Choosing organic foods over conventional foods benefits any age group. However, for children, it is exceedingly important. Organic foods are produced without using genetically modified organisms or pesticides. Most pesticides and herbicides are in fact neurotoxins, which is why they successfully kill insects Because children's nervous systems are in development, they are especially vulnerable to their effects.
Presently, more than 20% of the pesticides currently registered in the U.S. are linked to cancer, birth defects, developmental harm, or central nervous system damage. (Others may have side effects that are yet to be discovered. Pesticides are generally not tested for their long term, cumulative health consequences- or the effect they have in the combinations consumed today.) Cancer rates steadily rising among children have also been correlated with the increase in the use of pesticides, herbicides, and genetically engineered foods. Cancer is now the second leading cause of death among children under 15. Most children, unless their parents' happen to shop at co-ops or health food stores, are heavily exposed to these unnatural substances: More than half of the food on the typical grocery store shelves contains genetically engineered ingredients, for example, and nearly 100% of it contains pesticide residues.
One of the most eye-opening studies of the result of pesticide exposure on children was done on preschool children in Mexico and published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study compared the development of children heavily exposed to pesticides to children who were not exposed. The children exposed to elevated levels of pesticides:
- engaged in cooperative (group) play less frequently
- appeared less creative in their play
- exhibited more aggressive behavior
- became more easily upset or angry with minor corrective comments from parents
- tested lower on memorization skills
- showed less physical stamina
- had decreased hand-eye coordination
(In both areas where children were studied, mothers were generally home on a full-time basis and showed interest in their children, indicating that other factors were not a major cause of difference between the two groups.)
Research investigating the link between pesticide exposure and common health issues in children today has also shown promise for the power of organic foods as an aid in reversing damage caused by "chemical overload." According to Gabriel Cousens, MD, "Some research has shown that when [hyperactive and attention deficit diagnosed] children are put on an organic diet there is a 50% cure rate, without doing anything else." Beyond that, he says, there are supplements and superfoods that can assist with nourishing and restoring brain and nervous system functioning to normal. Detoxification of heavy metals and chemicals stored in tissues of the body of affected children, according the Cousens, also assists in helping their bodies to heal.
Children have a higher need for nutrition because they are growing. The USDA periodically publishes data on the nutritional content of food. Since the 1940's, along with the increase in chemical farming methods, the average nutritional content of fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods has been steadily declining. Thus, it is not only the presence of pesticides that makes conventional produce less desirable, it is also the distinct lack of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants in conventional produce that children require for optimal growth and development. Organic produce tests significantly higher in all four of these categories. All things considered, naturally grown food is a more nourishing choice for our next generation.
Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens, M.D.