Magnesium is usually promoted for its health benefits — whether for muscle relaxation, sports performance, better sleep or disease prevention — but what does the science say?
Why do you need magnesium?
Each cell in your body carries magnesium and needs it to function. Some of the main roles of the mineral include,
● Muscle contraction and relaxation
● Energy production Magnesium helps convert food into energy.
● Gene repair and maintenance
● Protein production the mineral helps make proteins from amino acids.
● Bone development Magnesium is involved in the regulation of
calcium and vitamin D.
While further research is still needed, the evidence is emerging linking magnesium to relieving PMS symptoms and to preventing
migraines. It has also been linked with boosting mood in people who have depression, and improving sleep quality usually.
How much magnesium do you need?
The amount of magnesium you need varies depending on your age and gender. The recommended daily intake is 300–320mg for women and 420mg for men, which can all come from food (see right).
What foods contain magnesium?
It might shock you that plant-based food sources like grains, fruits, and vegetables typically have higher levels of magnesium than meats or dairy foods. Higher-fiber foods also tend to contain increased magnesium levels. Good sources include:
● Seeds like pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower
● Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds and peanuts
● Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and halibut
● Dark leafy green veggies such as spinach and kale
● Cooked potato
● Tofu and soy products
● Whole grains like quinoa,
buckwheat and brown rice
● Dark chocolate
Should you take supplements?
As with almost all nutrients, you can receive sufficient levels of magnesium through food consumption alone, as long as you eat a varied diet. Having said that, if you are deficient, diet supplements have been proven effective in restoring levels. Also, Keep in mind that taking magnesium supplements will provide no additional benefits to someone who already has enough levels.
A lot of research is now taking place into the role magnesium plays in various diseases, sleep cycles and sports performance.
As yet there exists no strong evidence to suggest magnesium supplements have a significant impact on sports performance, but some research supports the use of supplements to help reduce muscle cramps.
Remember too that it can be possible to have too much magnesium. While it’s unlikely this would happen through diet alone, it could happen through supplements, especially if you’re taking multiple supplements that all contain magnesium. Excessive magnesium intake can result in diarrhea, nausea, cramping and even heart problems.
The bottom line
Magnesium is a very important mineral for your body, due to its involvement in hundreds of biochemical processes.
An overall balanced diet rich in whole foods means you should meet your requirements. Supplements are usually
not required unless you are deficient, and if so, you should take them under the guidance of a healthcare professional
6 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR MAGNESIUM
These magnesium-rich foods will help you reach your daily target of 300 400mg.
Add leafy greens to your smoothies
1 Cup of Baby Spinach = 30mg
Opt for avocado or tahini instead of Butter
1tbs of Tahini = 65mg
Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over salads
30g pumpkin seeds = 160mg
Swap some red meat or chicken for legumes or fish
1 cup brown lentils = 60mg
Choose dark chocolate instead of milk or white
2 squares dark chocolate = 25mg
Eat more wholegrain foods like brown rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat
½ cup cooked brown rice = 40mg