The Importance of CALCIUM for FERTILITY & PREGNANCY (& plant based sources of calcium!)
Let's chat about CALCIUM & why it's ESSENTIAL when prepping for pregnancy & while you're already pregnant!
Here's the deal:
In the first trimester of pregnancy, the majority of the nutrients your baby consumes comes from your NUTRIENT STORES. Which is why I'm so big on preparing your body for pregnancy 3-6 months before getting pregnant. (Obviously that's the ideal situation. Sometimes things just happen & the planning process is non-existent! But if you are planning ahead, we might as well do everything we can to support our bodies for optimal fertility & a healthy pregnancy & postpartum experience!)
[Some of the things I walk my clients through when supporting their fertility journey is being on a fertility/pregnancy supplement protocol for 3-6 months before trying, slowly switching over their beauty & household cleaning products to non-toxic ones (Skin Essence is my FAVE for organic skin care- use code CORINNE for a discount), eating organic, adding in lots of fiber & plant foods, focusing on healthy fats, meditation & quality sleep.]
With that being said, calcium is a super important mineral to focus on when you're in the planning or pregnancy process & it's one I don't recommend in supplement form! There can be negative effects to having TOO much calcium in supplement form & it's SUPER easy to get enough through plant foods alone.
Calcium actually helps create an alkaline environment in the reproductive tract & is the nutrient that sperm soak up to support it in traveling to the egg! How freaking COOL is that!
So when we're planning for pregnancy, we definitely want to focus on calcium since it not only creates a healthy reproductive environment, but it also supports the actual conception process by helping the sperm do its job! Yesss calcium, I see you!
PLUS like I said earlier, during your first trimester, the baby is getting a lot of nutrients from your nutrient stores. So if you don't have a ton of nutrient stores available, YOU will become depleted because baby will be taking it all. This is why a lot of women experience their teeth falling out during pregnancy!!
I think we could ALL agree that we want to avoid that as much as freaking possible! Eating a calcium rich diet is the way to do that so your bones are fully supported, you have plenty of calcium for you AND plenty to give to baby.
Consuming enough calcium WHILE pregnant has also been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure that can lead to serious complications for mom & baby).
How much calcium should you consume?
The recommended amount of calcium to consume while prepping for pregnancy AND while pregnant is 1,000mg.
Why I don't consume dairy or recommend it to... well, anyone.
Okay so it's obviously no surprise that dairy has calcium. We've all been told that for years & years. We've also all been told that cow's milk is the best source of calcium.... well that's not true.
Here's why I personally do not consume dairy (& haven't since March of 2016) or recommend it.
1. Yes dairy has calcium but it ALSO has hormones, pus & potentially antibiotics.
Let me elaborate...
Cow's milk comes from a cow that was pregnant. Just like humans, cow's have natural hormones- estrogen being one of them. SO when you consume dairy, you're also consuming the natural estrogen from the cow. The estrogen you consume from dairy is of course not the same as our own production of estrogen so it causes havoc on our system.
The cow's estrogen will attach onto our hormone receptors (the "home" our hormones go to, to do their job) leaving our OWN ESTROGEN to float around our blood stream causing excess estrogen that can turn into: HEAVY PERIODS, CRAMPING, MIGRAINES, IRREGULAR PERIODS/ OVULATION, ACNE & PMS.
No. freaking. thank you.
Dairy also INFLAMES your GUT which can cause a whole mess of issues since your gut is the center of your health. Your gut is responsible for ABSORBING NUTRIENTS that PRODUCE certain hormones & it's responsible for ELIMINATING EXCESS HORMONES out of the body through poop.
It also houses 70-80% of your immune system, it's where we produce up to 80-90% of our serotonin & it's directly connected to our brain via the vagus nerve.
If we’re inflaming our gut with dairy, it will have negative affects on our hormones (on top of the negative affects of consuming the estrogen from the cow) and cause tons of imbalances.
Dairy has antibiotics?
Because of the horrible conditions a lot of cows are under, they will be given antibiotics to prevent infection from their horrific living conditions. If the cow is taking antibiotics, it's coming out through the milk & going into your system.
(not all cows are given antibiotics, organic milk won't have antibiotics in them)
Many cows are now made to produce such extreme amounts of milk faster & faster & faster. Faster production= more milk= more milk sold= more money. That's just the reality of the business.
This high amount of milk production of course causes a stress on the cow's body which can lead to them often suffering from a condition called mastitis. Mastitis is a painful condition for cows that causes inflammation of the mammary glands & udder tissues.
In response to this, the cow’s immune system pumps out somatic cells which are composed largely of inflammatory immune cells that form pus. The USDA reports that 1 in 6 dairy cows suffer from Mastitis & that there are approximately 1,120,000 somatic cells per spoonful of cows milk. AKA pus.
I mean..... disgusting IMO.
Of course, you do you & what's best for you & your life! But for me personally & what I recommend, dairy is a no go. (side note: it doesn't have to be all or nothing. It can be something you reduce over time or something you have once in a blue moon. Whatever is best for you)
Plant Based Sources of Calcium (I always recommend organic as much as possible. See the dirty 12 list on ewg.org)
dark leafy greens (kale, arugula, collard greens)
SO many amazing plant based calcium sources you can focus on adding into your daily meals! I hope this was helpful for you!
As always, trust the process & Mind Your Hormones,
Check out the book 72 Reasons to be Vegan for more info on all of this & sources of research.
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