How eating organic improves your child's health
You may have already made the organic transition, but have your children? Eating organic means consuming food without the assistance of man-made chemicals. And while the organic method of farming can be more costly - even more than the rising cost of non-organic staples like milk and eggs - experts tell us the benefits in natural foods are well worth it. And when it comes to your kids, spending more on organic choices is worth it too.
The green movementThe green movement is upon us. From using sustainable materials when building new homes to driving hybrid cars, many are changing their lifestyles to save energy, help Mother Earth and get healthy. What about giving your children's diet a green makeover? As more and more natural food stores and organic brands surface, it's getting easier for you and your family to eat organic, which is a good thing considering all the health benefits of an all-natural diet.
Go organic for their healthDr. Therese Pasqualoni, a public health specialist and behavioral therapist, is concerned with kids' diets these days. Dr. Pasqualoni, who's been researching nutrition, physical activity and stress management for over 14 years, recognizes that organic foods are more beneficial than conventional foods. While evaluating the relationship between organic diets and conventional diets, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that among 815 two-year-olds, those who consumed organic dairy products experience decreased eczema and wheezing than those who consumed conventional dairy diets.
Of course eating organic isn't the only important factor, says Dr. Pasqualoni. She stresses that drinking organic milk should also be accompanied by other nutritional habits like eating a
wide range of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. "Parents and children need to read ingredient lists and steer away from foods with artificial food dyes and preservatives," she adds.
"You can find healthier alternatives by looking for natural food dyes such as beets, as well as natural preservatives that include Vitamin E."
Prevent Mental Health IssuesA study conducted by the University of Washington found that Seattle pre-schoolers eating primarily organic foods were exposed to fewer organophosphate pesticides than children eating primarily conventional foods. What does this mean for your children's brain?
In 2006, the BBC reported that pesticides found in fruits and vegetables, and the decreased nutrients in non-organic produce, can cause mental health issues like depression, and memory problems in children and adults.
Battle Attention Deficit DisorderMany kids are suffering from Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD), a recurrent pattern of behavior characterized by short attention spans, impulsivity and sometimes hyperactivity. Typically, doctors prescribe Ritalin, a stimulant that's also used to treat daytime drowsiness and chronic fatigue syndrome, to those suffering from ADD. But some of these prescription drugs have side effects like anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia.
Need an alternative with less side effects? There's a holistic option for your kids. There's a plant-based nutrition program that's believed to help ADD sufferers. David Sandoval, founder and CEO of Purium Health Products, tells us there's a relationship between diet and disease. "Everything the human body needs to live a long, disease-free life has been provided by the Earth," he says. The possible food-related ADD risk factors are high-sugar consumption and eating processed foods and additives. Eliminate the three from your diet and you should see an improvement.
"Initially, it's going to take some discipline, but switching to whole, unprocessed and, preferably, organic meals will cleanse the body and help in re-harnessing the power of your own mind," explains Sandoval, who believes poor nutrition may be the most harmful in the early development stages of life. He stresses that parents should feed their kids organic produce because it has the maximum nutrient density, and a minimal amount of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
Healthy vs. unhealthy organic foodNow that know some of the benefits of organic foods for your children's diet, it's also important to remember that not all organic foods are beneficial for them. For instance, are organic Oreo cookies healthy? Certifying something organic is difficult to decipher. Just because something says it's organic, doesn't mean it's good for you. Cookies like Oreos are also loaded with unhealthy sugars and poor quality fats. Organic fruit, free of pesticides and chemicals from the farmer's market would be a better option.
More advice on eating organic foods:Is your organic food really organic?
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