Every bearded dragon owner knows it’s highly important to feed their beardie with lots of highly nutritious greens and vegetables but are Brussel sprouts on that list?
Brussel sprouts have a great reputation as a nutritious veggie for us humans but bearded dragons have different nutritional needs and because of this their plant-based diet will look different to ours.
We have researched both health experts and veterinary nutritionists to give you all the answers you need regarding Brussel sprouts for your bearded dragon.
So can bearded dragons eat Brussel sprouts? According to veterinary experts, bearded dragons can eat Brussel sprouts occasionally. Even though they are packed with nutrients such as vitamin C and fibre, Brussel sprouts are also deficient in other nutrients that are vital to a bearded dragon’s health such as calcium.
Read on to find out…
- Nutritional info for Brussel sprouts
- Both the concerns & benefits of feeding Brussel sprouts to your beardie
- How to prepare Brussel sprouts?
- How often to feed your beardie Brussel sprouts?
- 5 Other secondary foods that experts recommend
Nutritional Info | Brussel Sprouts
It’s important to get a good understanding of the foods that you offer to your bearded dragon.
In this post, we will look at the nutritional factors that make Brussel sprouts an option to feed to your beardie.
Before we do that, here’s a table that contains the main nutritional information you need as we will be referencing this throughout the post.
Nutritional Information Of Sprouts Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||8.95||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Brussel Sprouts? (A Closer Look)
As we prepared our research for this article, we found numerous reptile experts that state that Brussel sprouts are safe to eat for bearded dragons.
UC Davis is one such site that lists sprouts in a list of foods that bearded dragons can eat, although they suggest that they should only eat them rarely.
There are many reasons related to nutritional factors why Brussel sprouts aren’t recommended to feed to your beardie on a regular basis despite their abundance of antioxidants and more.
Let’s now take a closer look at both the benefits and potential health concerns of offering your beardie Brussel sprouts.
High In vitamin C & Other Nutrients
Brussel sprouts are loaded with some key nutrients including vitamin C. If you take a look at the table above, you can see that they contain 85mg of vitamin C per 100g.
This makes Brussel sprouts an excellent source for this vitamin.
According to Health.com Brussel sprouts are also an excellent source of vitamin K and again, looking at the nutritional table above you can see they boast 177µg per 100g.
Other nutritional experts also point out that they contain high amounts of fibre with 3.8g per 100g.
As you can see Brussel sprouts do have some really beneficial nutrients that make it tempting to add it to your beardies diet on a regular basis, however, it’s important to take a look at the rest of the post to get the full picture.
Sprouts Lack In Calcium
As a bearded dragon owner, you probably know how important calcium is to your beardie.
Without high amounts of calcium in their diet on a regular basis, bearded dragons will suffer from all sorts of illnesses, namely metabolic bone disease.
Pet-MD name poor diet resulting in low calcium levels as a major cause of metabolic bone disease.
Unfortunately for Brussel sprouts, they don’t contain much calcium, in fact, they contain 42mg of calcium per 100g.
When you compare this to foods such as kale and dandelion greens that contain 254mg and 187mg of calcium per 100g respectively you can see why it makes sense to offer those options instead of Brussel sprouts.
This doesn’t mean that you should never add Brussel sprouts to the food bowl but it does mean that you have to get the balance correct.
This way your dragon is getting the vital calcium they need as well as a variety of tastes, textures and nutrients to keep mealtimes interesting.
If you’re unsure about how calcium affects your beardie or you want to know which calcium supplements we recommend to use then head over to this post that explains everything you need to know about calcium as an owner.
Unhealthy Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
As well as containing low amounts of calcium, Brussel sprouts also have a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Phosphorus is basically a nutrient that stops calcium from being absorbed.
As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to feed your beardie too many foods that contain more phosphorus than calcium.
In an article that Vetstream posted about metabolic bone disease, they talked about how the ideal ratio is 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus.
If you jump back to the table at the top of this post, you will see that Brussel sprouts contain 42mg of calcium and 69mg of phosphorus per 100g.
This ratio isn’t what you are looking for in a food that you want to feed regularly to your beardie and is yet another reason why Brussel sprouts should be fed on occasion as many experts recommend.
High In Oxalic Acid
Brussel sprouts are also quite high in oxalic acid. Without going into too much detail, oxalic acid is a compound that is present in many of the plants, nuts and seeds we eat.
The problem with oxalic acid is that it binds to minerals such as calcium and stops them from being absorbed.
The more oxalic acid that is present in a food the less calcium will be absorbed.
As calcium is so important to a beardies health it’s important to understand which foods are high in oxalic acid or oxalates as they are otherwise known and keep them to a minimum.
Brussel sprouts are actually on the higher end of the scale with 360mg of oxalic acid per 100g.
To put this in perspective, we have created a table that lists many of the common foods that bearded dragons often eat and included the amount of oxalic acid they contain.
