When you’re pregnant, your body needs larger amounts of vitamins and minerals to support the growing fetus. Calcium is particularly important for moms-to-be. This mineral helps build strong bones and teeth, promotes cardiovascular health, and regulates blood clotting in your unborn child. If your diet is low in calcium, the fetus will draw it from your bones, which may affect your health.
The Benefits of Calcium for Moms-to-Be
Calcium plays a key role in pregnancy. Even the slightest deficiency can affect your health as well as the development of your unborn child. Research shows that calcium supplementation may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and infant mortality. The recommended daily allowance of calcium for pregnant women is 1.5 to 2 grams, divided into three doses.
During pregnancy, this mineral helps build the baby’s bones, nerves, muscles, and teeth. It also regulates his heart rhythm and keeps his muscular, circulatory, and nervous systems functioning at their peak. However, too much calcium can increase your risk of kidney stones and block the absorption of zinc and iron. Thus, you should track your daily calcium intake and stick to the recommended dose.
How to Get More Calcium in Your Diet
From eating dairy foods to taking supplements, there are plenty of ways to boost your calcium intake. This mineral can be found in milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified cereals, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, sardines, and tofu. If you’re a vegan, eat greens and cruciferous veggies to get more calcium in your diet.
With so many options available, it should be easy to meet your daily calcium requirements. The key is to diversify your meals and choose foods that are naturally rich in calcium. For instance, one serving of salmon provides 23 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium. White beans contain 19 percent of the daily recommended allowance. Sardines deliver 32 percent of the daily recommended dose of calcium.
This mineral is also found in dried figs, bok choy, kale, almonds, oranges, turnip greens, sesame seeds, and seaweed. Additionally, many foods available in stores are enriched with calcium. These include instant oatmeal, orange juice, whole grains, soy milk, and tofu. If you’re on the paleo diet, stick to vegetables, nuts, and fruit. Calcium supplements can make it easier to get this mineral into your diet. Choose a trusted brand that provides at least 500 milligrams of calcium per serving. Keep in mind that calcium citrate has the highest absorption rate.