The topic of calcium comes up often as a question when I am counselling expectant parents or teaching group classes. Most people are aware that it is important to get calcium for strong bones and teeth. But did you know that calcium also plays an important role in maintaining healthy heartbeat, normal blood pressure, healthy nerves and muscles?
7 interesting facts on calcium:
- Your body can’t make calcium, so you need to get it from food and your prenatal supplement.
- Pregnant individuals between 14-18 years of age need 1300 mg each day
- Pregnant individuals between 19-50 years of age need 1000 mg each day
- Your body gets more efficient at absorbing the calcium you consume during pregnancy because your body needs to transfer high amount of this calcium to the fetus. So what happens if you do not get enough calcium? Your body will do anything to get your baby what it needs, which means taking away some of the calcium from your own bones, especially in the third trimester! This will in turn decrease your own bone density. Not good in the long run.
- If you are breastfeeding multiple infants (for example twins or triplets), it is recommended to increase your calcium intake because of increased milk production.
- Vitamin D is great help with calcium absorption in your body. Include foods that are rich in vitamin D in your diet.
- Excellent sources of calcium are found in the milk and alternative food group: milk, cheese, yogurt, Kefir, evaporated milk, Calcium fortified rice/soy/almond beverage. Can’t stand milk? Lactose Intolerant? You can still get enough calcium from non-dairy sources.
- Some other good sources of calcium include: broccoli, bok choy, kale, okra, juice fortified with calcium, fish with bones such as canned sardines, tofu, sesame seeds, almond and beans.
- Limit your caffeine! Caffeine found in coffee, tea, pop, chocolate, decreases the amount of calcium absorbed by your body.