Did you know that, as a nursing mom, you should make it a point to get plenty of calcium through your daily diet? For this reason, knowing about the top 5 calcium rich foods for every nursing mom is key. By having this information, you will be able to refine and enhance your diet so that you can get the nutrition that you need in a form that is readily absorbed and used by the body.
Don’t rely solely on supplements to get the calcium you need. Keep reading to learn about 5 calcium rich foods for every nursing mom so that you can rest assured that you will be getting the right amount of this vital nutrient every single day.
Why You Need to Get Plenty of Calcium as a Nursing Mom
Why do you even need to consider the top 5 calcium rich foods for every nursing mom? Well, Calcium is so important for breastfeeding moms, for several reasons.
Basically, large amounts of calcium are secreted into the breast milk and used to help your baby’s bones grow at that lightning quick speed that makes those tiny feet and toes grow right before your eyes.
So, if you don’t take in enough calcium through your diet to cover the needs of your baby, your body will take it from your bones[i]. And that can lead to osteoporosis later in life.
Dairy Is Not the Best Source of Calcium, Especially for Nursing Moms
I can imagine you saying, “No problem! I get plenty of milk, yogurt, and cheese daily, so I’m good!” Here’s the catch: though dairy is known as a great source of calcium, it may not be the best source for breastfeeding moms.
Why? Well, first, the calcium in milk and dairy products are not as well absorbed and utilized by our bodies as we may think. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman in his book Eat to Live, calcium is better absorbed from plant sources than from dairy sources.
Also, did you know that dairy is the number one dietary cause of colic in babies? This is according to Hillary Jacobson in her book Mother Food. These two facts combined may, at the very least, encourage you to rethink that afternoon yogurt, especially if your baby has colic.
The Best Sources of Calcium, and 5 Calcium Rich Foods for Every Nursing Mom
If milk and dairy products aren’t your best sources of calcium, what foods should you be eating? This is the fun part.
There are 5 calcium rich foods for every nursing mom that I typically recommend to help breastfeeding women boost their calcium supply. You will find the list below.
As you read through the following list, keep in mind that the recommended daily allowance of calcium for breastfeeding women is 1,000 milligrams. And, in case you want to compare my top five picks to milk, know that 1 cup of milk has about 300 milligrams of calcium. All calcium data comes from the 2012 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25.
OK, so, here’s my list of delicious 5 calcium rich foods for every nursing mom:
- Blackstrap molasses:found in the same place you’d see honey at the health food store, 1 tablespoon of blackstrap contains 20% of your daily calcium needs. It’s also a great source of iron. Drizzle it on your morning oatmeal or take it as a tea in 1 cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon.
- Collard greens: This leafy green veggie is a powerhouse of easy to absorb calcium. One cooked cup
of frozen collards contains 357 milligrams of calcium. WOW! Sautee some up with ginger, garlic, tofu (1/4 block contains 163 milligrams of calcium) and a splash of soy sauce, serve it up over brown rice and you’ve got dinner–or lunch!
- Figs: This sweet snack is often underappreciated for its nutrient value. Just 4 figs contain 124 milligrams of calcium. I don’t know about you, but I can eat 4 figs without thinking about it. Try adding them to your morning oatmeal or granola. Eat them as a midnight snack with 24 crunchy almonds. The almonds add an extra 75 milligrams of calcium! SWEET!
- Soybeans (organic): one cup of boiled soybeans has 261 milligrams of calcium. Add them to soups and stir-fries or eat them as a tasty snack. They are great add-in to your diaper bag.
- Turnip Greens:one frozen, boiled cup of this delightfully peppery green provides 249 milligrams of calcium. I like to sauté mine with onions and vegetable stock and serve them with spelt pasta and a side of mushrooms…YUM!
Going Beyond the 5 Calcium Rich Foods for Every Nursing Mom
Not thrilled with the foods in the list above? No problem! Just do what you can. And, rest assured that there are plenty of other plant-based, calcium rich foods that you can enjoy, both while you are breastfeeding and long after you are done weaning your baby off of your milk.
According to Healthline, here are a few more examples of the calcium rich foods that you can easily incorporate into your daily meal plans for yourself and your entire family:
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
See? There are loads of foods that are high in calcium and loaded with flavor. Plus, these versatile ingredients can be used in a wide variety of meals, from breakfast to dinner, so you will never get bored.
Eat Right for You and Your Baby with the Help of 5 Calcium Rich Foods for Every Nursing Mom
Now that you have a better understanding of the best 5 calcium rich foods for every nursing mom, along with the many other calcium rich foods that you can enjoy daily, you can take yet another step towards maintaining your health, as well as your growing baby’s health.