Vitamin A- like other micronutrients such as folic acid, vitamin E and choline-is crucial for pregnant women and the growing baby. According to a study, it is essential for functional, morphological and ocular development, along with systemic effects on fetal skeleton and organs.
Animal sources of vitamin A such as milk are high in the nutrient. It is also rich in other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Milk helps in the development of bones and teeth of the growing baby.
2. Cod Fish Liver
The cod fish liver is a great source of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help prevent ocular diseases such as night blindness in both the mother and the foetus. It also helps in the proper vision development of the baby.
In the plant sources, vitamin A is present in the form of carotenoids (beta-carotene), a type of pigments that give fruits and vegetables their specific colours. It gets converted into retinol during digestion, a form of vitamin A. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and helps in the proper growth and development of the baby.
4. Red Palm Oil
Red palm oil is an edible oil which is naturally rich in beta-carotene. In countries where vitamin A deficiency is prevalent, red palm oil is highly consumed as a great source of the nutrient. According to a study, red palm oil contains around 500 ppm carotene, out of which, 90% is present as alpha and beta-carotene.
Cheese is another animal product rich in vitamin A1, also known as retinol. Different varieties of cheese such as blue cheese, cream cheese, feta cheese and goat cheese contain different amount of this vital nutrient. Cheese which is made from 100 per cent grass-fed animals contain the highest of vitamin A.
6. Egg Yolk
Egg yolk, not the albumin is rich in vitamin A along with other nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, folate, vitamin D and vitamin B12. It helps in baby brain development and also balances cholesterol levels in the mother.
Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A that helps in the development of healthy eyes of the foetus. Also, the antioxidant activity of the vegetable helps in controlling maternal sugar levels and preventing pregnancy complications due to oxidative stress.
8. Fish Oil
Not only is the oil extracted from the livers of cod fishes is high in vitamin A, but regular fish oils extracted from oily fish such as sardines and menhaden are also a rich source of this vital nutrient. A study says that fish oils help prevent the risk of retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disorder that may cause vision loss in children.
9. Sweet Potato
Some vegetables such as sweet potato required mashing after cooking to make them easier to digest. They make for the perfect staple food to be given to children. Orange-fleshed sweet potato is a great source of beta-carotene and may help prevent vitamin A deficiency in developing countries.
Yoghurt is abundant in vitamins (such as vitamin A) and probiotics. It helps prevent the risk of musculoskeletal and cognitive impairment in the foetus and also provides nutritional benefits to the mother.