Eating healthy this week: Calcium and its sources. Why you need it.

You need calcium when you're pregnant for your developing baby to build strong bones and teeth; to grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles; and to develop a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. If you don't get enough calcium in your diet when you're pregnant, your baby will draw it from your bones, which may impair your own health later on.How much calcium you needWomen over 18: 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day before, during, and after pregnancyWomen 18 and under: 1,300 mgAim for four servings of dairy products or other calcium-rich foods a day. See our list of suggestions below.Milk and other dairy products are top sources, as are canned fish and calcium-fortified foods such as cereal, juice, soy and rice beverages, and bread. Not all brands are fortified, so check the labels. 1 cup plain skim-milk yogurt: 488 mg 1 cup nonfat fruit yogurt: 345 mg 1/2 cup paneer: 337 mg 90 g sardines: 324 mg 240 ml skim milk: 301 mg 1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice: 300 mg 30 g Gruyere cheese: 287 mg 1/2 cup firm tofu: 253 mg 30 g mozzarella cheese: 222 mg 30 g cheddar cheese: 204 mg 90 g pink salmon: 181 mg 1/2 cup cooked spinach: 136 mg 1/2 cup boiled turnip greens: 98 mg 2 corn tortillas: 92 mg 1 tablespoon sesame seeds: 88 mg 20 dry roasted almonds: 75 mgShould you take a supplement?If you're taking a prenatal vitamin, it's probably providing at least 150 to 200 mg of calcium.Don't overdo it. Too much calcium can cause constipation, increase your risk of kidney stones, and hinder your body's absorption of iron and zinc from foods.Make sure your total tally from food, supplements, and water doesn't exceed 2,500 mg. Try to get your fix from natural sources as best you can.
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