Health & Care
For the Birds Parrot Rescue & Sanctuary
A Word About Peanuts
There is much hysteria on the subject of peanuts; some going so far as to say peanuts cause Aspergillus; they do not cause Aspergillus. Peanuts are technically legumes so not even in the nut family. They are reported to be high in fat but they are actually equal to Almonds when it comes to total fats.
Aspergillosis is an infection caused by Aspergillus, a common mold (a type of fungus) that lives indoors and outdoors. Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus.
Aflatoxins are a group of chemically similar toxic fungal metabolites (mycotoxins) produced by certain molds of the genus Aspergillus, and can be found growing on a number of raw food commodities. Aflatoxins are highly toxic compounds and can cause both acute and chronic toxicity in humans and many other animals.
Aflatoxins are regularly found on improperly stored stapes like corn, cottonseed, millet, peanuts, rice, sunflower and safflower seeds, tree nuts, wheat, and a variety of spices. Acute aflatoxin poisoning results in liver failure and death. Aflatoxin B1 is considered the most toxic and is produced by both Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus.
So if we are going to say Peanuts are bad then the same 'logic' would hold true for tree nuts, corn, rice, wheat, etc. Are aflatoxins dangerous? YES but there is a lot more to it.
If you want to learn more about aflatoxins, here are some links for you:
Tree Nuts ...
Studies show that nuts are among those rare superfoods that are packed with hard-to-get nutrients and they provide a healthy dose of antioxidants and essential amino acids. Nuts are rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats which help to lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol. They are a good source of compounds that help lower blood cholesterol and are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, including folate, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium.
There are 22 different amino acids required by animals, and all animals require them at the cellular level. While about 12 of these amino acids can be made inside animal cells, the other 10 have to be consumed, so provided in the animal's diet. Without a sufficient supply of these ten "essential" amino acids, necessary proteins cannot be made by your bird.
The table below provides the nutritional information of the typical nuts we feed. Depending on your bird's size and health you should provide nuts at each meal ... discuss with your Veterinarian the proper portion for your bird. Consider buying them in the shell to provide an added element of 'fun' and a little challenge. (Note: Smaller birds may not be able to break the shells so we give them a little help with a nut cracker.)
Most plants don't have an amino acid profile that resembles the makeup of the proteins in your bird so for this reason animal protein is considered better "quality" than plant protein. This is why its necessary to give your bird a variety of foods so the amino acids that may be deficient in one food can be provided by another that contains more of that amino acid. Nuts provide the Omega 3 fatty acids needed so they are an important addition to the diet.
When it comes to fat, there's one type you don’t want to cut back on and that's omega-3 fatty acids. Two crucial ones, EPA and DHA, are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts. Not only does the body need these fatty acids to function, they deliver some big health benefits.