Why organic foods are key to raising healthy children

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Recent research has shown that over 90% of food advertising viewed by children and teenagers is for unhealthy products, highlighting the real challenge in raising a family on healthy, organic foods. Though the sales of these unhealthy foods are declining, high levels of adulthood obesity are still predicted for today’s children. Fortunately, organic foods are becoming increasingly popular among western consumers, as more people learn about the associated health benefits.

 

What are organic foods?

Organic farmers avoid the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, opting for alternative methods of farming. Healthy, naturally pest-resistant soil is key for the growth of organic plants. This often results in better nutritional value and eliminates or decreases the levels of organophosphates that end up in the body. In the case of animals, the use of growth-enhancing hormones is prohibited and a strong emphasis is put on animal welfare. Free-range living and chemical-free grassland are key to happy, healthy animals and the resulting organic meat.

 

The importance of organic foods

The dietary choices you make for your children can have long-lasting impacts on their physical and cognitive development. All research points to the fact that organic foods are simply healthier for children, containing orders of magnitude lower levels of toxins and higher levels of the nutrients they need to grow. Research has shown that the organophosphate pesticides used on many farms have serious health implications for the children who consume them.
In particular, unborn children are particularly vulnerable and at a stage where healthy,  organic foods are most important for their development. Higher exposure to pesticides in the womb is associated with lower average IQ at an elementary-school-age. The consumption of organic foods also reduces the health risk from pesticides by up to 94%. Furthermore, the benefits of organic food consumption are observable almost immediately as organophosphate levels in the body become nearly undetectable within days. The benefits of healthy, organic eating go beyond physical wellbeing, however. Research published last year demonstrated that healthy eating habits and the Mediterranean diet, in particular, are correlated with decreased rates of depression.

 

What to look for

Asparagus, broccoli, bananas, onions, and cauliflower are all great sources of nutrition while being generally low in organophosphates. There are a number of fruits and vegetables typically high in toxin levels because of the way they are farmed and how their skin holds onto toxic organophosphates. Among these are apples, cherries, spinach, strawberries, bell peppers, and potatoes. While trying to avoid high-risk foods is possible, it can be challenging. As long as you vary the organic foods that you’re choosing to feed the family, you will be on the right track. After all, doing something is more than doing nothing.

 

We all know that healthy eating is important, but modern research has proven it has far-reaching benefits beyond what most already assume. Doing a quick check before you buy any dairy, meat, or vegetable product can help reduce the thousands of toxic chemicals present in the average western diet, many of which are linked to cancers and impaired cognitive development. This is especially important for unborn children who, nutritionally speaking, are at the most vulnerable stage of their development.
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