Discover 6 reasons magnesium is so important and deserves your attention
- 2 Minutes Read
Learn why magnesium is important to your body, plus what high-magnesium foods you should add to your diet.
We need the all-around valuable mineral magnesium for proper blood sugar control, nerve and muscle function, and energy production. So let's take a closer look at the ways magnesium benefits your body.
Magnesium plays a role in brain health and nerve transmission and may benefit people with anxiety. A review of 18 studies found an overall benefit of magnesium intake on anxiety symptoms, although more research is needed.
If you are at risk for diabetes, choosing high-magnesium foods may be one of your best diabetes prevention strategies. People who consume more magnesium have a lower risk of diabetes than those who consume less.
In a study of people with diabetes, magnesium supplements improved insulin resistance and blood sugar control.
The healthy eating pattern known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet features foods high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Magnesium supplements have a small blood-pressure-lowering effect, yet they do not come with quite the array of protective nutrients found in a DASH diet.
Magnesium supports healthy digestion by neutralizing stomach acid and drawing water into the intestinal tract, helping soften and move stool. So, not surprisingly, you find magnesium in many antacids and laxatives.
Magnesium is important for muscle contractions (including the heart), and research indicates it may improve exercise performance.
Although some media promote high-magnesium foods to remedy muscle cramps, magnesium does not appear to help reduce muscle cramps.
Calcium isn't the only mineral that is good for your bones. Magnesium helps bone development, and half of the magnesium in your body is in your bones. People with higher magnesium intake tend to have higher bone mineral density. However, it is unclear if magnesium supplements lead to stronger bones.
The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for women ages 19-30 is 310 mg and 320 mg for women ages 31 and older. The RDA is 400 mg for men ages 19-30 and 420 mg for ages 31 and older.
Now that you know why magnesium is important, look at all the food sources for it: whole grains, bran, nuts, seeds, beans, and green vegetables-the very foods few eat often enough. So, of course, a survey of US dietary patterns found that almost half of Americans didn't get the recommended amount of magnesium from their diet.
|Pumpkin seeds||1 ounce (shelled)||166|
|Brown rice||1 cup, cooked||86|
|Cashews, dry roasted||1 ounce||74|
|Dark chocolate 70-85%||1 ounce||65|
|Oatmeal||1 cup, cooked||63|
|Yogurt, plain low fat||8 fluid ounces||42|
|Spinach||1 cup raw||24|
If you need to raise your magnesium intake, the best way is to increase high-magnesium foods in your diet. Magnesium supplements may benefit some, but they don't replace healthy, high-magnesium foods containing other valuable nutrients and health benefits. Another reason to favor food sources over a pill: magnesium supplements have potential side effects. The Upper Limit (UL) for magnesium from supplemental forms is 350 mg daily. However, this limit does not apply to magnesium you get from food sources. Excess magnesium from supplements can result in low blood pressure, diarrhea, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythm, and difficulty breathing.
Magnesium supplements can interact with some medications, so check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking them.
Magnesium is important enough that you should see if you are meeting your needs for this vital nutrient. You can start by tracking your food choices with a MyNetDiary Premium membership. Be sure to track magnesium supplements as well. Many manufacturers do not provide magnesium information, resulting in missing data. So, log staple or generic foods for the most comprehensive nutrition information.
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