When you’re pregnant, getting enough calcium is essential. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate more calcium in your prenatal diet.
You must get the right intake of certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients during pregnancy. These are important not just for your health but for the health of your developing baby as well. Calcium is one of the most important minerals you both need as it’s responsible for strong, healthy bones, contraction of muscle and proper functioning of hormones and enzymes. You can add more calcium in your prenatal diet to ensure that you and your baby get the right amounts.
How Does Calcium Metabolize During Pregnancy?
Naturally, during pregnancy, your body goes through a variety of changes. Those changes are important in supporting your developing baby. However, they also affect the metabolism of calcium, which means that your regular intake may not be enough. Your calcium levels become ionized, and the intestines may increasingly absorb the calcium you consume. It’s also more frequently eliminated through urination. Your growing baby’s skeleton contains around 20 to 30 grams of calcium, which makes it essential to get more calcium in your prenatal diet.
More Calcium Reduces Preeclampsia and Other Problems
A higher intake of calcium in the prenatal diet can benefit moms in addition to benefiting their babies. According to studies of pregnant women in Guatemala and Ethiopia, high levels of calcium intake resulted in a much lower risk of preeclampsia, a dangerous high blood pressure condition.
Another study performed in North India saw that two grams of elemental calcium given to pregnant women reduced their risk of developing preeclampsia by around 67 percent. This same study showed that more calcium can reduce the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight, hemorrhage after giving birth and osteoporosis.
How Can You Incorporate More Calcium in Your Prenatal Diet
You can take calcium tablets to increase your calcium intake. However, you can also add the following options to your daily diet:
- Cook rice, noodles and cereals using milk
- Add milk powder to pasta, sauces and soups
- Eat plenty of butter, sour cream and yogurt
- Eat low-fat cheese, including grated cheese you can add to your salads, soups, sandwiches, meat and veggies
- Drink a glass of cow’s milk with meals
- Add milk to your tea and coffee
- Eat snacks that include low-fat cheese
You can also enjoy some calcium-rich dishes during your pregnancy. These are not only healthy but yummy as well. Here are a few scrumptious ideas for adding more calcium in your prenatal diet:
Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in calcium. Kale actually contains more calcium than milk and is more easily absorbed into the body. You can make a delicious spinach and kale salad for lunch by adding those two greens, a chopped hardboiled egg, sliced carrots or baby carrots, cherry or grape tomatoes and cucumber with balsamic vinaigrette dressing on top.
Beans are yummy and filling, and they contain both protein and calcium. You can make a tasty barbecue bean stew as a dinner option by adding onion, carrots, celery, four garlic cloves, black beans, lima beans, kidney beans, lentils, vegetable broth, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce and chopped parsley with olive oil. It’s fast and easy to prepare as you preheat the oven to 350 degrees and heat the veggies in oil in a pot. Cook them for around eight minutes and add the beans, broth and sauces, bringing them to a boil. Place a lid on the pot and put it in the oven for around two hours. Add the parsley once it’s finished.
This is a tasty breakfast option that is made with two cups of rolled oats, one and a half cups of apple juice, a cup of Greek yogurt, half a cup of raisins and dried cranberries, a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon, two grated Granny Smith apples and one cup of toasted, chopped hazelnuts. Add the oats, yogurt, dried fruit, cinnamon and apple juice into a bowl and mix them well. Add the apple and then let the whole thing cool in the refrigerator overnight. You can add the hazelnuts and other nuts of your choice to your portion the next morning for breakfast.
Homemade strawberry frozen yogurt is the perfect snack or dessert for after dinner. You can make it using low-fat Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, one-quarter cup of icing sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey. Add the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice and then mix together with honey and yogurt before freezing for two hours. Take the mixture out of the freezer, mash it and put it back to refreeze before enjoying your snack or treat.
When you have enough calcium in your prenatal diet, you and your baby will both be better off for it.