When talking about nutrition, and particularly one that ought to be healthy for us and our children, pesticide contaminations are an ever present topic. To know more about this topic and to see how you can protect your offspring as much as possible, you need to get informed on the topic.
What do pesticides have to do with our food?
The term pesticide (or ‘plant protecting agents) describe a broad range of chemical substances that are used to fight pests in the effort of protecting plants. Depending on the particular use, they are classified as fungicides (against certain fungi), insecticides (against insects), herbicides (against bad weeds), bactericides (against bacteria), acaricides (against spider mites) and others. In conventional agriculture, pesticides are used to protect the seeds as well as during the storage of harvested food. Greenpeace and other organisations that continuously analyze fruit and vegetables across many markets have often shown that many of the products in our supermarkets are well above the legal limits of poisonous substances.
Protecting your children against pesticides
Infants and small children are particularly at risk from pesticides. The toxins can lead to long-term health damages of the nerve and immune system. Consequently, most countries have issued strict laws that impose limits on the amounts of trace that can be found in infant and toddler food. Nevertheless, parents need to remain alert when buying fruit and vegetables, since this food group is of particular importance for the child’s growth. Greenpeace suggests that high contamination levels have often been found in tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, bell peppers and other foods. Click here for a list of the most contaminated foods. Many of the studies from the last few years conclude that a wide variety of fruit and vegetable kinds are breaching the legal levels, ranging from salads and herbs to potatoes and raspberry. In order to minimize the risk there are a few things you can do: try and buy regional and seasonal fruit and veg. For example don’t buy strawberries in winter. The reasoning behind this is that many products that are out of season need more pesticides in order to grow. You should also thoroughly wash and peel your fruit as you can remove a large amount of the toxins this way. This applies both to soft and harder shelled fruits and vegetables. It is also recommended to wash lemons and oranges before pressing them. This will help to avoid any contaminants getting into the juice. To further protect your infant you should mainly buy Bio-grade produce, which by law need to contain less pesticides, although not being 100% free of these. You should also continue buying Bio for your toddler, trying to reduce the exposure to pesticides as much and as long as possible.