5 Ways Kids Benefit from Eating Organic
Many families are selecting organic foods on a more regular basis, which is especially good news for kids. According to the National Research Council (NRC), children are not adequately protected from pesticides in their diet. Here are 5 ways children benefit from eating organic whenever possible:
Better for their body weight and size
Children tend to consume more fruits, vegetables and juices than adults do relative to their body weight. Yet, the majority of tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set acceptable risk levels for pesticide residues were done on adult males, not children. Studies suggest that many kids are over-exposed to these toxins even if their exposure is within “legal limits.”
Provides a margin of safety
Did you know that more than a million children between ages 1 and 5 ingest at least 15 pesticides daily from produce alone? Over 600,000 of these children consume doses of organophosphate insecticides considered unsafe by the federal government, and over 60,000 eat doses that exceed “benchmark levels” by 10 times or more.1
Improves typical “kids food”
According to the Consumers Union,2 pesticide residues in many kid-friendly foods often exceed safe levels─including fruits, vegetables, juices, and wheat or corn based foods such as pasta, cereal, popcorn and chips. Kids also favor many of the “Dirty Dozen” foods which contain especially high pesticide levels: apples, bell peppers, berries, celery, cherries, grapes (imported), lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, and strawberries.
Ensures safer dairy products
Though dairy alternatives like almond, rice and soy milk offer many health benefits, dairy foods are still a diet staple for many American children. Organic dairy products are safer for kids as they exclude recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST), antibiotics, and other chemicals routinely administered to conventional dairy animals.
Minimizes GMOs in daily fare
Corn, rice and soy foods─core diet items for kids of all ages─are also likely to be genetically modified, while certified organic versions are GMO-free. A growing body of evidence suggests that GMOs may pose threats to our wellness, as well as endangering our bio-diversity and natural ecosystems.
If buying organic isn’t always an option, a great alternative is to target conventional items that contain the least amount of pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group, these include asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples, and peas.
Happy, healthy eating!
2 “Update: Pesticides in Children’s Foods,” Consumers Union of United States Inc., May 2000.