From newborn to teething, what your baby eats has a huge impact on their growth, and parents know how important it is to provide their children with the best nutrition possible. A child that doesn’t receive the right nourishing foods can have many difficulties in later life, from brittle bones and a poor immune system to an increased risk of disease and stunted growth - so finding the right baby food for your brood is massively important.
So, is organic baby food better?
Mounds of Natural Nutrition: Organic Baby Food Benefits
Of course, we all want to give our little ones the strongest start possible, which is why many Moms and Dads are choosing organic baby food over conventional brands that include synthetic ingredients that can be detrimental to your baby’s health.
Organic baby food is made with 100% natural ingredients, and will provide baby with that much-needed nutrition, without chemicals and preservatives that weren’t made to be consumed by delicate little bodies.
A study by The Food Standards Agency1 unearthed “higher than expected” levels of acrylamide, a chemical compound that is considered to be cancer-causing, in non-organic baby foods, causing concern for parents who unknowingly fed their children products containing the substance.
Many parents moved to feed all natural baby food as organic crops are grown with zero pesticides. These chemicals, used to keep away insects and pests, are thought to make their way from the crop to the table as they seep into produce, ending up in baby food.
“It is not just what organic food does contain, it is also what it does not that is important.,” says the Soil Association 2, the United Kingdom’s largest organic product certification organization.
“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.”
Organic Baby Food Facts
The United States Department of Agriculture 3 governs the production of food sold as organic in the U.S., and current laws mean it must be grown according to their organic guidelines, stating that the land used to grow the crop must not have been treated with a prohibited substance in the last 3 years, bans the use of ionizing radiation and sewage sludge in the growing process and only allows physical, mechanical or biological controls on pests and weeds.
This is good news for your baby’s tummy, as organic baby food is produced in strict accordance to these laws, preventing pesticides and chemicals from ending up on their spoon.
45% of Americans make an effort to include organic foods in their diets, a Gallup 4 study revealed. With more of us taking steps to make better eating choices that benefit us as well as the environment, it’s no surprise that organic baby food has risen to popularity.
The Environmental Impact of Non-Organic Food Production
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 5 (VDGIF) warns that “wildlife can be exposed to pesticides directly, by eating contaminated food or water, breathing pesticide spray, or absorbing pesticides through their skin.”
“Predators such as hawks and owls can become poisoned by eating other animals that have been exposed to pesticides. Because many insecticides affect the nervous systems of wildlife, exposure to a particular insecticide can affect animals indirectly, by interfering with their ability to survive or reproduce.”
As foods grown with harmful pesticides stand to make a huge impact on the equilibrium of the natural environment, organic baby foods produced without these substances are not only better for your baby, but better for the world as well.
VDGIF also stresses the concern regarding pesticides used to grow non-organic products and the chain reaction of harm in surrounding water sources, as “amphibians, fish, and aquatic insects are very susceptible to pesticide contamination of water. When these creatures are killed by runoff or drift of pesticides into water bodies, other animals such as ducklings, who depend on these creatures for survival, also suffer.”
Enhanced Flavor, Enhanced Nutrition
Organic baby foods are regarded by parents who’ve been tempted enough to try them to taste better than conventional baby foods, which isn’t surprising considering that they are made with more natural ingredients. Baby food that’s easier on the taste buds means you could avoid the possibility of your child turning away from certain foods, and making it much easier to ply them with vegetables and fruits.
A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives 6 measured how the switch to an all organic diet affected the bodies of 23 school-age children, replacing the fruits, vegetables and wheat products they consumed with organic versions. The goal of the study was to assess the impact of pesticides in the food consumption of children, and found that pesticide traces were found in the urine of those eating a conventional diet, but the existence of such substances all but disappeared within a few days when the children began to eat organic foods. The study concluded that “children whose diets consist of organic food items would have a lower probability of neurologic health risks.”
Going Organic, For You and Your Baby
If you’ve decided to feed organic baby food to your little one, you’ll find plenty of options available to give your baby the very best nutrition with absolutely no pesticides, preservatives or chemicals that shouldn’t find themselves at the dinner table.
You might want to try a range of flavors to first see which ones your baby takes to, and you should gradually introduce them into your baby’s diet so as not to cause stomach upset by changing their foods too quickly.
It’s a wise choice, and one that will work to enhance the growth of your little one, as organic baby foods work with your baby to aid their growth and development - all the while being kind to nature and reducing the impact on the environment.
- The Daily Mail - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2745790/Baby-foods-cereals-crisps-contain-raised-levels-cancer-risk-chemicals.html
- Soil Association -http://www.soilassociation.org/whatisorganic/organicfood/organicbabyfood
- USDA - http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Organic%20Production-Handling%20Standards.pdf
- Gallup - http://www.gallup.com/poll/174524/forty-five-percent-americans-seek-organic-+foods.aspx
- The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries - http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/habitat/landowners/infosheets/wildife-and-pesticides.asp
- Environmental Health Perspectives – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1367841/