Organic foods have been getting a great deal of press lately as the safer way to eat. As more organic foods become readily available at supermarkets and farmer’s markets across the country, many parents are wondering if feeding their children more organic foods is as valuable as experts are saying. Others believe that organic foods are simply not worth the extra money. However, here are the five top reasons to feed children organic foods and why it will change both their and their parents’ lives.
Organic foods are grown without pesticides. Pesticides are chemicals that are typically sprayed on vegetables to keep insects, rodents and other pests away from the food while it is growing. Farmers of large establishments use these chemicals to gain larger, unharmed crops for harvesting. However, studies have shown that children who eat traditional produce have up to nine times more pesticide residual in their urine as compared to children who eat organic produce. While current research has not yet definitively shown the long-term effects of this on children, it is known that high doses of pesticides are cancerous. Another potential harm is that pesticides may contribute to behavioral problems such as ADHD. The Environmental Work Group publishes a list of foods that are particularly high in pesticide levels at http://www.ewg.org/release/ewg-releases-2012-shopper-s-guide-pesticides-produce.
Organic foods are free of antibiotics and hormones. These chemicals are often used unnaturally in non-organic livestock. Antibiotics are given preventatively to livestock to guard against diseases that may then grow to affect the whole herd. Various hormones are given to increase the size of livestock, thereby increasing profit. Organic meats, on the other hand, come from livestock that often feed at least part of the time outdoors on grasses instead of on chemically altered grains. Organic milk comes from a similarly treated cow. While the Food and Drug Administration says that these antibiotics are safe, some doctors and researchers believe that they may cause antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans.
Organic foods are more nutritious overall than are non-organics. While research is still being done in this area, recent evidence, as discussed at http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-46, shows that organic vegetables and fruits often contain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than do conventionally grown produce. Some of the most noticeable differences were found with vitamin C, which protects the immune system, and with iron, important for blood cells. Other minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus are just as important for healthy bodily functions. Antioxidants protect virtually the whole body from damage from chemicals, radiation and more.
Organic foods are better for the environment and teach children green values. Organic foods often come from local farmers. This then decreases the amount of foods that need to be shipped from further away or even from other countries. The further away from which a food comes, the more fuel is needed to transport it. This increases carbon emissions. In addition, small farms offer a diversity of plants keeping the soil fertile and healthy for future crops. It is vital to teach children green values at a young age since this is when life habits are forming. A habit that has formed as a child is difficult to break as an adult.
Organic foods simply taste better. Many adults as well as children notice the flavor difference between organic foods and conventionally grown foods. Once again, organic foods are typically grown closer to home. Therefore, fruits and vegetables can be left to ripen for a longer time on the vine or tree. Riper fruits are tastier, fresher and often have greater nutrition in them than conventionally grown produce.
These five reasons thoroughly prove that is far healthier, safer and more nutritious to feed children organic foods rather than foods treated with pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones and more. As more research continues to become known, scientists are bound to continue finding even more evidence to support this overwhelming trend. Choosing organic produce, meat and other foods is good for the environment, good for the local farmer and good for a healthy family.
Ron Thompson is an avid blogger who loves to camp and writes for
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