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Which foods are the best sources of calcium and iron

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Must-Have Minerals Calcium (the building block for bones and teeth) and iron (which helps create blood cells) are vital minerals in your diet right now. Pregnant women and nursing mothers need to consume at least 1000 mg of calcium and 30 mg of iron daily.
MUST-HAVE MINERALS You may be taking a prenatal multi-vitamin supplement, but it's essential that you get vital vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, too. This is especially true for calcium and iron, so it is important that you include good sources of these in your diet while you are pregnant and as long as you are nursing your baby.

BONE BUILDER Calcium is a vital building block for your baby's bones and teeth and helps preserve your bone strength, too. Women need a minimum of 1,000 mg daily. In the last ten weeks of pregnancy, when your baby's bones and teeth are forming, your need for calcium increases so make sure you are getting plenty in your diet. Remember, also, that the body needs vitamin D in order to absorb and use calcium, so include foods such as eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, kippers, mackerels and other tinned fish. Your body will also naturally produce Vitamin D as a result of your exposure to sunlight.

To ensure your diet contains enough calcium, include a selection of the following food servings in your regular dialy diet: they each provide 300 mg of calcium.
Try to eat four servings every day.
• About 250 ml (9 fl.oz.) of milk or 250 grams of yoghurt
• 40 grams (11/2 ounces) hard cheese
• 40 to 60 grams (11/2 to 2 ounces) cottage cheese
• 350 grams of cooked, fresh green vegetables

BLOOD BUILDER Iron helps create blood cells and prevents anaemia. When you're pregnant you need 30 mg of iron daily. It's good to get iron from natural sources in your diet, since iron supplements can cause constipation. However, many women need to take extra iron during pregnancy, because it can be difficult for the body to extract the necessary amount from food alone. Your midwife or GP will be able to determine if you have an iron deficiency and suggest a good pregnancy supplement.

Aim for at least four servings a day of these iron-rich foods:

• 125 grams of dried fruit, like apricots, raisins, or prunes (fresh prunes are good too)
• 250 grams of cooked dried beans, dried peas, or lentils
• 250 grams of dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach
• 1 slice whole-wheat bread or about 30 grams of whole-grain cereals
• about 60 grams (2 ounces) of almonds or walnuts
• about 60 grams (2 ounces) of red meat
 

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