Why Organic Food is Best for Baby
Giving your baby a good variety of fresh, nutrient-rich foods will not only help him or her to develop and grow properly, but will also encourage life-long healthy eating habits. Indeed, in the long run, a diet that does not include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables could be more harmful than the amount of any residual pesticides that may be present in or on the food – and varying the foods will mean less chance of a build-up of one type of pesticide.
The foods that you buy for your baby are down to your personal choice and your personal budget. Buying foods that are fresh and contain the most nutrients is the best that you can do for your baby; buying organic food whenever possible is the choice of many parents.
Fruits, vegetables and grains are grown with the aid of pesticides and additives so that they are ‘perfect’ when they are harvested, and still appear so when they reach the supermarket shelf – even if they have been transported over long distances and are no longer actually ‘fresh’.
While your baby is still developing, the variety of foods that he or she eats will tend to be limited, and this can increase exposure to residual pesticides – many of which are linked to health problems that may not be apparent until your baby is much older. According to research, asthma, allergies, behavioural and learning disorders, cancer and fertility problems may be associated with pesticides.
Organic food is natural…
It is not genetically modified, and no pesticides (such as fungicides, herbicides and insecticides) or artificial additives are used in its production or harvesting processes.
Organic fruits and vegetables:
- Taste better! They are harvested in season, when ripe, rather than sprayed with pesticides and after-harvest waxes to make them last longer and be available year-round.
- Research suggests that they are higher in nutrients, including antioxidants, than conventional produce.
Organic in general:
- Organic farming and production are eco-friendly for the whole environment.
- Organic animal feed means minimised exposure to potential toxins for meat and dairy products, poultry and eggs.
When deciding what foods to buy for your baby, your knowledge about organic foods, your lifestyle, the affordability and accessibility of organic produce are all aspects that will influence you…
Things to consider if you want to but organic foods for your baby:
- Organic food is usually more expensive due to the labour costs involved, but shop around as prices do vary. Organic produce from farmers’ markets and co-operative stores can be cheaper than in supermarkets and health-food shops.
- Buying organic produce from farmers’ markets also means that the produce is very fresh, as it is usually locally grown.
- If you are busy and don’t have time to go around different shops, try shopping online for some of your organic fruit and vegetables – quality is usually good and prices are sometimes competitive.
- Fresh organic fruit and vegetables may contain imperfections and may not look as perfect as you are used to – that’s because they have not had waxes and sprays on them!
- Organic produce should always look fresh (if it doesn’t, don’t buy it, as nutrients have been lost).
- Look for the certification guaranteeing that what you’re buying is actually organic.
- An ‘organic’ fruit bar might contain organic ingredients, but it may also be very high in sugar, so it will not be suitable for your baby.
For any produce – organic or conventionally produced:
- If it doesn’t look fresh – don’t buy it! Mould or decay in fruit and vegetables often appears where pesticides are concentrated.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables before using them. If they are non-organic and you want to use them unpeeled, scrub them really well, or soak if possible.