Cabbage is a great vegetable, and has plenty of health benefits – for humans.
The question, though, is can Bearded Dragons eat cabbage as well, and can they get the same health benefits from it?
It is safe for bearded dragons to eat cabbage. In moderation, it is an excellent addition to your bearded dragon’s diet. High levels of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds make cabbage a geat vegetable for bearded dragons. Feeding too much cabbage can cause health issues, however. Let’s discuss why and how much to feed.
So yes, bearded dragons can eat cabbage of all varieties. In fact, cabbage in moderation can be a great addition to a healthy balanced diet for your bearded dragon. But what makes cabbage so good for your bearded dragon? And how much cabbage should you be feeding your bearded dragon?
In this guide we’ll discuss these issues and help you to find the answers you’re looking for.
What makes cabbage so good for your bearded dragon?
Can bearded dragons eat cabbage? Why, yes, they can. In fact, cabbage is one of the types of vegetables that should make up a high percentage of your bearded dragon’s diet.
So what makes cabbage so good for your bearded dragon? There are various reasons why cabbage is so healthy for bearded dragons, specifically, its rich vitamin composition, high calcium:phosphorus ratio, mineral content, high dietary fibre, low fat content, low sugar and starch levels, high energy levels, and powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Let’s address each of these benefits below.
Rich Vitamin Composition
Cabbage is rich in vitamin K, which plays a key role in helping your beardie’s blood clot if he gets injured, and regenerating worn out tissue.
Vitamin K levels in cabbage are much higher than lettuce and coriander per 100 grams, specifically, 61.4% and 55.2% higher, respectively.
Cabbage also provides vitamin C (which benefits your beardie’s bones, blood vessels and muscle flexibility), vitamin B1 (which assist with breakdown of carbohydrates), vitamin B6 (which is required for fat and protein metabolism and red blood cell generation), and vitamin A (which helps your beardie with night vision).
High Calcium:Phosphorus Ratio
Calcium is essential to your bearded dragon’s bone development. In fact, common nutritional disorders in reptiles arise due to insufficient amounts of calcium in the diet. Sufficient amounts of calcium must be present in your bearded dragon’s diet in order for its skeleton to properly develop.
However, for calcium to be absorbed properly, it must be present in equal or larger quantities than that of phosphorus.
Cabbages show a high calcium:phosphorus ratio as compared to other vegetables. Here’s a hot tip for you. Store your cabbage for several days before feeding it to your beardie. This simple step will improve your bearded dragon’s ability to absorb the calcium, and also reduce phosphorus potency.
Cabbage contains high levels of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese and sodium. These minerals are important for your bearded dragon’s vital functions.
In particular, potassium serves to protect your beardie’s nerves and muscles, prevent kidney stones and lower blood pressure. The other minerals that cabbage offers serve to both strengthen your bearded dragon’s immune system and assist with tissue growth and repair.
High Dietary Fibre:
Sufficient levels of dietary fibre will help to keep your bearded dragon’s digestion system in good working order, resulting in regular and smooth bowel movements and reduced chance of constipation.
Make sure you feed the cabbage to your bearded dragon before it turns yellow to maximise the actionability, and therefore benefits, of the dietary fibre.
It is very important that your bearded dragon doesn’t consume excessive dietary fat due to risk of fat accumulation at the tail, high blood pressure, stroke, or even becoming inactive or docile.
Cabbage has incredibly low fat levels per 100 grams compared to other vegetables such as lettuce and broccoli, specifically, 10.7 and 2.3 less grams of fat than those vegetables, respectively.
If you are concerned about fat intake in your bearded dragon’s diet, cabbage would be an excellent choice for his next meal.
Your bearded dragon’s sugar consumption should be kept relatively low to avoid risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and kidney failure.
Luckily, cabbage has an incredibly low sugar content of only 3.2 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
Similarly, cabbage has incredibly low starch levels, which is important to ensure that your bearded dragon enjoys easy digestion.
When compared to other types of vegetables, cabbage gives great bang for its buck in terms of how much energy it offers when consumed.
For example, 100 grams of cabbage will provide your beardie with 105 kJ of energy, as compared to 100 grams of lettuce which only provides 71.2 kJ of energy per 100 grams.
Powerful Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Compounds
Cabbages contain powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols and sulfur compounds.
These antioxidants serve to protect your bearded dragon’s body from damage caused by free radicals (molecules that are unstable due to an odd number of electrons).
In fact, the antioxidants in cabbage stop levels of free radicals from damaging cells within your beardie’s body and help to prevent your bearded dragon from developing inflammatory ailments or diseases.
So how much cabbage should you be feeding your bearded dragon?
Although cabbage can form part of a healthy and varied beardie diet, caution should be exercised to ensure that cabbage is not fed in excessive amounts.
This is because cabbage is a type of cruciferous vegetable, a family of vegetables that have been identified as “goitrogenic”. The term goitrogenic means something that causes “goiter,” or swelling of the thyroid gland. This is because goitrogens impede iodine uptake by the thyroid gland, impeding the thyroid’s ability to produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormones.
High intake of goitrogens through excessive consumption of cabbage or other cruciferous vegetables can lead to your bearded dragon developing hypothyroidism, which is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain crucial hormones.
To be safest, you should limit feeding of cabbage to once or twice per week, and it should never make up the bulk of the greens you feed your bearded dragon at a meal.
Other vegetables that have been identified as goitrogenic are:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Choy sum
- Mustard greens
Take care not to feed your beardie excessive amounts of any of these vegetables.
To ensure that your beardie is receiving a balanced diet and acceptable levels of goitrogens, make sure that you are also feeding him a range of other vegetables, for example, beet greens, alfalfa hay or chow, parsley, swiss chard, watercress, clover, cilantro, capsicums, green beans, escarole and dandelion.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage?
Cabbage is an excellent choice of vegetable to include in your bearded dragon’s diet, for its many health benefits such as vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, as well as the low levels of fat and sugar.
However, it is important that cabbage is included in your beardie’s diet only in moderation to avoid the risk of your pet developing thyroid issues.
Thankfully, there are a range of other healthy vegetables that you can feed to your bearded dragon to ensure he stays fit and healthy.