Bake Your Bun With Calcium
Most adult women need approximately 1,000mg of calcium per day to support normal gestation. Calcium is responsible for the strength of bones and teeth, muscle activation, and nerve signaling to and from the brain. A growing fetus will get calcium from the mother to ensure sufficient amounts for development. Adequate calcium intake during pregnancy has demonstrated health benefits, including lower blood pressure and decreased risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Where to find calcium in the diet
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are the best natural sources of calcium. Dark, leafy green vegetables also have calcium, but the overall amount is lower, and the body has difficulty unbinding the mineral from the plant. Some products are fortified with calcium during processing, including cereal, bread, orange juice, and soy drinks. Incorporate these 5 high-calcium foods into the diet for a healthy pregnancy and beyond.
At 415mg per 8-oz serving, yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Yogurt is high in protein as well as calcium and can be mixed with other healthful foods like nuts, seeds, and oatmeal. Look for products that are also fortified with vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption. Yogurt is a powerhouse pregnancy food that should be on every expecting mother’s plate.
One small, 3-oz can of sardines contains a whopping 325mg of calcium. Because sardines are packed whole, most of the calcium comes from the bones of the fish. If the flavor of sardines is a turn-off, try canned salmon with the bone. Canned salmon contains less calcium per serving, but the flavor might be easier to tolerate. Oily fish is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential for the developing fetal brain.
3. Orange juice
A 6-oz glass of orange juice contains approximately 375mg of calcium. Orange juice is fortified with a highly-absorbable form of calcium. Remember that all fruit juices are high in sugar and calories, so stick to one or two servings per day, or look for brands that offer a lower sugar option.
For the vegetarian moms out there, tofu can be an excellent dietary source of calcium. Tofu is made by coagulating soymilk with salts such as calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride. One half a cup of tofu made with calcium sulfate contains 253mg of highly absorbable calcium. The use of various herbs, seasonings, marinades, and cooking methods make tofu a high-calcium and extremely versatile protein source for expecting mothers.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a tall glass of milk at 299mg of calcium per 8 fluid ounces. Mixed with chocolate syrup, poured into a calcium-fortified breakfast cereal, or cold in a glass, milk is a good source of calcium, protein, and vitamin D. Be sure to choose low-fat varieties to avoid the extra saturated fat responsible for raising harmful cholesterol levels.
Something for everyone
Calcium is an essential mineral that can be obtained from many different sources of food and drink. Expecting women have a variety of options to choose from when considering ways to increase daily calcium intake. Remember to always check with a physician before taking a calcium supplement while pregnant.