Is organic food for kids really a ‘must’?
If you’re still on the fence about buying organic for your children, perhaps this will help you decide.
In a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors clearly stated that there is sufficient evidence linking pesticide exposure to a wide range of childhood health ills including reduced birth weight, ADHD and impaired mental development.
Now, obviously, no one wants those things for their children so it’s really good news that there is a definitive way to reduce the risk of these devastating conditions. But organic food is so expensive, you say. True, it is does cost more to eat organic. But, as this report, entitled Organic Food: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages, points out, organic farming is starting to produce a similar yield to conventional farms and can therefore be priced competitively. Especially now that demand is increasing, it is entirely possible to eat organic and stay within a modest budget.
Another comforting thought presented by the AAP is that you don’t have to feed your children a 100% organic diet 24/7, seven days a week. To lower pesticide levels to next to immeasurable, they say eating organic five days a week is sufficient.
Of course, if your child has special needs or is at high-risk for developing special needs, it is best to adopt a completely organic, whole food diet.
Unlike grown ups, children are more sensitive to exposure to pesticide residues, chemical fertilizers, and artificial colours or flavouring. This is because a child’s organs are still developing and their immune systems may be less capable of eliminating toxins. Also, compared to adults, children may also be exposed to more pesticides because they often eat different foods than adults. For instance, children typically consume larger quantities of milk, applesauce, and orange juice per pound of body weight than adults. If not produced organically, these foods are notoriously high in hormones, antibiotics and pesticide residues.
Beyond toxins, organic produce can also provide greater nutrition. In the November 2008 issue of their Current Issues newsletter, Dietitians of Canada provided the inside story about the nutritive value of organic food. The dietitians found evidence that some organic fruits and vegetables are higher in vitamin C and plant phenols (antioxidants) as compared to produce that has been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Bottom line: Yes, it is very important for children to eat organic, and it is arguably more “bang for you buck” when you consider the risks and benefits.