By Stacey Whitman
With Earth Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to answer the question: Is organic food important for babies, really?
First, what you likely already know: Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that are crucial for a growing infant. But because little bodies are even more susceptible to the potential dangers of pesticides and other chemicals used to grow produce, organic food is important for babies. According to a recent report from the AAP, early life exposure to pesticides has been linked to pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems.
If you can’t afford to buy all organic food for your baby, you can significantly reduce her exposure by choosing organically grown varieties of the most pesticide-laden foods. The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list highlights the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies (their Clean 15 list calls out the least contaminated ones). To further reduce exposure, be sure to wash any nonorganic produce especially well.
The Dirty Dozen: Buy these organic foods for your baby
These are the foods most contaminated by chemicals, so be sure to choose organic varieties for your baby.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Blueberries (domestic)
The Clean 15: You don’t need to buy these organic
On a budget? You don’t need to buy organic varieties of these fruits and veggies, which have very low levels of pesticides.
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes