Are you getting enough magnesium?

Are you getting enough magnesium?

Magnesium may not get as much air time, attention or notoriety as vitamin D or iron, but don’t take for granted the power this mighty mineral possesses. Research has confirmed magnesium’s crucial role it has in our bodies with important physiological functions of the brain, heart, and muscles.  It also has been found to be a key player involved in energy production, cell growth, blood pressure, and bone health.  Magnesium just about does it all.


Many of us may not be consuming a sufficient intake of magnesium which is why it is vital we understand and appreciate want this nutrient can do.  Adult women need about 310 milligrams of magnesium each day and 320 milligrams after age 30.  Pregnant women need an additional 40 milligrams. Adult men under 31 need 400 milligrams and 420 milligrams daily if they are older. Children require anywhere from 30 to 410 milligrams, depending on their age and gender.

Here’s a look at why you need to be aware of eating magnesium rich foods on a daily basis to reap the following 5 health benefits it can offer:

1.  Reducing risk of diabetes

Magnesium is emerging more and more to play a major role in the possibility of preventing type 2 diabetes.  A 2011 study conducted a meta-analysis of 13 prospective cohort studies involving over 500,000 participants did find a significant inverse dose response association between magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Another study tracked more than 85,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study for 18 years and 42,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for 12 years.  Its findings showed that participants who consumed the most magnesium (about 375 milligrams a day for women and 450 milligrams a day for men) had a 27 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who consumed the least magnesium (about 200 milligrams for women and 270 milligrams for men).  The Nurses’ Health Study also found that women who consumed more magnesium had lower levels of c-reactive protein and other signs of chronic low-level inflammation.

2.  Reducing risk of migraines

The throbbing ache of a migraine is enough to make anyone want to find a natural way to prevent another painful episode.  Researchers have found that people with migraines tend to have low brain magnesium levels during an attack and are more likely to have low magnesium levels overall.  Taking a magnesium supplement might help reduce the number of migraines in addition to eating more magnesium rich foods.

3.  Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease

Insufficient intake of magnesium appears to increase cardiovascular risk.  Magnesium is essential for the activity of the heart muscle and the nerves that initiate the heartbeat, and it also helps regulate blood pressure.  Getting in an adequate intake helps prevent arrhythmias, reduce cardiac damage from oxidative stress, keeps blood vessels healthy, prevents spasms of coronary arteries that can cause angina, and boosts HDL (good) cholesterol. 

Studies have found that people with a high dietary intake of magnesium have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.  Also people who live in homes with hard water (which is high in magnesium) have a lower coronary death rate. 

4.  Reduces inflammation

Practically every major disease from heart disease, diabetes, to cancer, is associated with uncontrolled inflammation as a part of the development of those conditions.  One factor for predisposing a person could be a magnesium deficiency for chronic inflammatory stress.  A 2014 study found that participants with a magnesium deficiency caused by not eating sufficient amounts of dietary sources of the mineral put them at a greater risk of developing chronic inflammation conducive for chronic diseases.  This is why increasing intake of magnesium rich foods like nuts, leafy greens, and bananas can be a good start to obtaining the amount you need for reducing inflammation. 

5.  Reduces depression

An inadequate intake of magnesium appears to reduce serotonin levels while taking an antidepressant has been shown to raise brain magnesium.  One study found that magnesium was as effective as tricyclic antidepressants in treating depression among people with diabetes. 

Best food sources of magnesium

Fortunately, there are many good sources of magnesium to choose from.  Each day, have several foods that are rich sources of this mineral which include the following:

·       Tofu

·       Legumes

·       Whole grains

·       Green leafy vegetables

·       Wheat bran

·       Brazil nuts

·       Soybean flour

·       Almonds

·       Cashews

·       Blackstrap molasses

·       Pumpkin and squash seeds

·       Pine nuts

·       Black walnuts

Other good dietary sources of this mineral include:

·       Peanuts

·       Whole wheat flour

·       Oat flour

·       Beet greens

·       Spinach

·       Pistachio nuts

·       Shredded wheat

·       Bran cereals

·       Oatmeal

·       Bananas

·       Baked potatoes (with skin)

·       Chocolate

·       Cocoa powder