Hypomagnesemia is the term for significant magnesium deficiency. Deficiency occurs due to inadequate magnesium intake and absorption or increased magnesium excretion. Even if you eat a healthy diet, you may not be getting enough magnesium. Magnesium helps your body function at its best. It’s responsible for functions such as energy creation and nervous system regulation and plays an important role in the health of your brain. If you’re worried you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet, check out 12 magnesium-rich foods to help you feel better.
4 Health Benefits of Magnesium
1. Helps Your Body Function At Its Best
Magnesium is needed for every cell in your body. It’s involved in nearly 600 reactions in your body including energy creation, protein formation, gene maintenance, muscle movements and nervous system regulation. If you’re deficient in magnesium, it could lead to serious health problems.
2. Boosts Your Mood
Magnesium increases brain function and improves your mood, while magnesium deficiency has been linked to higher levels of mood disorders and depression. Getting more magnesium into your diet can help reduce symptoms of depression and make you feel better all around.
3. Improves Exercise Performance
Depending on the exercise you’re performing, you could need between 10% to 20% more magnesium than when your body is resting. Magnesium helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate, which can build up during exercise and cause fatigue.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Low magnesium has been linked to chronic inflammation, which leads to aging, obesity and chronic disease. Eating foods high in magnesium, or taking a magnesium supplement can help reduce inflammation, making your body feel better.
9 Signs and Symptoms of a Magnesium Deficiency
1. Loss of appetite
2. Nausea and vomiting
3. Fatigue and weakness
4. Numbness and tingling
5. Muscle contractions and cramps
6. Abnormal heart rhythms
8. Coronary spasms
9. High blood pressure
10 Causes of a Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency occurs when there’s decreased absorption of magnesium in the gut or increased excretion of magnesium in the urine. Magnesium levels are largely controlled by the kidneys, as the kidneys increase or decrease excretion of magnesium based on what your body needs. Here are 10 causes of magnesium deficiency.
1. Low dietary intake of magnesium
2. Excessive loss of magnesium
3. Chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes
4. Gastrointestinal diseases like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or chronic diarrhea
5. Alcohol use disorder
6. Use of diuretics
8. Kidney tubule disorders
12 Magnesium-Rich Foods
Seeds including pumpkin, chia and flax seeds are super rich in magnesium. They’re also rich in iron, monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, making them incredibly healthy all around. Seeds are also high in fibre and contain antioxidants, helping protect your cells from free radicals.
Nuts are also extremely healthy and some, such as almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts are particularly high in magnesium. Nuts are also anti-inflammatory, good for your heart and can help keep appetite control in check. They’re a good source of fibre and monounsaturated fat and are the perfect food to snack on throughout the day.
Legumes including lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans are rich in important nutrients including magnesium. They’re also high in potassium and iron, and are an excellent source of protein for vegetarians.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains like wheat, oats, barley and buckwheat are an excellent source of magnesium. Many whole grains are also high in B vitamins, selenium, manganese and fibre. They’ve been shown to lower inflammation and decrease heart attack risk, making whole grains a must for your diet.
Avocados are one of the healthiest superfoods out there, and they’re also super tasty. Along with being a great source of magnesium, they’re also high in potassium, B vitamins and vitamin K and are an excellent source of fibre. They’re rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels.
While praised for their high potassium content, bananas are also rich in magnesium. They contain nutrients that moderate blood sugar levels and can improve digestive health and aid in weight loss. Bananas also contain powerful antioxidants and may support heart health.
Very high in protein and a great source of magnesium, tofu is a popular food in many vegetarian diets. It contains all nine essential amino acids and is a valuable plant source of iron, calcium, manganese and phosphorus. It also contains isoflavones, which lessen the symptoms of menopause and potentially lower the risk of some cancers, including breast cancer.
8. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are full of health benefits and loaded with magnesium. The ones that contain the most magnesium include kale, spinach, collard greens and mustard greens. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, but low in calories, and lead to a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline.
Salmon is a key source of magnesium and also boasts other amazing health benefits. It provides high quality protein and is rich in potassium, selenium, B vitamins and other nutrients. Its high omega 3 fatty acid content has been linked to a decrease in chronic diseases, including heart disease.
10. Cultured Yogurt
Cultured yogurt is a nutrient-rich food that’s a great source of magnesium and protein. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, important vitamins and minerals and gut-healthy probiotics. It’s known to benefit heart health and boost your immune system.
A great source of soy protein, edamame is also rich in magnesium, fibre, antioxidants and vitamin K. They’ve been known to lower the risk of heart disease and improve the blood lipid profile, a measure of fats including cholesterol and triglycerides. They’re often steamed or boiled and can be eaten plain or added to a dish.
12. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers, you’re in luck – dark chocolate is quite rich in magnesium. It’s also high in iron, copper, manganese and contains prebiotic fibre that benefits your gut bacteria. You also get tons of antioxidants that are great for heart health, just make sure to choose a chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to symptoms ranging from loss of appetite to more serious concerns like seizures. Make sure to add these magnesium-rich foods to your diet to ensure you’re as healthy as possible.
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