antiparasitical. Garlic contains a number of other substances that contribute health benefits. Garlic may, in addition to being an antimicrobial, stimulate cancer-fighting cells and assist with the amelioration of many other health problems. Garlic can be fed fresh and raw, but in very small amounts due to its potent composition. A garlic extract can be given as a supplement and added to your bird's fresh meals.

Alpha-linolenic Acid Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3


fatty acid and is found in flaxseed oil, fish liver oil and fish oil. This substance strengthens the immune system, may prevent cancer, reduces inflammation, and is known to be helpful for arthritis patients.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant sulfur-containing compound and has been classified as a coenzyme. It is found in Brewer's yeast, spinach, carrots, yams, broccoli, and red potatoes. In conjunction with four B vitamins it functions to maintain proper metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates for energy. Lipoic acid may prevent degenerative diseases such as cataracts, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis and is considered one of the best treatments for diabetes. It is also a chelating agent and as such binds to toxic metals and removes them from the body. It may additionally prevent damage from radiation.


Bioflavonoids include hesperidin, quercetin, rutin, and catechin and they are sometimes referred to as vitamin P. Bioflavonoids possess antioxidants properties and often occur with vitamin C in fruits and vegetables as they work in conjunction with vitamin C to enhance its absorption.

Bioflavonoids are found in the pulp and white rind just beneath the peel of citrus fruits, along with cherries, blackberries, blueberries, apricots, apples, grapes, peppers, soybeans, garlic, buckwheat, and leafy vegetables. Bioflavonoids may be helpful for reducing pain, healing bruises, protecting the structure of the capillaries, and have been known to possess antibacterial properties, aid in the prevention of cataracts and cancer, and possibly help fight viruses.