- Heavy metals are toxic chemical elements that pose different health risks.
- These toxic products are found in different kinds of food, but also in tobacco and medical implants.
There are various heavy metals that are dangerous to health. This is particularly the case of chromium, arsenic, copper, nickel, mercury or even cadmium. These substances can contaminate us through food. Mercury is particularly present in fish and seafood. Vegetables from organic farming are also sources of copper.
Besides food, heavy metals are also contained in tobacco, dental fillings or medical implants. This exposure to toxic metals can be harmful to the body, especially in the youngest. The latter can then suffer from learning, cognitive and behavioral disorders.
In an article published in the journal MedicalPressDr. Aaron Bernstein, pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, has unveiled several recommendations for reducing children’s exposure to heavy metals.
Heavy metals: how to limit their presence in baby food?
To protect a toddler, the specialist advised the establishment of a balanced diet including a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals and lean proteins (salmon, white meat). “Eating a variety of healthy foods rich in essential nutrients can reduce exposure to toxic metals and other contaminants found in certain foods.”he explained. However, remember to wash your fruits and vegetables well before feeding them to your child.
It is also recommended to avoid milk or rice syrup which can be used as a sweetener in processed products intended for toddlers. Brown rice generally contains a significant amount of arsenic. It is also better to rinse the rice before cooking it and to drain it well after cooking.
Tap water can also contain a significant amount of heavy metals. Arsenic can be present in well water. Old pipes, on the other hand, can contain lead. To avoid the risk of poisoning, it is recommended to favor spring water for the youngest.
Dr. Aaron Bernstein also highlighted the benefits of preparing purees or compotes for your baby yourself. This good habit allows you to cook different dishes with a variety of foods. In addition, this crowds out ultra-processed products which can sometimes contain heavy metals.
“Eating too much contaminated fish can harm the development of a child’s nervous system.”warned the pediatrician before adding: “but fish is also an excellent source of protein that children need. Many fish are low in mercury. This is particularly the case with tuna (whole or in pieces), salmon, cod or even whitefish.”
If possible, the doctor also recommends breastfeeding rather than formula feeding. Finally, he recommends avoiding fruit juices, which may contain concerning levels of heavy metals.
What are the recommendations to follow at home?
It has been said: heavy metal poisoning can also be due to factors other than food. According to the Dr. Aaron Bernstein, the most common source of heavy metal exposure is peeling paint from a house. It is then recommended to replace it with new paint.
Last important point: do not smoke or vape in front of a child. Passive smoking can expose younger children to heavy metals like cadmium and lead. It is therefore advisable to leave their apartment or house to smoke a cigarette in order to protect them from the smoke.