Why is Beta Carotene important to include in your pregnancy diet? Read why Beta Carotene is an important prenatal vitamin for a healthy pregnancy here!
Beta-carotene is an orange-red pigment commonly found in vegetables and fruits – and is essential for a healthy pregnancy diet. It’s an inactive form of Vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant and required by your body for healthy eyesight, especially night vision – all those so-called ‘old wives tales‘ about carrots helping you to see in the dark are actually true!
For your baby, Vitamin A is also important for general growth, including the development of internal organs, eyes, bones, circulation, respiratory and central nervous systems – pretty much everything in fact! It’s also worth bearing in mind that Vitamin A will help with tissue repair after the birth so is essential for mums too.
Pregnant women need around 770 mcg of Vitamin A daily – and you need even more if you’re breast-feeding. Whilst a good daily dose of Vitamin A is essential, it’s not advisable to take specific supplements as too much, ingested in its full form, can be detrimental to your baby. Beta-carotene however converts naturally into Vitamin A in your body and is not linked to any side effects – just half a cup of raw grated carrot will provide more than your recommended daily amounts.
As a general rule most yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are rich sources of beta-carotene. Top beta-carotene favourites for your healthy pregnancy are:
- Carrots (of course!) Click here for some inspiration and try new ways to include carrots in your pregnancy diet
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- It might not be orange in colour, but spinach is a good source of beta-carotene and so is kale
- Dark colourful lettuces, such as Lollo Rosso
If you’re worried about whether you’re getting enough beta carotene from your regular pregnancy diet, have a chat with your doctor or midwife.