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Pomegranates AND Cranberries

Posted 10/25/2015

By Shauna Roberts


Time for pomegranates, another fall gem. Pomegranate is an old French word meaning, "seeded apple". Full of crimson colored seeds, they have a sweet and sour flavor that is juicy, fun and interesting. They contain manganese which is needed for strong bones and also potassium which may help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Pomegranates also contain an abundance of ellagic acid which may work with other antioxidants to protect one from environmental toxins. Catechins found in pomegranates peels may defend against cancer and anthocyanins that protect against free radical cell damage are also found in this fruit. 

You can offer pomegranates so they can be torn apart, or if you don't want the potential mess, just mix some of the seeds into the bird’s daily meal. Watch out though – the color is intense and can stain the carpet and walls! I hope that you and your parrots enjoy the abundance of this fall’s harvest of nutritious, delectable and colorful fruits and vegetables. Bon appetit! 

"Antioxidants in pomegranates include polyphenols, such as tannins and anthocyanins. In fact, pomegranates may have even more antioxidant power than cranberry juice or green tea, Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN" from WebMD

Side note: a reminder to continue to be wary of advertised health claims of “health” food products:
Pomegranate Juice Claims Ruled Deceptive, But Controversy Continues
In a split decision on a 2010 complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, an administrative law judge ruled that the product has not been proven to treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction. While upholding the FTC's false-advertising complaint, however, the judge sided with POM in denying the agency's demand that the juice company seek prior approval of any future advertising health claims.

If you think of cranberries as strictly Thanksgiving fare, you may be missing out on some unique health benefits. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD at Tuft's HRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, "The profile of cranberries' biologically active constituents is distinct from that of other berry fruit." 

"Daily consumption of a variety of fruit and other foods is necessary to achieve a healthy dietary pattern, meet recommendations for micronutrient intake, and promote the intake of a diversity of phytochemicals," the review notes. Berry fruits can play an important role in that mix of dietary fruits. Cranberries, due to having compounds called polyphenols are a good addition. 

Of the fruits polyphenol compounds they have high levels of anthocyanins, which contribute to their bright red color. Cranberries are especially tart and astringent. A way to sweeten them up is to include another sweeter fruit but we also don't know exactly how something may taste to a parrot and many wild species have been seen eating very tart fruits in the wild. 

Canberries are probably best known for their benefits against urinary tract infections (UTIs) in humans.

Several studies and two meta-analyses have supported the effectiveness of this long-standing folk remedy. It's speculated that cranberry compounds might interfere with how bacteria adhere to the urinary tract, Blumberg says, and perhaps also by modifying the gut microbiota to contain fewer that cause UTIs, though this has yet to be tested in a clinical trial. But other studies have failed to find a link between cranberry intake and reduced UTI recurrence.

This is a reminder of the complexity of studies in relation between cranberry consumption and health results. This research may be affected by the wide variation of those with infections, age, health, gender, activity etc. There can also be poor compliance such as high dropout rates of those participating in studies. 

Cranberries may also have possible health benefits for cardiovascular health. Here are some mentioned by Blumberg:

- Reducing bad LDL cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol
- Combating oxidative stress, which contributes to atherosclerosis
- Decreasing inflammation and concentrations of inflammatory compounds
- Improving the function of the lining of blood vessels and increasing levels of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels 
- Reducing arterial stiffness.

Even thought cranberries my be great it's important not to forget other berries, fruits, vegetables, not concentrating on only one food but including it some days as “part” of the dietary balance providing each day.
Ellagic acid, pomegranate and prostate cancer — a mini review
In vitro antiproliferative, apoptotic and antioxidant activities of punicalagin, ellagic acid and a total pomegranate tannin extract are enhanced in combination with other polyphenols as found in pomegranate juice
Evaluation of antioxidant properties of pomegranate peel extract in comparison with pomegranate pulp extract
Pressurised water extraction of polyphenols from pomegranate peels

Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections Oxygen Radical Absorbing Capacity of Phenolics in Blueberries, Cranberries, Chokeberries, and Lingonberries
Evidences of the cardioprotective potential of fruits: The case of cranberries

Keep Your Birds Cool!

Posted 7/10/2015

It may only be the last week in June, but we Portlanders are seeing unseasonably warm 90 degree days burst upon us! So, it's not too early to talk about hot weather dangers and how to "summerize" your companion birds.

When the mercury climbs into the 80's, 90's and above, we need to be concerned not only about heat itself, but also sun exposure, drafts, humidity, and increased bacteria in wet food. Parrots do best in homes kept between about 68 - 75 degrees, and when temperatures rise above, we need to make some adjustments in home environments. Always make sure cages aren't kept directly in front of windows; birds always need access to shade. Those of us living in the Northwest (humans and birds alike!) look forward to sunny weather with almost spiritual zeal!! (We see so little of it, after all!) When I lived in Arizona for 10 years, my birds and I swore if we never saw the sun again, it would be too soon - but after our first winter in Oregon, Amber and I greeted the final arrival of summer (in mid-July) with wild abandon, as we took our daily walks to the park. Sunshine provides health benefits to birds, as the Vitamin D aids feathers and vitality. The fresh air from open windows is also a boon, but keep up on wing trims and screen windows to avoid escapes!

By now, most folks are aware of the benefits of full spectrum lighting. Unfortunately, window glass filters out some of the beneficial rays, so an outdoor aviary or safe cage is great to utilize in summer.

When traveling, be sure not to leave birds closed in cars unattended, as suffocation can occur. If you live in a hot, dry climate and/or use air conditioners a lot, also use a humidifier to keep air from being too dry it's hard on skin and feathers. Be sure cages aren't getting drafts from air conditioner ducts. If temperatures cool down a lot at night, don't leave cages too close to open windows to also avoid drafts and chilling, and, of course, turn off ceiling fans when birds are out! One of the best things about summer is that birds can enjoy a daily bath or shower every morning, and be left to air dry throughout the warm summer months.

Although birds can adapt well to a wide variety of temperatures and climates, problems arise when temperatures fluctuate suddenly, instead of gradually increasing so that birds can adapt to the changes.

Be sure to offer plenty of fresh, pure water (change 1-2 times per day minimum). If birds are "soup" makers or "water-poopers," consider switching them to water bottles for health's sake. Remember too, birds don't know the difference between bowls of water intended for drinking and those intended for bathing!

Lastly, if you know me, you know I suggest 1⁄2 the diet be comprised of fresh veggies, cooked whole grains/legumes, and some fruit - and that you remove wet food after 3-4 hours, due to spoilage. In the summer, though, you may need to remove it after only 1-2 hours, as bacteria proliferates at higher temperatures. Dairy products and eggs, especially, should be removed after 1 hour. So, now that the sun is out, let your bird bask in the sunshine and fresh air, eat abundantly of nature's spring and summer harvest and enjoy the fun and benefits of daily baths.

Celebrate the season - before you know it, Fall's grey skies will be here again, and it'll be cuddle- up time for you and your birds.

By Marilu Anderson RIP

Grand Re-Opening!

Posted 4/14/2015

I am excited to announce the relaunch of White Wings Farm!

In keeping with the tradition started by Ben and Gloria Ridgway so many years ago, quality products will continue to be offered. Many, if not all, of the old products will continue. There will be some new additions as time allows.

The aromatic goodness of Bombay Biscuits still lingers in my oven. Now packaged and ready to go. 

I am eagerly looking forward to meeting all of the current customers as well as new. I am here to listen to your requests.



Letter from Ben                               Letter from Shauna



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