Are You An Expert On Magnesium?
Most people have a good awareness of the importance of calcium to the body but fewer people are as well educated about magnesium. When people think “calcium” they relate it to bone strength and bone density as well as sources of calcium such as milk and dairy products, which are made from milk such as cheese and yoghurt.
What comes to mind when you hear the word magnesium?
Magnesium has a role in about 300 different metabolic processes, so you might think about osmosis between cells and the blood, the conversion of energy to power muscles, feeling calm or nervous, or even restful sleep.
Magnesium for bones
A lot of people don’t realise that of all the magnesium found in the body about half of that is stored in the bones. Magnesium and bone health are not strongly aligned in people’s minds, however, and yet, magnesium is also an essential mineral for bone health.
Magnesium is a massively under-rated mineral. It is so vitally important to the health of our body and yet it doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of emphasis and attention as some of the other vitamins and minerals. Perhaps because it is involved in so many different aspects of our healthy functioning, it is hard to convey a single simple message about magnesium, while the role of calcium can be easily simplified into “calcium for healthy bones”.
Health benefits of magnesium
Other functions that magnesium has a role in are: regulating blood pressure, maintaining the integrity of the blood vessels and heart, relief from cramping, muscle health, nerve health (including the nervous system as a whole), digestion and the management of digestive juices (which can be highly acidic) as food passes from the stomach to small intestines, and insulin resistance (diabetes). Magnesium has a calming effect on the body, which is why it is sometimes recommended for people who have trouble sleeping at night, or to relieve menstrual cramps (“period pain”). The list goes on: kidney function, altitude sickness, and a host of other conditions have the involvement of magnesium.
Sources of magnesium
If people take supplements, they most commonly take a multivitamin or B vitamins, Vitamin C and perhaps Vitamin E. Taking a magnesium supplement is not as common, and, of course, a lot of people would prefer to get their vitamins and minerals from food. If you are going to put an increasing focus on the consumption of magnesium and want to seek out good food sources to include in your daily diet as part of a healthy eating program you need to learn where to find it. Here is a list of the food types that are good sources of magnesium:
- Grains that have retained the husk
- Broccoli, spinach and other green vegetables
- Nuts, especially Brasil nuts and almonds
- Sesame seeds and oil, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Cacao (raw chocolate)
- Fresh soya beans
- Dairy products
- Mineralised water (“hard water” not carbonated)
Paying closer attention to magnesium and finding ways to add it into your diet can have tremendous health benefits, across a range of areas. The trouble and time it takes to become an expert in magnesium benefits and sources will be well worth the effort.