Nutrition: Calcium

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Calcium is considered one of the most essential of the 16 major biochemical elements pertinent to human nutrition. Not only is it necessary for the healthy development of bones and teeth but also secretion of certain hormones, enzymes, muscle contractions, blood clotting, bone knitting and more. The old wives tale ‘a tooth for every child’ can remain a tale when a woman is able to glean the necessary calcium requirements, preferably from her diet, but sometimes also through supplementation. A child in utero will draw from its mother’s calcium stores, which can affect a woman even later in life. Therefore adequate calcium intake before conception and during pregnancy is vital not only for a healthy pregnancy but birth and postpartum also. The uterus, being a muscle, is dependent on calcium, as all muscle fibers use calcium as their main regulatory and signaling element. Labor and birth is a dance of contract and release; therefore a sufficient supply of calcium may influence the integrity of contractions in labor and the uterus’ ability to contract postpartum, hence reducing the risk of post partum hemorrhaging. Calcium is ideally acquired through a healthy well balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, quality meats and herbs. Often in pregnancy calcium is supplemented because the current modern diet just doesn't offer enough. Plant made calcium (Calcium citrate) in liquid form is much more gentle on the body and easier to assimilate than inorganic pill supplementation. Calcium is only assimilated into the body with the proper ratio of Magnesium, K2, and vitamin D. This is why foods are the ideal means of calcium supplementation. PMS, heavy periods, Charlie horses and round ligament pain are all indicative of the body needing more calcium.

Some food based sources of calcium include but are not limited to:

White Beans: 191 mg (19% DV) 1 cup

Sardines: 321 mg (32% DV) in about 7 sardines fillets

Dried Figs: 107 mg (10% DV) in 8 whole dried figs

Bok Choy: 74 mg (7% DV) 1 cup

Blackstrap Molasses: 172 mg (17% DV) 1 tablespoon

Kale: 188 mg (19% DV) 2 cups raw

Black-eyed Peas: 185 mg (18% DV) 1/2 cup

Almonds: 72 mg (7% DV) ¼ cup dry roasted (about 20 nuts)

Turnip Greens: 197 mg (20% DV) 1 cup cooked

Sesame Seeds: 88 mg (9% DV) 1 tablespoon

Carrot juice 8oz 127 mg 9.8 to 12.7 percent of the daily recommended allowance

Calcium dense juice

3 kale leaves

2 collard green leaves

Handful of parsley

3 carrots

1 apple

Push through a juicer and enjoy! One glass provides a little over 200mg of calcium and loaded with other nutrients too!

“Taking 1-2 grams of calcium by mouth each day seems to reduce pregnancy-related high blood pressure. Calcium appears to reduce the risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy by about 50%. Calcium appears to have the greatest effect in high-risk women and women with low calcium levels.” www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/781.html

Pregnant/nursing moms need anywhere from 1,000-1,500 mg of calcium daily and sometimes up to 2400mg daily

#calcium

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