You can compare the 360mg of oxalates per 100g in Brussel sprouts to the foods below…
Oxalates Per 100g
|Name||Oxalates Per 100g|
|Sweet Potato||240 mg|
|Mustard Greens||128.7 mg|
|Turnip Greens||50 mg|
Considered High In Goitrogen
Brussel sprouts also get a bad reputation for being high in something called Goitrogen.
In a nutshell, goitrogen interferes with iodine uptake in the thyroid and can affect metabolism.
When we conducted our research we found that many experts did consider Brussel sprouts to be high in goitrogen, however, Kresser Institute also named many of the foods you would normally feed to your beardie as high in goitrogen too.
The point here is that even though these foods have also been singled out to be high in goitrogen, no reptile experts seem to be hesitant about recommending them as staple food choices for your dragon.
Our personal thoughts on this are that as you are recommended not to feed Brussel sprouts to your beardie on a daily basis then the goitrogen levels aren’t really something to stress about.
If this was a staple food or then you might want to look further into the levels of goitrogen.
Below are some of the other popular foods that experts say are abundant in goitrogen…
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Brussel Sprouts?
Even though Brussel sprouts offer some great nutritional benefits, they simply offer too many negatives such as low amounts of calcium and high amounts of oxalates to name but a few.
This means that you should offer them to your beardie on a daily basis.
So how often should your bearded dragon eat Brussel sprouts? We recommend feeding Brussel sprouts to your bearded dragon no more than once a month as a general guide.
Sprouts weigh around 5g or 0.5 oz each so offering just 1/4 of a sprout should be ample.
These should always be fed with a selection of other highly nutritious greens and veggies.
Never simply fill a bowl full of sprouts or other foods that don’t offer the calcium and other nutrients your beardie needs.
Due to the fact that bearded dragons have small stomachs, they get full really easily and filling them up with foods that don’t fulfil their nutritional needs isn’t the best option.
This is especially true for baby bearded dragons who are still growing and require all the nutrition and calcium they can consume in their small stomachs.
Here’s a guide with an easy to follow table that shares how fast bearded dragons grow and the results may surprise you.
How should you Prepare Brussel Sprouts For Your Bearded Dragon?
It’s always important to know how to prepare each food you give to your dragon.
Many foods will require a slightly different preparation process to allow your beardie to easily consume the food.
Here’s an easy to follow and short guide for how to prepare Brussel sprouts for your bearded dragons…
- Choose The Organic Option
This will totally depend on what country you live in but if you can source an organic option then this is always best.
Some large stores source veggies and greens that have huge amounts of pesticides on them while often smaller farm shops and local markets can offer organic option.
- Thoroughly Wash Before Hand
Washing any fruit, greens and vegetables that you add to your bearded dragons salad bowl are important.
The veggies could have been through any number of hands, warehouses and conditions before they ended up in your kitchen cupboard or fridge.
Give them a good scrub and they’re good to go.
- Raw Is Better
The nutritional value of the sprouts will be higher is you offer them raw as opposed to cooked.
Try offering them raw first, if your beardie is struggling or turns their nose up at them then you can offer them cooked next time.
- Whole Or Chopped?
As we mentioned earlier in this post, we recommend only providing around ¼ of a sprout so this obviously means that you will need to chop the sprout before adding it to the salad bowl.
We would also recommend finely chopping it into small manageable pieces so it’s easy for your dragon to consume.
5 Secondary Foods For Bearded Dragons Instead Of Brussel Sprouts
We’ve decided to list some ideas of more foods that your bearded dragon can eat rather than the staples that you already know about.
We have picked the brains of one of the leading reptile experts and provided a list containing 5 of their secondary greens and veggies.
We have handpicked…
- Butternut Squash
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potato
- Bell Peppers
So you can get a better understanding of the nutrition that each of these foods contains.
we have included them in a table below with their most relevant information.
Nutritional Information Per 100g (Secondary Foods)
|Name||Bell Peppers||Butternut Squash||Green Beans||Sweet Potato||Turnip|
|Water||92.21||86,41 g||90.32 g||80.13 g||91.87 g|
|Energy||726 Kcal||45 kcal||31 kcal||76 kcal||28 kcal|
|Protein||0.99 g||1 g||1.83 g||1.37 g||0.9 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3 g||0.1 g||0.22 g||0.14 g||0.1 g|
|Carbohydrate||6.03 g||11.69 g||6.97 g||17.72 g||6.43 g|
|Fiber||2.1 g||2 g||2.7 g||2.5 g||1.8 g|
|Sugars||4.2 g||2.2 g||3.26 g||5.74 g||3.8 g|
|Calcium, Ca||7 mg||48 mg||37 mg||27 mg||30 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||26 mg||33 mg||38 mg||32 mg||27 mg|
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