Magnesium is such an essential mineral; we've dedicated a whole article to looking at why it's good for you, why you may be lacking it, and how you can be sure to get the most from your daily intake.
Without magnesium, we couldn't produce energy, our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction, and we would not be able to adjust levels of cholesterol produced and released into our blood stream. Quite impressively, magnesium ions are said to regulate over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It's a calming and anti-stress mineral, and also necessary for building body tissue ' especially bone. With so many incredible benefits, it's a wonder people neglect this important mineral in their diet.
Magnesium is naturally present in many foods, it's also added to manufactured food products, and is available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines - like antacids and laxatives. Above all, it's an abundant mineral in the human body and essential for healthy functioning.
Magnesium is needed for energy production because it activates adenosine triphosphate (ATP); helping your body regulate energy levels. It also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes; a process important for nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm. It's not called the anti-stress mineral for nothing ' magnesium is also vital for GABA production; an inhibitory neurotransmitter that produces 'happy chemicals' like serotonin. Considering that two of the most common causes of insomnia are stress and anxiety, relaxation is definitely useful on sleepless nights. It's a fantastic fix for insomnia; and the body is very good at absorbing magnesium through the skin, so a relaxing bath in Epsom salts will give you a good dose. And if that's not enough, it also helps with digestion and eases constipation.
From blood circulation to controlled blood pressure, magnesium plays an important role in the health of the heart - the highest amount of magnesium in the whole body is found in the heart so it's really important to this vital organ. Because magnesium is involved in neurotransmitter function and blood circulation, it can help control migraine pain and stabilise blood pressure.
Magnesium may be the most commonly deficient mineral in human nutrition, even though dietary sources of this nutrient abound. Low magnesium can be hard to detect, so the first step to preventing magnesium deficiency is knowing its risk factors. As most magnesium is stored in the tissues, leg cramps, foot pain, or muscle twitches can be the first sign. Other early signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Numbness, tingling, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms may occur as magnesium deficiency worsens.
Hypomagnesia is the medical term for dangerously low levels of magnesium in the body. It's typically caused by inadequate dietary magnesium or the body's inability to absorb magnesium. Your kidneys filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals as part of their normal function; but if you frequently drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol, it can cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium even before you've had a chance to absorb it.
Chronic stress depletes your body of magnesium. The more stressed you are, the greater the loss of magnesium. This is a nasty cycle of deficiency because the lower your magnesium level to begin with, the more reactive to stress you become and the higher your level of adrenalin in stressful situations. Higher adrenaline causes greater loss of magnesium from cells.
Though there are many causes of magnesium deficiency, the most common one is simply that people don't eat enough foods high in the mineral. Magnesium is part of chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants, so green leafy vegetables are particularly high in magnesium; just 2.5 cups of spinach per day are enough to satisfy the daily requirement.
It's important to keep in mind that you can have too much of a good thing. Doses less than 350 mg daily are safe for most adults, but when taken in very large amounts, magnesium is potentially unsafe. Large doses might cause magnesium build-up in the body, leading to serious side effects including diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, and even fatal coma.
Almost half of the world's healthiest foods are rated as good, very good, or excellent sources of magnesium. There are abundant, easily accessible sources of magnesium so here's little excuse not to get your quota. Spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens are considered excellent sources of the mineral. Joining them as very good sources are pumpkin seeds, turnip greens, and summer squash. Great sources for magnesium also include numerous legumes, nuts, and seeds. Top legumes for magnesium are navy beans, fermented soybeans, pinto beans, lima beans, and kidney beans. The top magnesium-rich nuts and seeds are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, and almonds. Among grains, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, and millet also rank high.
Though a few fruits are ranked as good sources of magnesium, you typically wouldn't turn to fruits, nor dairy products or meat, for your magnesium intake. Drinking-water can, surprisingly, be a rich source of magnesium; but this varies according to where the water comes from. A sure-fire way to take magnesium is through a quality oral supplement ' taken with breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's wise to avoid Magnesium Oxide because it forms a corrosive Magnesium hydroxide in the body that can burn the intestine walls. In any case, it's poorly absorbed by the body. You may wish to try Magnesium oil rubbed into the skin. Rub magnesium oil on your feet before you go to bed, especially if you have trouble falling asleep or your legs twitch at night.
Here's what to avoid if you want to keep your magnesium levels high: alcohol, refined food products, gluten, common table salt and non-organic farmed food can hinder the uptake of the magnesium mineral in your system. Prolonged stress will wreak havoc on your body, but in particular, you'll lose magnesium quickly if your emotions aren't brought back into balance. What's often overlooked is making sure your body can absorb magnesium by making sure you get the right companion vitamins and minerals. Vitamins D3, B1, selenium, vitamin E and vitamin B6 will help utilise, absorb and keep magnesium in your body.
TEN FOOD SOURCES HIGH IN MAGNESIUM
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