To most of us, we’re not usually aware on the benefits of calcium for pregnant moms. After all, we’re more likely to be caught up with other pressing matters, such as the risk of running into certain diseases such as gestational diabetes or making drastic lifestyle changes for the sake of good health.
The fact is, maintaining your calcium levels becomes just as important as you’re carrying a baby. Not only do you reap the benefits of strong bones and a proper heart rhythm, but so does your unborn child as well. Hence, here are just five best food sources that are rich in calcium and can keep you properly nourished throughout your pregnancy.
Due to contrary belief, plain yogurt actually provides more calcium than regular milk, as well as a wide variety of health benefits. Not only does yogurt help to build strong and healthy bones for both mother and unborn child, but recent studies have shown that it helps to prevent complications in pregnancy such as preeclampsia and inflammation.
Yogurt is also a rich source of essential nutrients, such as protein, B vitamins and zinc, which are just as important in the upkeep of good health. Just be sure to opt for pasteurized yogurt, as there’s lesser risk of running into harmful bacteria that can affect your pregnancy!
Recipe tip: Yogurt can be easily combined with your favorite fruits and vegetables in a blender to produce a easy yet tasty smoothie!
While little in size, many types of seeds actually pack a surprisingly large amount of calcium, especially poppy seeds as they contain 13% of the recommended daily intake in just a tablespoon. Not only that, they’re also rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, as well as other nutrients that can help in reducing the risk of heart disease.
A recent article has also shown that eating sunflower seeds while pregnant helps to regulate your body’s sodium levels and keep your blood pressure level down, as well as improving your immune system to allow your body to be more acceptive of the growing fetus in your belly.
Recipe tip: Sprinkle chia seeds on your salad or breakfast cereal to give you that added flavor and boost to your calcium levels.
3. Soy Milk
For those who’ve grown a dislike for dairy or are simply lactose intolerant, soy milk can prove to be a great alternative for calcium. It provides about 30% of the recommended daily intake in just one tall glass. Compared to a glass of fresh cow’s milk, the plant-based soy milk can be a healthier option for pregnant mothers looking to cut down on saturated sugars and fats.
Make sure to pick fortified soy milk over others, as these brands are known to contain more calcium than their counterparts. However, for those suffering from thyroid disease or allergic to soy should probably steer clear away from it to avoid further complications with their current condition.
Recipe tip: Soy milk can usually substitute regular milk in baking purposes, as it has the same amount of protein levels and slightly less fat than its counterpart.
Not only is tofu an abundant supply of calcium, with 4 ounces providing 10% of the recommended daily intake, it’s also jam-packed with other nutrients that can help your body cope with the additional weight of carrying your unborn child as well. Tofu contains copper and iron, which helps you produce energy in your body, as well as selenium to fight off cancer cells.
For pregnant ladies who suddenly find themselves repulsed by fish, tofu can serve as a potential substitute for a source of omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown that these fatty acids are important in the brain development and growth in unborn infants, as a deficiency has been linked to low intelligence, poor eyesight and a higher risk of health complications later in life.
Recipe tip: Tofu can serve as a viable replacement for meat, fish and seafood. It also soaks up spices and herbs quite well, which increases its versatility as a cooking ingredient
5. Green Leafy Vegetables
Here’s the reason why your parents often force second servings of green vegetables onto your plate. Not only they’re incredibly nutritious, they’re usually filled with high levels of calcium. A cup of collard greens or kale can easily provide you a quarter of your recommended daily intake.
Green leafy vegetables are also rich in beta carotene, which is basically an inactive form of vitamin A that pregnant mothers need to help their unborn baby to build up a strong immune system. Articles have shown that unlike the latter, consuming beta carotene in moderate quantities will not cause any negative side effects.
Recipe tip: Salads are often the easiest way to add green leafy vegetables into your diet, but make sure to wash them thoroughly when you’re preparing them!
Has this article given you a few ideas on your next calcium-rich meal? The daily recommended amount of calcium for pregnant women is at 1,000 mg, which can be easily reached with proper meals. There’s no need to worry as calcium is surprisingly abundant in our food supply, even a small cup of yogurt packs a whopping 300 mg of calcium for your needs.
However, if you’re still uncertain and are looking for expert advice for your body nutrition, why not hire a nutritionist for your own needs? They’ll be able to plan your meals and ensure that you and your unborn baby will be properly nourished. Luckily for you, we have them right here at CaregiverAsia!
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