What is Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral vital for the proper function of your body. Magnesium is the fourth abundant mineral in your body and your body can’t work without it.
Your body can’t make it, so you need to get it from your diet you can also get it by taking supplements. The nutrient is essential for metabolic processes and many other bodily functions-from producing energy to building important proteins like DNA.
Magnesium can be found in legumes which include (clover beans, peas, lentils lupins, carob, soybeans, peanuts, tamarind), nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables. Smaller amounts are found in meat and fish.
Despite its importance almost 50% of people in Western countries in Europe plus the United States don’t get enough of this essential mineral. Low level of magnesium is linked to a number of health issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimers.
What does magnesium do in my body
We know magnesium is very important and plays a vital part in so many functions in our body, so Let’s have a look at some of its main roles.
- Magnesium helps towards healthy bones and teeth
Approximately 70% of our magnesium is stored in our bones and teeth and helps with their hardness and rigidity. This is why if you have bone or teeth concerns it is important that you increase your magnesium intake, also if you are taking a calcium supplement take a magnesium supplement alongside to help with the calcium absorption.
- Magnesium helps reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue
One of the rolls’ magnesium plays is breaking down glucose into energy. If your magnesium levels are low your energy levels may drop. Magnesium helps with energy metabolism in the body, that means that is helps create energy from the food we eat.
- Magnesium helps with normal muscle and nerve functions.
Magnesium works alongside calcium to help muscles relax. It is often recommended to help with relaxation of the muscles after exercise, help with sleep and also recommended for people who suffer with cramp. Cramp is caused by the muscles contracting and not being able to relax. Magnesium helps the muscle relax and therefore helps stop cramp.
How you can get magnesium in your diet
Food rich in magnesium include
- Pumpkin Seeds – the top food source of magnesium. Half a cup of pumpkin seeds provides nearly 100% of the daily requirements. You could sprinkle them on your cereal or snack on them throughout the day. I find it easier to get a magnesium supplement.
- Other nuts and seeds – almonds, Brazil nuts sesame seeds, peanuts and walnuts. These are also good source of magnesium.
- Fish – eating fish such as mackerel, wild salmon, halibut and tuna will add magnesium to your diet. They are also a good source of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids.
- Soybeans – these are a nutrient rich legume carrying a high amount of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Snacking on a handful of dry roasted soybeans would provide you with nearly half the necessary magnesium for the day, But personally I would rather take a magnesium supplement and have done with it, but then some people don’t like taking tablets.
- Other legumes – such as black beans, kidney beans chickpeas, black-eyed peas and lentils are also a good source of magnesium.
- Whole grains – e.g. brown rice
- Dark green leafy vegetables – such as spinach, broccoli and kale.
Why you could have low magnesium levels
It is quite common for people to have low magnesium levels. There is a number of things that could cause this.
- Gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowl syndrome, (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.
- People who are diabetics often have low magnesium
- Anyone with thyroid issues are prone to low magnesium.
- Those taking diuretics or have kidney problems may have low magnesium levels
- Other factors
- Drinking too much coffee, fizzy drinks or alcohol
- Eating too much sodium (salt)
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Excessive sweating
- Prolonged stress
- Diet lacking in nutrients
- Diet high in refined and processed foods
Getting enough magnesium is very important for keeping your body functioning optimally. It is possible to get adequate amounts of this mineral from your diet, taking a supplement may be helpful if you struggle to meet needs through food or if your deficient.
Taking a supplement and correcting has been linked to a few heath benefits, these include a low risk of conditions like heart disease and improved blood pressure, mood, and blood sugar control.
Can reduce blood pressure
Studies show that people with high blood pressure may experience improvements with this mineral.
May improve moods.
Some studies link low levels of magnesium with depression, which has led researchers to wonder whether supplementing with this mineral could help treat this condition.
May Benefit Blood Sugar Control
Magnesium plays an important role in insulin and glucose metabolism. Many people with type 2 diabetes – a condition impacting blood sugar control – are deficient in this nutrient. This is because high blood sugar or insulin levels can increase how much of this nutrient you lose through your urine.
Insulin is an important hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels, this mineral may improve insulin resistance then promote better blood sugar control – especially people with diabetes.
Though more research is needed, magnesium supplements seem to be effective at helping control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
May Reduce Heart Disease Risk.
Low levels of magnesium have been linked to an increase risk of heart disease. This maybe because low levels of this mineral could have a negative factor for heart disease like blood sugar control and blood pressure.
May Improve Migraine.
Low levels of magnesium could also be associated with migraine, a condition of intense recurring headaches.
Choosing a magnesium supplement.
When looking for a magnesium supplement, it is important to know what types of magnesium to look for some are more absorbent than others. Magnesium Citrate has been found to be significantly more absorbent than others.
Though Magnesium supplements are generally considered safe, you should check with your doctor before taking them if you have a medical condition. They maybe unsafe for people who take certain medication like diuretics or heart medication.