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Children and Organics: Why Organic foods are important for growing bodies

| November 26, 2012 | 0 Comments
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300px USDA organic seal.svg Children and Organics: Why Organic foods are important for growing bodies

Labeling for products that meet the USDA-NOP standards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As organic foods become more and more popular, debates wage on about the benefits of buying organic. Research results seem to vary. Some studies have found that organic foods have higher levels of Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants in them, while others have shown no difference in the nutritional value of organic vs. conventional food. Regardless, choosing organic when possible is important, and especially for growing bodies.

The EPA states that overexposure to pesticides can lead to cancer, nerve damage and birth defects.  Pesticides can cross the placenta during pregnancy and some research has linked pesticide exposure to impaired fetal growth. Preschoolers consuming conventional diets can have up to six times as much pesticide residue in their systems as those on organic diets. Because children are small, the relative levels they are exposed to are much higher than what adults consume. Add to this the fact that children’s immune system, brain and other organs are still developing, and the damage that pesticides can do can be much higher in babies and children.

That being said, organic food is expensive.  Growing families stretch every dollar to make ends meet, and buying all organic can double your grocery bill. In an ideal world, avoiding all pesticides, GMOs and other scary things would be great! However, for those of us in the real world, picking and choosing what we buy in order to keep to a budget is necessary. Don’t worry if you can’t buy all organic, and certainly don’t limit your family’s intake of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options for the sake of avoiding conventional foods. Below is a list of the “Dirty Dozen+” of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticide residue. Also, think about what your children eat. If they like to eat a lot of something, maybe buying that organic is the way to go.

o   Apples

o   Celery

o   Sweet bell peppers

o   Peaches

o   Strawberries

o   Nectarines

o   Grapes

o   Spinach

o   Lettuce

o   Cucumbers

o   Domestic blueberries

o   Potatoes

o   Green beans

o   Kale/Greens

In terms of nutritional value (vitamins, minerals etc.), the jury is still out about how much better for you organics are. There is a lot of conflicting research out there that makes life confusing. Remember though, that nutritional value is often linked to freshness, so if you are concerned about nutrients buy something local where possible.

In Summary:

If pregnant, breastfeeding, or when feeding children

-       Try to buy organic where possible.

-       Check out http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/ and the Dirty Dozen + and buy those organic.

-       Buy organic the things that you or your children eat the most of .

-       Look for locally grown foods to increase nutritional value – fruits and vegetables will spend less time sitting around before being consumed.

 

 Children and Organics: Why Organic foods are important for growing bodies

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Category: Children's Health

About the Author ()

Nutritionist specializing in preconception, pregnancy, breastfeeding, infant, and child nutrition with a focus on sustainability.
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