Calcium plays a pivotal role in our health and daily routine. It is necessary to support the musculoskeletal system, nervous system, and the circulatory system. However, for pregnant women, the amount of calcium required is more than that for non-expecting ones. The reason is that a developing baby needs calcium for its own bone, skeletal and teeth formation.
Women who do not consume sufficient amounts of calcium during pregnancy are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. In osteoporosis, the bones become weak and are susceptible to fractures. Thus, it’s important to include proper calcium-rich foods in your pregnancy diet as prescribed by your dietician or doctor.
Foods High in Calcium
Your body can’t make calcium, so you need to get it from food. Below is a list of food items that’s rich in calcium. Ensure you include it in your pregnancy nutrition diet plan.
Some dark green leafy vegetables like Collard Greens, Spinach, Kale are good sources of calcium. The calcium in spinach is bound to oxalates so is not easily absorbed as is from the other two.
Amaranth leaves are an excellent source of calcium.
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, etc
Parmesan has the highest amount of calcium. The softer the cheese, lesser the calcium.
Yogurt from toned or skimmed milk has more calcium than full fat yogurt.
Sardines, Salmon, Shrimp are good sources of calcium due to their edible bones. They also are an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids that are essential in pregnancy.
Beans and lentils
White beans, Chickpeas, Red Beans, etc are good sources of calcium. They also provide iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium, so must be included.
Almonds are especially a great source of calcium compared to other nuts. Almond milk can also be consumed for meeting calcium requirements.
Chia seeds, sesame seeds, celery seeds
Though there are many more food items to add, these are the easily available ones. Ensure you meet your calcium needs by eating from the diverse list of food items mentioned in this section. However, if you are concerned that you are not getting enough calcium, speak to a doctor or a pregnancy nutrition specialist before you make any changes.
Kanupriya is one such nutrition specialist who helps women adopt healthy eating habits during the pregnancy phase. A certified practitioner and a mother of two children herself -she can create the best pregnancy meal plan for you depending on your needs and cravings.