Everybody knows that magnesium is an important mineral for the body, but do you know why your body needs magnesium and which food sources provide magnesium or which factors deplete your body’s stores of magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral for your body: it is important to maintain healthy nerves and strong muscles. Also, your body uses it for many different metabolic processes, keeping the immune function and bones strong as well as maintaining heathy heart rhythms.
Possible symptoms, which may be telling you that you may be magnesium deficient:
- General fatigue, exhaustion and weakness in the body
- Lightheaded or feeling dizzy
- Difficulty swallowing
- Fuzzy memory, impaired cognitive activity and confusion
- Heightened anxiety and stress
- Trouble sleeping
- High blood pressure
- Body tremors
- Frequent or severe muscle cramping
- Other flags include: a deficiency of calcium, lyme disease, impaired heart health, type II diabetes, difficulty breathing & respiratory diseases and potassium deficiencies
How much do we need and where do we get it?
Dietary recommendations vary depending on age, gender and body weight, but generalized recommendation for adults are:
- Women 310 mg per day minimum
- Men 400 mg per day minimum
Which foods are excellent sources for magnesium?
- Dark leafy greens (kale, collards, mustard greens, watercress, etc.) twice daily or better three times daily — approximately 2 cups total or more
- One or several tablespoons of pumpkinseeds, sunflower seeds or sesame seeds daily or often
- Whole grains, soaked and cooked at two meals per day — moderate amounts
- Beans once or twice per day — moderate amounts
- Nuts such as almonds, peanuts and cashews
- Sea vegetables such as wakame/alaria, kombu/kelp, nori/laver, dulse and others
Foods and Factors that deplete our magnesium stores in the body:
Minimizing these factors will work in your body’s favor.
- Foods that are grown in depleted soils (most commercial non-organic vegetables are lacking magnesium)
- Anti-acids, cortisone, and many other pharmaceutical drugs including birth control pills
- Coffee, alcohol, black teas, sodas, etc.
- Sugar: for every molecule of sugar our body needs 54 molecules of magnesium to process it — and this is not only white sugar, but other strong sweeteners including honey, maple syrup, tropical fruits and white flour products
- Stress is a huge factor in depleting magnesium
- Excess estrogen in the body
- Oxalic acids found in spinach, beets/beet greens and swiss chard
- Too much exercising can deplete magnesium via perspiration
- Heavy metal toxicity
If you are experiencing any or several of the symptoms listed above on a regular basis, you may not be getting enough magnesium in your diet. Deficiency can result in more serious problems over time, so it is important to take corrective action especially via dietary adjustments.
In cases of severe deficiency a supplement may be taken until the condition improves. However supplements are best taken in intervals of several days per week with at least one or two day rest periods during each week, so that the body’s own ability to absorb magnesium from food sources does not atrophy.