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Q – What mineral is used for making cement, as well as cheese? In the average person, it weighs about three pounds(!?) And, is the fifth most abundant element in the earth's crust?
A – Calcium
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This week, a short series about this incredibly important mineral
A few other fun facts:
It makes up just over 3% of the soil, air, and oceans
Calcium salts are used to produce a deep orange color in fireworks
The reason doctors can take pictures of our bones is because of calcium. It doesn't let certain energy (x-rays) through, and thus will appear bright white on film
Even though calcium was known for thousands of years prior, it wasn't purified and identified as an element until 1808 by Sir Humphrey Davy of England
Calcium makes up the hard outer structure of the bones in our bodies and gives them their strength. The insides of our bones are actually very spongy and full of holes, which makes them really light
“I get by with a little help from my friends” ~ The Beatles
I'm forever amazed by the interrelationship, and interdependence, between the nutrients in our bodies
Calcium and Magnesium
When we think of calcium, we must also consider magnesium, as they're a partnership, working in concert together in our bodies. Calcium needs magnesium to be absorbed.
If we take a step back and look at the standard American diet, it's really quite heavy in calcium, with very little magnesium. For example, animal foods tend to be higher in calcium, while many other products are being fortified during the manufacturing process
Magnesium, on the other hand, comes from foods that are rich in chlorophyll (essentially anything green)
Certainly, you don't have to take up salads for breakfast, but it's something to tuck away in the back of your mind. If you're someone who enjoys yogurt, consider sipping a glass of herbal tea, as it will help the calcium be better utilized.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Our bodies are always monitoring the levels of calcium in the blood. When levels are too low, we stimulate the hormone parathyroid. It goes to the bones and withdraws some calcium to put into circulation
When our calcium levels are too high, the hormone calcitonin is called upon to remove the excess and deposit it back into our bones
What does all of this have to do with Vitamin D?
It's critical here, and it acts as a hormone itself.
A facilitator really, between the parathyroid and calcitonin hormones, supporting calcium flow, in whichever way it needs to go — going to the bone? Vitamin D will help get it there. Going to the bloodstream?
Vitamin D will lead the way
How does Calcium help our bodies?
Not only is magnesium a helper when it comes to calcium absorption, but they team up to do other great things as well. One example is their effect on bone integrity.
They are also the stimulators of nerve and muscle contraction. Calcium stimulates the contraction, while magnesium stimulates the relaxation, particularly critical for functions like our heartbeats(!)
(If someone has more muscle strain, pain, spasms, or twitching, particularly at night, it could be an indication that their diet is low in magnesium)
Calcium also provides structure. Ninety percent of our calcium in our bodies is found in our teeth and bones. The remainder is spread throughout our hair, nails, skin, tissue, and bodily fluids.
Hormone production uses calcium
Calcium is a very alkaline buffering mineral. Think again about the standard American diet, by and large it's acidic. Calcium can help to counter some of these effects
It is also very important when it comes to blood clotting, and helping to maintain our nervous systems (especially neurotransmitter release). Another nugget to tuck away for the times you're under mental or emotional stress, your need for calcium will be significantly
What happens when there's an imbalance of calcium or magnesium in our body? Are there other things we can do to help it be absorbed? What about supplementation?
Over the years I've certainly made my share of roasted veggies, but these, with a crust of parmesan and thyme, are simply amazing
A wonderful balance of sweet, herbal, and savory, with a crispy outside, and creamy center. The bottoms of the rounds took on a dark caramelization from the baking pan.
They're quick to throw together, and end up with such a fabulous texture.
Loved this recipe. It was very simple but perfect
ps: You can read more about Calcium in Part II | Part III of the series
Calcium Trivia via Soft Schools.com and Science Kids
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~ Adapted from Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez
Thyme Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼" coins
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted but not hot (or olive oil)
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450° F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large plastic bag, toss the sweet potato coins in the corn starch to coat. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl, drizzle the oil and toss to coat.
- Add the thyme, salt, parmesan and a few grinds of black pepper and give it a couple more stirs to coat.
- Transfer the coins to the parchment-lined tray and bake for 30-45 minutes, flipping halfway through so both sides get nice and crisp.
- Serve with BBQ sauce, ranch dressing or dip of choice.
Looks so simple to make! And yummy!
These look so yummy, I pinned them for when I’m off my diet! I crave sweet potato ALL THE TIME. Can’t wait to try!
Sweet potatoes are my fave and these look delicious and easy! Thanks for sharing!
This post reminded me that my Calcium+Magnesium+Zinc tablets have ran out… 3 weeks ago, high time to refill! I do take Vit D regularly, but it’s important to note – you can actually overdose Vit D if you intake too many supplements, so don’t go overboard with it. In regards to the recipe – I’ve did a similar thing a few times, just never with parmesan, need to give this one a go!
I honestly did not know anything about calcium before this post so thanks for that lol and these sweet potatoes sound SO GOOD!
