You may know the calorie, sugar and fat content (more or less) of your most-munched-on meals and think this is enough to eat nutritiously, but have you ever eaten food for its magnesium content? Most of us would probably answer no. Studies suggest that 75 percent of Americans are not meeting their daily recommended intake, which can have serious effects on your health.1 So, is it time to up your consumption and add some food that contains magnesium to the mix? The answer’s yes, and there’s actually loads to choose from. Here’s the lowdown on why this mighty micronutrient needs to be in your supplement stack.
Why Do You Need Magnesium in Your Diet?
Magnesium is an essential macro-mineral that you need in abundance, which supports the function of important enzymes and prevents problems with bones, your cardiovascular system and lots more.2-3
This busy nutrient plays a role in everything from biochemical reactions and the synthesis of muscle protein, to the growth of bones and teeth, muscle contractions and could help to regulate blood pressure.4-6 So, if you want to keep smashing your gym workouts, then making sure you’re bursting with this macro-mineral is key.
Magnesium is vital in over 300 enzymatic reactions that regularly take place inside the body.7 One of its most important functions is helping to heal wounds, and it could also fix muscular aches and pains and annoying (not to mention painful) muscle cramps. Don’t know about you, but we’d do anything to ditch the DOMS and workout cramps.
Though it’s plentiful in your body, you need it to stay that way. This is why it’s essential that you get magnesium on a daily basis from dietary or supplementary sources.
What Happens if You Become Magnesium Deficient?
It’s not just about the added benefits of magnesium supplementation, though. Magnesium is essential to the maintenance of a fit and fabulous you as well as for treating other health issues. Health problems associated with a loss of magnesium include diabetes, poor absorption, chronic diarrhoea, celiac disease and hungry bone syndrome — basically, lots of very preventable pain. If you drink like a fish, magnesium deficiency could be what you stumble home to. Better to eat the fish – which is actually pretty high in magnesium.
As we’ve already mentioned, most of us are struggling to meet our daily intake. One of the most worrying things about this little-known fact is that magnesium deficiency often goes undiagnosed. This is because the obvious signs of low levels of magnesium don’t show up until things have gotten way out of hand, and levels are dangerously low. If that groggy and grumpy feeling is extending way past Monday morning and taking over your week, then try to boost your energy and mood with a little more magnesium in your diet.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
There are many symptoms of magnesium deficiency, which aren’t always too obvious. Experiencing one or more symptom at any one time should get those alarm bells ringing about your general health and might mean you need to increase your magnesium consumption.
One of the most common symptoms is twitching muscles, as well as tremors and recurring cramps.8 Dehydration and other health problems can cause these kinds of muscle spasms, so pop to the docs if you’ve upped your magnesium intake and nothing’s changed. Further symptoms to look for are mental health concerns, including numbness, lack of emotion, anxiety, delirium and possibly even coma.9 These serious symptoms highlight just how important it is to manage your magnesium.
Problems can also be more physical as magnesium deficiency can also increase the risk of osteoporosis and the chance of bone fractures.10 On a daily basis, low levels can leave you feeling tired and sapped of strength and energy. All of this is bad news in the gym, with symptoms of fatigue and muscle weakness making it difficult to stay motivated, while doing anything with broken bones, let alone trying to lift weights, is just a nightmare.
Food That Contains Magnesium
Supplements are the perfect way to know for sure that you’re getting all the magnesium that you need. However, it’s recommended that you take them alongside an already balanced diet and eat food that contains magnesium too.
These are some of the best sources of magnesium:
- Almonds, dry-roasted, 100g: 420 mg
- Banana, one medium: 33 mg
- Black beans, cooked, 60g: 120 mg
- Black-eyed peas, cooked, 171g: 92 mg
- Bread, whole-wheat, one slice: 23 mg
- Broccoli, cooked, 150g: 51 mg
- Brown rice, cooked, 185g: 84 mg
- Cashews, dry-roasted, 30g: 74 mg
- Cow’s milk, whole, 250ml: 33 mg
- Edamame, shelled, cooked, 150g: 100 mg
- Kidney beans, canned, 180g: 70 mg
- Oatmeal, cooked, 120g: 58 mg
- Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons: 49 mg
- Sesame seeds, roasted whole, 30g: 101 mg
- Shredded wheat cereal, two large biscuits: 61 mg
- Shrimp, raw, 110g: 48 mg
- Soymilk, plain, 25oml: 61 mg
- Spinach, boiled, 50g: 78 mg
- Sunflower seeds, dry roasted, 130g: 512 mg
Take Home Message
The old news is often the best and eating a healthy and varied diet is once again up there with the most important advice. With such a variety of foods containing magnesium, you’ll never get bored of filling up on this mighty micronutrient.