Magnesium is a trace metal that is vital to our health. Much like many other minerals, it is often overlooked when it comes to eating healthy, and as a result, a great deal of us are deficient in it.
Magnesium, it’s not just a metal that you burn in chemistry class. No, magnesium is also a vital component required by the body, and instrumental when striving for a healthy lifestyle. The great majority of magnesium within the body is actually stored within the cells of our bones. This can make it very hard to test whether we have enough, apart from keeping an eye out for deficiency problems. The best way to ensure you are getting enough is to eat magnesium rich foods.
How much magnesium do we need?
The average adult needs to consume around 410mg daily in order to keep everything on track. The problem is, especially in the case of Western diets, we are often not consuming enough.
Examples of food high in magnesium are:
- Sesame seeds
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
There are 10 major ways in which the body benefits from magnesium rich foods, so make sure you are putting in the effort to get enough.
It helps regulate blood pressure
Magnesium is used in the body’s natural regulation of blood pressure. Not getting enough can make your body ineffective at it, and can lead to hypertension.
It improves the quality of sleep
Magnesium is used to regulate the hormone melatonin, which has a role in controlling our sleep and internal clock. Magnesium also balances stress hormones, which an abundance of can often leave use awake at night.
It helps balance mood
Serotonin, the neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation is dependent on magnesium. Without it, it is very easy to feel down, and even depressed.
Balances internal pH
Magnesium reduces lactic acid and helps bring the body’s pH into balance. The body cannot function properly when it is too acidic, and becomes much more prone to disease.
Involved in enzyme production
Magnesium is a required component in workings of hundreds of enzymes. Without it, they become much, much less efficient.
Helps produce stronger muscles
Magnesium boosts the production of IGF-1, which is the main component used by the body to develop larger and stronger muscles.
It reduces muscle soreness
Tying in with the balancing pH, the reduction of lactic acid caused by magnesium helps keep the muscles more flexible, and much less sore after exercise.
It strengthens bones
Many people believe it is calcium they require to strengthen their bones, and take supplements accordingly. What they don’t realise is that without magnesium, it is useless. Magnesium is required by the body in order to actually harness calcium properly. If you have a magnesium deficiency and are taking calcium supplements, you could actually be doing more damage than good, and even be contributing to osteoporosis!
It keeps us hydrated
Magnesium is an essential component of hydration throughout the body.
It helps treat type 2 diabetes
Magnesium boosts insulin production, which is essential to metabolism and the regulation of blood sugar levels.
The following are all signs that you may not be including enough magnesium in your diet:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Painful or sore muscles
- Regular muscle cramps
- Facial tics
- Eye twitches
- Periods of hyperactivity