Does your child have difficulty in a classroom setting? Is he/she constantly on the move? Does he/she have a short attention span? The food you are purchasing could be the problem.
Today, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects 4.5 million U.S. children. About 2.5 million kids take medication for the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A new study has found that children exposed to pesticides could have a higher risk of ADHD. The study published by the Journal of Pediatrics measured levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of over 1,000 children, ages 5 to 18. They found kids with above-average levels had twice the odds of receiving a diagnosis of ADHD.
The Journal of Pediatrics says exposure to oranophosphates has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems in children in the past.
Zach loves going to the farmer’s market.
Oranophosphates are designed to have toxic effects on the nervous system says Maryse Bouchard, PhD, a researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the university of Montreal. “That’s how they kill pests.”
You can now add pesticides to the legion of chemicals adversely affecting kids. The pesticides act on a set of brain chemicals related to those in involved in ADHD. (The Fiengold Association has comprehensive information on food additives affecting children with ADHD.) Children are at greater risk from pesticides and other contaminates because their bodies are smaller and still developing. It’s not surprising that pesticides which have toxic affects on nervous systems of insects negatively affect kids.
What Can You Do?
Obviously, thoroughly wash all produce. Better yet, purchase organic produce. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without pesticides and herbicides.
Some produce such as apples, berries, green beans, and spinach are more susceptible to pests. Naturally, they’re more heavily sprayed with pesticides, than worry-free produce like bananas, oranges, and broccoli. When making purchasing decisions, it makes sense to purchase organic produce that conventional growing methods are more likely to be heavily treated with pesticides.
So at the very least you’ll want to avoid the “dirty dozen.” The dirty dozen are the top 12 fruit and vegetables with the highest pesticide load. They are peaches, apples, sweet bell pepper, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots and pears. It only makes sense that these should be the first organic fruit and vegetables you purchase.
There is another benefit to eating organic produce without pesticides. When plants aren’t coated in pesticides to help fight off disease, they develop stronger compounds to protect themselves. If you eat pesticide-free produce, you get those disease-fighting compounds, too. What’s more, organic produce often has better flavor than conventionally grown foods. Since organic produce may be locally grown, they ripen later and are picked at their peak instead of being picked early to ensure survival during shipping.