“My daughter is gluten and dairy intolerant. She is breastfeeding and her baby has dairy and soy induced colitis. What foods can my daughter eat to get her calcium needs met and can she take a calcium supplement without causing intestine problems for the baby?”
Congratulations on the new baby in the family! The good news is that there are plenty of calcium-rich foods that are dairy, soy, and gluten free.
- Vegetables that are particularly rich in calcium include broccoli, kale, bok choy, cabbage, mustard, and turnip greens, but other vegetables also contain calcium smaller amounts.
- Gluten-free grains such as teff, amaranth, and cornmeal are all good sources of calcium but other gluten-free grains also contain calcium.
- Canned fish such as sardines and salmon are good sources of calcium.
- Almonds, brazilnuts, sesame and chia seeds are all particularly high in calcium but other nuts and seeds are also good sources.
- Calcium fortified orange juice and and almond milk (or other nondairy, non-soy milks) are other good options.
With all of those options, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the recommended amount of calcium each day (1000 mg per day) without resorting to supplements. In fact, studies have found that even for breast-feeding women who are getting less than the recommended amount of calcium, taking a calcium supplement doesn’t appear to provide any benefits for mother or baby.
For those who feel that they must supplement, I advise taking only as much supplemental calcium as you need to close the gap between what you’re getting from diet and the recommended intake. Hopefully, that is 250mg or less per day. But she should obviously choose a supplement that is labeled dairy, soy, and gluten free.
See also: Best sources of calcium