Cod Liver Oil: A Healthy Natural Supplement for Pregnancy
(image via Sounding on Flickr)
Two essential vitamins that are often missing in the diets of pregnant women are Vitamin A and Vitamin D. These vitamins are not assimilated well by the body from unnatural sources such as powders or pills, so it is very important to get them from dietary sources. There is one wonderful way for pregnant women to add these vitamins to their diet: cod liver oil.
Why You Need These Vitamins
There is no shortage of myths about Vitamin A during pregnancy. The truth is that it is very difficult to “overdose” on this essential nutrient when it comes from dietary sources. Rare instances of Vitamin A overdoses only occur when it comes from synthetic sources like pills or certain anti-acne medications which are hard on both the skin and the body. If you simply avoid supplements and multivitamins and instead eat the optimal pregnancy diet to get the necessary nutrients during pregnancy, Vitamin A overdose is not a concern. You should be very careful to obtain enough Vitamin A during from your diet pregnancy because Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to certain birth defects.
Another essential vitamin during pregnancy is Vitamin D. Studies have shown that it is essential for optimal organ and bone development and overall growth in developing fetuses. Besides being essential for fetuses and breastfed babies, Vitamin D is also a mood regulator for pregnant and nursing women (and pretty much everyone else!). People who don’t get enough Vitamin D are at an increased risk for developing depression both during and after pregnancy. Vitamin D is abundant in raw dairy products, but since most women don’t have access to these products they might find it difficult to locate a good source of this essential nutrient during pregnancy.
How Cod Liver Oil Helps
Liver is extremely high in many vitamins, particularly Vitamins A and D, making it an excellent way to obtain those vitamins in your diet. The absolute best way to get these vitamins is in the form of whole foods like animal organ meats and raw dairy products. If you have trouble finding these foods or if you are feeling too nauseated to eat as much as you should in early pregnancy, you can consider adding cod liver oil to your diet.
The best way to take cod liver oil is to mix it with a high quality butter oil like the one recommended in
Cod liver oil is available at your local health food store or supplement shop, but this oil is likely to have been subjected to harsh refining which strips away the Vitamin D. Vitamin D is then often added back in, but this artificial form of the vitamin is not beneficial to your body at all. Some of the commercially available cod liver oil from companies such as Nordic Naturals can bring some Vitamin A and other essential nutrients to your diet, but for a healthy boost of Vitamin D you need a more naturally-extracted oil.
Most importantly, your body knows what it needs if you just listen to it. Some days, particularly when your baby is experiencing a growth spurt, you will end up eating more than others. The key is to let go of any pre-conceived ideas of what your pregnancy diet should look like, and you’ll be able to eat healthfully for you and your baby every day.
To find out more about what you should be eating during pregnancy to get the best pregnancy diet and give your child the best possible odds in life, check out Healing Our Children. This book talks about all sorts of different natural, whole, organic foods that you may not be aware of but that can help get your child off to the best start in life.