Why choose organic for children?

Put simply, organic food is packed with nutrients – in fact no food has higher levels of vitamins and minerals than organic food. A baby's digestive system is more efficient than that of an adult at absorbing foods, enabling nutrients to be used more quickly, but also making the body more vulnerable to toxins.

No nasties. It is not just what organic food does contain, it is also what it does not that is important. A baby’s nervous, circulatory, and reproductive systems are all developing fast so it is vital that alien chemicals do not disrupt them during the growth phase. Immature kidneys are not as proficient at getting rid of harmful substances, so they may circulate in the body of a baby for longer.

Because a baby’s diet is often restricted to just a few types of less processed food, for example apples, potatoes and carrots, they may receive higher exposures of pesticides and although the EU has set maximum levels for individual chemicals used in infant formula and baby foods, this does not take into account the cocktail effect of lots of pesticides. Furthermore, who is to say what is an 'acceptable' daily intake of toxic chemicals?

Anyone younger than six months is missing the suit of armour that surrounds the brain, known as the blood brain barrier. This works pretty well to prevent poisons leaving the blood stream and entering the brain. “Small exposures of insecticides to someone younger than six months can create disproportionate risks to the brain and can be a terrible saboteur of that brain compared to similar or even much larger exposures for older humans.” Dr Sandra Steingraber, an ecologist, author and cancer survivor.

The best method of reducing exposure to potentially harmful pesticides would be to eat organically grown food, where their use is avoided.

Unfortunately harmful chemicals are not just involved in the growing of food. They are also used in the processing of it. Many additives are now being linked to health and behavioural problems. A study by Liverpool University in March 2006 showed that when nerve cells were exposed to Monosodium Glutamate, Brilliant Blue, Aspartame and Quinoline Yellow, the additives stopped normal growth and interfered with signalling systems. The mixtures of the additives, which are commonly found in children’s food and snacks, had a much more potent effect on nerve cells than each additive on its own. All of these are banned under organic standards.

Studies in Sweden have also shown that children raised on an organic diet are less likely to develop allergies.

In short, if it says organic then you do not need a chemistry degree to understand the label.

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