Magnesium is the fourth most important mineral to the body apart from calcium, sodium, and potassium. With the body requiring magnesium for a vast variety of bodily functions, it’s no wonder that magnesium deficiency can occur especially if one follows a low magnesium diet.
The body requires magnesium for regulating blood pressure, metabolism, produce the antioxidant glutathione, control blood sugar, improve nerve function, and release neurotransmitters to name a few.
Magnesium and the body
While research continues to explore the benefits magnesium has to one’s health, magnesium is becoming known for assisting in treating or managing asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraines, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, premenstrual tension, osteoporosis, insomnia, and more.
Many of the above conditions may be caused by a magnesium deficiency. Other signs of magnesium deficiency include chronic fatigue, anxiety or depression, or constipation. As a result, a diet rich in magnesium will go a long way to improving overall health and bodily function.
Recommended amount of magnesium in your diet
Medical experts have been known to dispute the recommended amount of magnesium per day for adults often saying that the intake should be a minimum of 500 mg per day for adults. While these debates continue, it remains clear that individual conditions and needs play a higher role in regulating magnesium daily intake.
For people with magnesium deficiency, diabetes, kidney disease, or other conditions requiring specific medications, the daily magnesium intake will be regulated by their doctor or medical practitioner. This is especially important for those with a kidney disease since their bodies are already struggling to absorb nutrients.
In the meantime, the average person can follow the recommended daily magnesium intake as per the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI):
|Magnesium Daily Intake||Person|
|400mg daily||Men 19-30|
|420mg daily||Men over 30|
|310mg daily||Women 19-30|
|320mg daily||Women over 31|
|360 mg daily||Pregnant women|
Eat natural foods rich in magnesium
Eating foods that are rich in magnesium will naturally improve your magnesium intake. Fortunately, finding magnesium rich food is not a difficult task. The following are great contributors of magnesium to your diet:
- Dark leafy green vegetables – Including baby spinach, collard greens, kale, or Swish chard, magnesium intake will improve with limited calories.
- Nuts and seeds – Besides being a source of natural fats and oils, nuts and seeds are a fast way of ensuring a sufficient daily dose of magnesium. Great sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, pine nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, and cashews.
- Legumes – Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils, and soybeans are other sources of magnesium that can be incorporated into meals.
- Fruits – Fruits are another easy source of magnesium. Avos (provide 15% of daily magnesium), bananas (medium sized banana will give 32mg of magnesium), strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit, and figs will all add magnesium to one’s diet. Throw in a bit of dark chocolate (providing 24% of daily magnesium) to turn fruit into a decadent, magnesium-packed dessert.
- Fish – By having fish once a week, one’s diet will benefit from vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. Fish rich in magnesium include mackerel, halibut, tuna, and wild salmon.
- Yogurt or kefir – Another delicious source of magnesium that provides 50mg of magnesium in a serving of one cup.
Beware of phytates and oxalates
When looking at foods to improve magnesium consumption, be aware of the amount of phytate and oxalate found in those foods. These acids are natural substances found in certain foods and when consumed, bond with the magnesium preventing its absorption. As such, the magnesium passes through the body as waste. Although these acids are needed by the body because they come with an array of other valuable nutrients, be sure to find those foods high in magnesium and low in phytates and oxalates. This will help ensure a higher magnesium absorption rate.
What to avoid or reduce in your diet
Gluten, alcohol, refined sugar, refined foods, alcohol, and coffee including decaffeinated coffee and black tea are hazardous to magnesium intake. Reducing these foods and beverages will further assist the body in magnesium absorption.
Focus on purchasing organic foods since these foods are grown in soils that are nutrient rich and not deficient or sprayed with herbicides and pesticides which deplete the magnesium found in plants.
Natural is best
Incorporating magnesium into one’s diet naturally ensures that the body receives optimal magnesium intake. With a variety of organic foods available today, the cost of a nutrient packed diet will ease migraines, reduce hormonal imbalance, relax muscles, and improve the overall quality of life.