Why Organic Food is Critical for Children!

“On May 27th, 2014, Julie Daniluk, the passionate nutritionist, television personality, and author of Meals That Heal-The Anti-Inflammatory Diet joins us to share the story of how diet has helped her dramatically transform her own ADHD. Although the diet & ADHD connection is a controversial topic, there is a growing body of evidence supporting the connection between nutrition and our mind. Julie shares her thoughts on the value of organic foods. Having been following her Meals That Heal program for the past 5 weeks, we have been surprised and delighted at the results.” – Rick Green

By Julie Daniluk

baby eatingBy their very nature children are more sensitive to pesticides than adults. A child’s body continues to grow until 18 but their brain and nervous system are under development until the age of 25. We are all exposed to more chemicals than ever before but can you imagine the body burden our children are experiencing while their systems are growing? Is it any wonder that cancer rates are on the rise in our children?

On October 22, 2012, there was a report released in The Journal of Pediatrics by The American Academy of Pediatrics that spoke to the need for children to eat organic produce and meat. Unfortunately, the report did not go far enough. Organic food is a controversial topic and this review is a positive follow up to the poorly constructed study published by Stanford in the Annals of Internal Medicine in September 2012. This particular study strangely concluded that organically grown food has the same nutrition than conventionally grown food.

It has been proven that organic food does contain more Vitamin C and other antioxidants that protect the plant naturally. When organic plants are exposed to pests they respond by producing their own protection that we then reap the benefits from. Some of these important phytonutrients include: Inositol Phosphates (Phytates); Lignans (Phytoestrogens); Isothiocyanates and Indoles; Phenols and Cyclic Compounds; Saponins; Sulfides, Thiols; and Terpenes. Here is a RealNatural.org article that goes into greater detail on the subject. On average, organic produce contains 25% more antioxidants that conventional produce.

Beyond debating their nutrient value, the most important point that needs to be acknowledged is what organic foods do not contain! Certified organic foods must be grown without the use of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Organic fields are managed so that the soil contains more minerals than conventional farms.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “feeding children organic fruits and vegetables cuts down on the amount of potentially harmful chemicals and also may help prevent immunity to antibiotics”.

This study cited several studies that linked pesticide exposure to memory loss and cancer in adult farm workers and an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.

I am passionate about this topic as I was raised beside a large conventional corn farm. As I child I remember standing in the backyard watching 100’s of acres of corn being sprayed with pesticides. No surprise that I was diagnosed with ADHD! The symptoms to my diagnosis disappeared when my parents switched me to a natural diet!

study in 2010 led by Maryse Bouchard in Montreal in the journal Pediatrics associates exposure to pesticides with increased cases of ADHD in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 4.5 million children ages 5 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and rates of diagnosis have risen 3% a year between 1997 and 2006.

The team from University of Montreal and Harvard University analyzed the levels of pesticide residue in the urine of more than 1,100 children ages 8 to 15 and found that those with the highest levels of organophosphate pesticides, had the highest incidence of ADHD. A 35% increase in ADHD with every tenfold increase in urinary concentration of the pesticide residue to be exact. Switching to organic produce for five days dramatically reduced the levels of pesticide residue in the urine of children who usually consume conventional produce.

Joel Forman MD, the lead physician of the American Academy of Pediatrics study explains, “Kids’ nervous systems are developing. Exposure to toxins can have different and much more profound effects on children,” It is important to keep in mind that children cannot metabolize these chemicals until the age of 7 when then liver starts to mature.”

Forman’s team also supports the need to buy organic meat to reduce the risk of exposure to antibiotics given to conventionally raised animals. Eating organic meat reduces the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The only disappointment of the report was they did not see the point of organic milk. I want to remind people that when you buy conventional ice cream or cheese from the United States you are exposing you and your children to excessive genetically modified growth hormone and anti-biotic that is given to conventionally raised cows.

If you struggle with the price of organic, I suggest checking out the Environmental Working Group yearly report of the most important food to buy organically.

Fruit ADHD Blog

Here is a summary of:

The Dirty Dozen – Fruits and veggies that are heavily sprayed and can contain higher levels of pesticide residues.

The Clean 15 -Fruits and vegetables that are included in the “Clean 15” are not generally threatened by as many pests.

Dirty Dozen Clean 15 b

I feel Dr. Bouchard says it best, “While pesticide-free fruits and greens may be more costly, they are worth the price in terms of future health”.

I love this parting thought from an Ancient Indian Proverb:

We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Let’s be sure to give our children some land worth farming!

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2 Replies to “Why Organic Food is Critical for Children!”

  1. From the study:

    “Objective: The goal was to examine the association between urinary concentrations of dialkyl phosphate metabolites of organophosphates and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children 8 to 15 years of age.”

    “Methods: Cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2000–2004) were available for 1139 children, who were representative of the general US population. A structured interview with a parent was used to ascertain ADHD diagnostic status, on the basis of slightly modified criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.”

    “Results: One hundred nineteen children met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Children with higher urinary dialkyl phosphate concentrations, especially dimethyl alkylphosphate (DMAP) concentrations, were more likely to be diagnosed as having ADHD. A 10-fold increase in DMAP concentration was associated with an odds ratio of 1.55 (95% confidence interval: 1.14–2.10), with adjustment for gender, age, race/ethnicity, poverty/income ratio, fasting duration, and urinary creatinine concentration. For the most-commonly detected DMAP metabolite, dimethyl thiophosphate, children with levels higher than the median of detectable concentrations had twice the odds of ADHD (adjusted odds ratio: 1.93 [95% confidence interval: 1.23–3.02]), compared with children with undetectable levels.”

    “Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence. Prospective studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal.”

    While I agree with the post’s assertion that pesticides are bad and organic foods are far healthier, the study and anecdotal evidence linking them to ADHD in this post are highly suspect. The study used a “slightly modified criteria” to determine the ADHD diagnosis, so not only were they measuring the presence of pesticides, but they were determining who had ADHD as well. Is there a fraternal twin study that backs this study up? The manner in which the connection between ADHD and pesticides in this post is established is troubling. There are many foods and environmental toxins that exacerbate ADHD in persons with the disorder, but this post seems to be going beyond that assertion by citing one study that used “slightly modified criteria”, personal experience, and quotes that are not about pesticides causing ADHD to correlate an increase in diagnosis with pesticides.

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