You read up on nutrition and know that certain foods and ingredients can increase the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) in children, but do you know about the safety of ordinary fruits and vegetables?
by Wayne Kalyn
Parents raising children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) already have lengthy to-do lists: shuttling their children to doctor’s appointments, monitoring medication, worrying about this, coordinating that.
Not to mention your part-time job as a food police officer. You are probably already reading food labels for dyes and preservatives in processed foods -- whether on the side of a cereal box or on that package of cookies with rainbow sprinkles -- that may increase hyperactivity in your child. Now you need to be as vigilant about, of all things, fruits and vegetables.
Recent research conducted at the University of Montreal and at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Medical Center suggests that exposure to high levels of organophosphate pesticides, commonly found on berries, celery, and other produce, could raise the odds for ADD/ADHD in children. The chemical affects nervous system enzymes as well as levels of growth factors and neurotransmitters in the brain.
What to do? Washing fruits and vegetables removes some of the pesticide residue, as does peeling. Some offerings in the produce aisle are bigger culprits than others: Celery, strawberries, apples, and blueberries are more likely to have organophosphate residue than, say, corn, peas, kiwi, and bananas. Switch to organically grown versions of these pesticide-prone fruits and veggies, and -- just as you do when shampooing your hair -- wash, rinse, repeat.
You can get a list of the best and worst fruits and vegetables for pesticide residue from the Environmental Working Group. Clip it to your shopping list and consult it when you’re in the produce section.
A parent’s job is never done, is it?