Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 reactions in the body, including muscle movements and growth, blood pressure and blood sugar regulation as well as immune responses.
Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium is abundant in dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and wholegrain.
Magnesium per serve
Dark Chocolate, 100g - 146mg
Spinach, ½ cup - 83mg
Potato, with skin, cooked - 44-55mg
All Bran, 30g- 85-97mg
Quinoa, ½ cup- 63mg
Soybeans ¾ cup- 116mg
Tofu, 150g- 45-89mg
Lentils, ¾ cup- 52mg
Salmon, 75g- 92mg
Vegemite, 2 Tbs- 66mg
Hazelnuts, ¼ cup- 52-66mg
Peanut butter, 2 Tbsp - 52-55mg
Almonds, ¼ cup - 88-109mg
Flaxseed, 2 tbsp - 111mg
Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup - 115mg
It is important to noted that the more refined or processed bread or cereals are, the less magnesium that it will contain, for this reason always pick the most grainy breads and cereals available.
Our body is particularly clever at extracting Magnesium from our food, our gut is able to increase it’s absorption of magnesium from our food when we need it and reduce our absorption when our levels are high; this helps keep our levels nice and stable.
Diets containing greater than 40-50g of fibre per day can affect magnesium absorption, this is because magnesium binds to the phyate in high fibre foods, which prevents it from being effectively absorbed by the gut.
My favourite source of magnesium is chocolate.
Scientist have linked intense chocolate cravings to low magnesium levels, however there is a number of other reasons, one may crave chocolate so it’s always important to check with your GP before self prescribing a block of chocolate a day.
Why is it important?
Magnesium is important for bone and tooth development, with a chronic lack of magnesium often leading to bone loss and related conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
There is also a link between Asthma and Magnesium, research reports that magnesium is particularly important in facilitating smooth muscle tissue relaxation and stabilizing mast cells (the cells important for initiating the inflammatoryresponse).
Magnesium may also be helpful for those suffering from stress, anxiety, tension headaches and difficulties falling asleep, however more research is required in the area.
Finally, Magnesium can help regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Some studies suggest that low magnesium levels may worsen blood glucose control in type two diabetes and that magnesium supplementation may help with insulin resistance, but only in specific cases and should be discussed with your health professional first.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiencies
Magnesium deficiency is rare among the healthy population, as our kidneys are very effective at regulating our Magnesium levels.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness.
As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.
Do I need a Magnesium Supplement?
Before you take any magnesium supplements, it is important to check with your pharmacist or General practitioner.
Magnesium at high doses can be toxic and may cause nausea, cramps, diarrhoea, low blood pressure and general weakness and fatigue.
Furthermore, magnesium supplements can also interfere with other medications including diuretics (fluid pills), heart medications and certain types of antibiotics.
Recommended daily intake of magnesium for healthy adults
Men: 400-420mg per day
Women: 310-320mg per day
Too little or too much calcium can also affect magnesium levels, so it’s important to keep everything in balance by not over doing your intake of calcium rich foods nor forgoing them completely.
Keep alcohol intake to health levels of 2 standards per day, with two alcohol free days to avoid losing excessive amounts of magnesium in your urine and for general health.
Sprinkle flaxseed, seed mix or nuts on your cereal, to give you a boost of magnesium in the morning.
Try Meatless Monday’s- swap meat for a vegetarian alternative like tofu, lentils or chickpeas.
Two squares of dark chocolate with afternoon tea, can help with the afternoon sugar cravings plus it’s a rich source of magnesium!