Marvelous. Magnificent. Mysterious. Magical. The point is that magnesium is a health superstar and a mineral that often goes unnoticed.
Yet it plays a crucial role in keeping our bodies in good shape – it works hard for everything from your bone health to keeping the heart ticking strongly. For these reasons, it’s important that you make sure that your diet has a good hit of magnesium in it. Thankfully, everything that you need will be right there in your Good & Fugly box!
The Mighty Mineral
Just what is it about Magnesium that is so potent? It’s actually a general superstar mineral that participates in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. From energy production to muscle function and DNA synthesis, it works a little like the conductor of a symphony – it might not make a lot of noise itself, but it ensures that there isn’t a note out of place. In fact, speaking of music, it's critically involved in maintaining the rhythm of your heart! It helps regulate blood pressure, supports a healthy heartbeat, and keeps your blood vessels relaxed. With magnesium on your side, your ticker will be dancing to a healthy rhythm.
Magnesium also works hand-in-hand with calcium, ensuring optimal bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
But that’s not all for this versatile mineral. It's also a natural stress buster! This is because it has a role in maintaining a balanced nervous system and promoting relaxation. We all get stressed from time to time, but when it happens, make sure you get a good amount of magnesium into your diet. You’ll find it takes the edge off.
This all sounds great. How do I get a mega magnesium fix?
Some minerals and nutrients are hard to get into your diet, particularly if you’re a vegan or otherwise have dietary restrictions. Thankfully, magnesium is not one of those, and it is relatively easy to maintain a good balance through your normal dietary habits.
First up, the breakfast bowl is a great way to get a magnesium hit in the morning. Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds are all rich in magnesium. Toss them on top of your oatmeal or yogurt to get the day off on the right foot in tasty style.
From there, make sure you’re munching down on plenty of greens. A wide range of greens, especially the likes of spinach and kale are not only packed with vitamins but also offer a solid magnesium boost. A good salad, or sautés with some garlic makes for a quick and healthy side dish.
Legumes are another amazing and versatile source of magnesium. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are all great options, and you can easily add them to soups, stews, or even make a scrumptious hummus spread. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!
If you like your grains, then make sure you’re using whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread. Not only are these things generally better for you with the carbs than their white alternatives, but they also have an additional dose of magnesium for extra health benefits.
Over on the meats side of things, omega-3 fatty fish options like salmon, mackerel and halibut have a good hit of magnesium, making baked or grilled fish an even better option for someone looking out for their health.
And finally, you can indulge a little! Dark chocolate is delicious and filled with good antioxidants. It’s also a magnesium booster, so while you might not want to over-indulge, a little bit of decadence now and then doesn’t go astray.
You do want to avoid hypomagnesemia
A balanced diet will provide most people with sufficient magnesium, but this is one mineral that you can burn off quickly, so athletes and pregnant women in particular may need to make sure they’re taking in some extra minerals.
If you are prone to stress, there is a growing body of evidence magnesium in the body is negatively impacted by chronic stress. This means that you could be eating plenty of magnesium-rich foods, but if you are not actively managing your stress levels, you may benefit from some professional support.
Some signs that you might not be getting enough magnesium include:
- Muscle Weakness and Cramps: Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle contraction and relaxation. A deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, cramps, and spasms. You may experience involuntary muscle twitches or even muscle tremors.
- Fatigue and Weakness: Magnesium is involved in energy production at the cellular level. Inadequate magnesium can lead to reduced energy levels, causing feelings of fatigue, weakness, and decreased physical performance.
- Abnormal Heart Rhythm: As we noted above, magnesium is essential for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. A deficiency can disrupt the electrical impulses that regulate your heartbeat, potentially leading to arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), palpitations, or even cardiac arrest in severe cases.
- High Blood Pressure: Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscles lining blood vessels. Insufficient magnesium levels may contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension) and increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.
- Osteoporosis and Bone Health Issues: Magnesium works synergistically with calcium and vitamin D to maintain strong and healthy bones. Inadequate magnesium levels can interfere with calcium metabolism, potentially leading to reduced bone mineral density and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
- Mood and Mental Health Disorders: Low magnesium levels have been associated with an increased risk of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Magnesium is involved in the production and release of neurotransmitters that regulate mood and mental well-being.
- Insulin Resistance and Diabetes: Magnesium plays a role in insulin metabolism and glucose regulation. Inadequate magnesium levels may contribute to insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
If you’re in any way concerned about your magnesium intake, you should of course contact a Nutritionist (like our resident Cailie Ford, who offers a complimentary discovery call) or other medical health professional.
Magnesium may be the unsung hero of the mineral world, but its impact on your health is nothing short of extraordinary. From strengthening your bones to protecting your heart and keeping stress at bay, this magnificent mineral deserves a standing ovation. So, make sure you're incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet and let this unsung hero work its magic on your well-being!