How to keep Toxic Metals Out of Your Baby’s Diet?

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Child eating food

Baby’s diet, According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States, states that toxic metals can decrease the child’s IQ, leading to developmental and behavioural problems and it also influences their kidneys & liver.

Since their brains and organs are not completely developed, the intestinal absorption of toxic substances increases and the body weight of their diet is greater, young children are at greatest risk.

Toxic metal levels in baby foods have been found to be worrying in previous FDA and other research. Healthy Babies Bright Futures tested 168 different baby foods from 61 different manufacturers in a new survey.

They discovered that 95 percent of the baby foods tested positive for lead, 73 percent for arsenic, 75 percent for cadmium, and 32 percent for mercury. These four heavy metals were present in one-fourth of the foods.

The levels are relatively low; the issue is that these exposures vary from meal to meal, creating a significant cumulative impact.

Take Care of the Variety in Food

The lack of diversity in infants’ diet is one of the causes that exposures accumulate dangerously.

Take, for example, 4 to 6-month-olds. Many parents either feel like their babies need to eat new foods some time and they wait for some days to see if an allergy arises, or some parents still follow the outdated recommendations for perfect baby food.

The author of the book “What to Feed Your Baby,” Dr Tanya Altmann, expressed concern about the dearth of recommendations for where to begin.

The following are the most recent recommendations: “Feed your baby a variety of healthy foods early and regularly,” she said, “including all allergenic foods in a quality that the baby can absorb.” “You are not required to avoid anything but raw honey, milk, and choking hazards.”

Experts believe that incorporating variety early on will help children develop into less picky eaters as they grow older. That’s good news, as kid-friendly foods like macaroni and cheese have been added to the list of the most neurotoxic foods by Healthy Babies Bright Future.

Rice consumption should be minimised

White Rice which is a part of baby's diet.
Image by Monsterkoi from Pixabay

The report Healthy Babies listed the foods with the highest levels of heavy metal pollutants that parents can remove from their infant and child’s diet.

The top lists include rice cereal, rice-based snacks, rice rusks and rice-based puffs, teething cookies.

Report on analysis tests of 168 baby foods
Source: HBBF analysis tests of 168 baby foods by Brooks Applied Labs, Washington

The exceptionally high content of inorganic arsenic makes rice at the top of the list. Arsenic is a material that is naturally present in the soil, water, and air.  The most toxic type of grain is rice because it is cultivated in the water (submerged in water) which promotes inorganic arsenic absorption. White rice contains less arsenic than brown and wild rice since the method of milling removes the outer layer, which concentrates most arsenic.

Pick your snacks wisely

Chocolate Biscuits which are not good for baby's diet
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

According to Altmann, rice teething rusks and other teething biscuits are more akin to sugary treats with no nutritional value and are not effective at relieving a baby’s pain.

“If you’re afraid of choking, a chilled slice of melon, a frozen banana, or a peeled cucumber are all better alternatives. But, with regard to choking, I prefer a teething ring or a soft wet cloth “, Altmann states.

“This would result in a decrease in the amount of arsenic, lead, and cadmium in certain teething foods,” Houlihan, one the group members, explained.

Apart from rice-based cereals and puffs, recommended snacks include apples and bananas, cheese, strawberries, peaches, and yoghurt.

Juice can indeed be avoided 

Different fruit juices & fruits on a table.
Image by silviarita from Pixabay

 Juices are a significant source of heavy metals, not much harmful like rice products are, but because children drink too much juice.

Breast milk and formula are all that is needed for babies under the age of six months. Juice should be avoided by children under the age of one, according to the research group.

For two years old children, water and whole milk should be the drinks of choice. “A small amount of juice is good, but make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice to prevent added sugar, according to the guidelines. Serve tiny bits of real fruit instead, which is much better.”

Be Careful of What You Prepare

Parents preparing baby food in the kitchen, cutting vegetables.
Image by Werner Heiber from Pixabay

Carrots and sweet potatoes are the most contaminated foods according to the Healthy Babies report. The study says that the parent can reduce the risk of the baby by 73 percent simply by substituting food with a variety of vegetables.

The parents must serve carrots and sweet potatoes which are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, but limit the number of times serving it.  “Surely peeling helps,” adding you can remove even heavier metals if you peel a little deeper.

Another tip is to add extra water to rice during the preparation for a large family.  The FDA studies have shown that this can reduce levels of arsenic by up to 60 percent before serving. This applies in particular to families who often eat rice, and many of them serve that daily.

What’s not going to help?

Many people think that going organic would eliminate all chemical contamination from our food supply. Experts claim it helps, but not with heavy metals on specific exposures.

Organics minimise exposures to pesticides, which is a great benefit,” but when it comes to heavy metals, they are not doing anything. Both organic and conventional foods can contain heavy metals. 

That means you won’t be able to exclude heavy metals from your baby’s diet by switching to homemade purees.

“Heavy metals are so prevalent in the atmosphere that they are absorbed by crops in fields. As a result, they can be found in foods found in the produce section of the grocery store “Houlihan remarked.

That isn’t to say that preparing your own baby food isn’t a safe way to prevent pesticides and other toxins, as long as you prepare a variety of foods, according to Altmann. Before freezing, she recommended cooling the food in glass containers.

“I typically advise limiting your use of plastic,” Altmann said, particularly when dealing with hot or heated foods. That’s when we start to worry about plastic-related chemicals leaching into the baby’s food.

“I suggest steaming the vegetables, pureeing them, and freezing them in small glass containers. Then, if desired, you can pop them out and place them in larger containers.”

Related Article:

Check out – ‘How to Make a Meal Plan for 6-Month-Old Baby (upto 12-Months)

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