Yes the recipe does look delicious. Your recipes always do. But I really liked the talk about Calcium. Maybe it’s cause I’m a guy but I do think that it’s cool that the burnt orange from fireworks is produced by the calcium salts. I never knew that. I knew magnesium was the really bright flashes. But its nice to learn new things.
This is really interesting. I hadn’t realised the relationship between calcium and magnesium, or the magnitude of effects it has on the body. I’m going to have to give those potatoes a go too, they look scumptious 😉
That’s awesome how the nutrients come together to help our bodies function properly. I think this is a lovely recipe! Perfect as snack during movie night or as part of the dishes that you serve in a dinner party!
I never knew that Calcium was not recognized as a mineral until 1808 or that it is the 5th most abundant element in the Earths crust. I know that I need to increase my calcium intake so Parmesan sweet potatoes would be a joy to devour right now x
Your post actually reminded me that I should go get some calcium, as it was about time I’d starting taking it again. You see, my body doesn’t assimilate calcium from food and because of it my bones are really weak. Unfortunately I can’t enjoy the benefits of natural calcium, I always need to take my dose from pills.
I think that I lack magnesium in my food, probably calcium as well because I do not have dairy products in my junk food. I have to change that and start eating healthy!
this is a great recipe! can’t wait to make it :p:p okay I’m kidding
so I’m guessing this is like an hours worth to get this all done? because if thats the case i might have to add other things like a chicken breast or sth because it will go well with the roasted sweet potatoes . as for the vitamin d i guess i stock up from the sun but good to know about the tea with yoghurt
A fun fact and a great one to learn that you find calcium in cement, I would of never of known. And what better way to digest that information with your tasty thyme parmesan roasted sweet potatos.
I thought calcium before I saw the answer, yaaaaayyyy. I think I need to try and up my calcium intake I don’t really drink much cows milk so try and get it from alternative sources. This sweet potato recipe looks and sounds like it would be tasty. I do love sweet potatoes and the addition of the cheese and herb would make for a tasty dish.
Each time visiting your website it really make me hungry! ;-)) Hopefully, I’m after dinner now. Valuable content, a lot of inspirations! Just LOVE your website!
So yummy. You have great photos here and so nice of you that you shared this. Is that a family recipe?
This looks delicious! I like the use if coconut oil in the recipe, it really goes well with sweet potatoes.
Yummy..bookmarked your post!! I love cows milk..hence, definitely roasted sweet potatoes will be my recipe as well!
I enjoy eating sweet potatoes in different variations. Thanks for providing yet another. Great post.
I had no idea about the calcium and magnesium relationship but that’s good to know! I have heard that there’s not as much magnesium in the soil in North America as in Europe though. I do love the look of these, I’ve started to eat more sweet potatoes lately instead of regular old potatoes and anything with Parmesan and thyme is good by me!
These look positively delicious! I can’t wait to try them out with the family. Added to our weekly meal plan.
I always wonder how calcium and magnesium relate to each other. It’s great to know it and you explained it really good while presenting a healthy and delicious recipe. Sweet potato and thyme certainly a superb combination.
Wow I can’t wait to try this recipe I’m a sucker for good food (especially sweet potatoes). Can’t wait to make this as an appetizer for a dinner party we’re hosting this weekend! x
My sister had her thyroid gland removed and since then, she’s been taking mega-doses of Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium. She suffers from nerve pain and numbness in different parts of her body. I know it would be best for her to source her minerals from food she eats. I will share this post with her.
I wasn’t aware that it was due to calcium that our we get to see our bones clearly in xrays! This reminded me of my calcium supplements, makes sense why it has other minerals – so that it can be absorbed better in our bodies. Your recipe looks easy and something my daughter would love!
This is so interesting and informative! Aside from how delicious this recipe sounds the information about calcium is fascinating and a great help going forward in eating for my health.
These honestly look so good – sweet potato is my jam! This has been bookmarked for future reference – it needs to be made when I have the motivation to give it a go! x
Lots of love,
Marina Rosie xx
From the air we breathe to the earth’s crust to cement and cheese…I never knew how versatile calcium really is. Is the sweet potato recipe at all linked to calcium?
I take supplements for calcium and magnesium, but there’s a lack of a vitamin d up here in the north! We love sweet potatoes, never had them this way though!
Alison, I’m just curious why you didn’t give your post an seo relevant title on Calcium? I learned a lot more on Calcium than on the recipe on this post; including all its benefits and the fact that it is what holds cement together… Fascinating topic!
I have a big old kidney stone just hanging out in a duct in there, so I am not supposed to have any added calcium to my diet. I do have to admit that it has me worried for when I get older, but the stone is huge and won’t pass on it’s own and I would rather break a hip than have to have surgery to get the stone out…..
I love sweet potatoes and this post makes me grin. Glad I see another recipe for sweet potatoes. Good points about calcium and magnesium too.
I am obsessed with sweet potatoes. I am going to give this a try for sure! We have some fresh thyme growing right now that would be perfect!
I started taking magnesium when I started running, it’s been so helpful. And those roasted sweet potatoes look divine!