This post is part of the series Nutrient Spotlight... meant to explore the what, why, where, and how of important dietary players, with some culinary inspiration to get you started.
What is the most plentiful mineral in the human body? You guessed it – calcium.
What is it? // Why do I need it?
Predominantly found in the skeletal network, calcium is vital to strong bones and healthy teeth, essential in the prevention of osteoporosis, degenerative bone diseases, fractures, and age-related bone loss. It is also part of the framework that makes up our tissues, nerve cells, blood and other fluids wherein it helps promote a strong heart and circulatory system, proper muscle and nerve function, blood clotting, and the release of certain hormones.
During pregnancy, adequate maternal stores of calcium promote healthy development of fetal bones, muscles, teeth and heart. Deficiency may result in decreased maternal bone mass, tooth damage and increased osteoporosis risk later in life as the woman’s body will pull from her stores to strengthen those of the baby. Adequate maternal calcium is still important after delivery to enrich the baby through breastmilk and prevent depletion of maternal bone stores.