Health Pregnancy

Pregnancy and Food Additives

When we discover we are pregnant, the foods we eat take on significance like never before. In addition to making changes in your diet to include a variety of healthy foods, consider what is in the foods you eat. Here is some information on Pesticides and Food Additives...
by Patricia Hughes
  
pregnant women eating a healthy snackWhen we discover we are pregnant, the foods we eat take on significance like never before. In addition to making changes in your diet to include a variety of healthy foods, consider what is in the foods you eat. Two potential issues are pesticides used in growing foods and artificial additives.
 

Pesticides in Food:

Many studies have demonstrated the danger of pesticide exposure on the fetus. Some of these studies looked at people that handle pesticides in their work, such as exterminators and farmers. A study in California found that mothers who live or work in agricultural areas of the state had an increased risk of having children born with defects of the limbs. Other studies have shown an increase in cleft palate and other birth defects with pesticide exposure.
 
Other studies have linked exposure to pesticides with health problems such as an increase in childhood cancer, neurological disorders and hormone disruption. For more information on these studies: http://www.kidsforsavingearth.org/mnchec/articles/pesticides.htm. The studies have shown that the risk increases according to exposure. If the child is exposed to pesticides through food, in sprays and pest control products used in the home and in the community, the risk would be higher. For this reason, it is best to reduce or eliminate exposure to pesticides both during pregnancy and after the baby is born.
 
There are two potential sources of concern regarding pesticides: food and products intended to eradicate pests in the home or on the lawn. The best way to avoid exposure to pesticides in the home is not to use them. Skip the exterminator and pesticides for the lawn. Organic products can be used in the case of an infestation when no other method of eradication will work.
 
The easiest way to avoid pesticides in food is to buy organic produce whenever possible. This is most important for foods that contain higher levels of pesticides such as apples, grapes, pears, green beans, spinach, berries and squash. Foods that are not organic should be washed and peeled prior to eating to reduce your exposure to pesticides. For more information on pesticide residues: http://www.consumersunion.org/food/do_you_know2.htm
 

Food Additives:

The modern diet includes a mind boggling number of artificial flavorings, colors, preservatives and other food additives. There is research to suggest that this is not healthy for any of us, but especially developing babies and young children. One of the best things you can do for your baby is to minimize the number of additives in your daily diet.
 
Graduate students at the University of Florida conducted a research study of peer reviewed literature related to the issue of food additives and learning disabilities. This was done in an attempt to explain the dramatic increase in the number of students receiving special education services over the past thirty years. One of the correlating factors the students found was food additives and artificial coloring.
 
According to the research, children that are exposed to a mix of artificial flavors and colors in food showed an increase in behaviors associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Their conclusion is that the problem begins in the womb. The brain of the developing baby is growing by 4,000 cells per second beginning in the fourth week of pregnancy. Chemicals in our foods can interrupt the optimal development of these cells. You can learn more here:  http://www.chem-tox.com/pregnancy/learning_disabilities.htm
 
Biography
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.

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