Did you know that magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and plays crucial roles in the health of your body and brain? Yet, many people suffer from a deficiency even if they do have a relatively healthy diet which can lead to function problems. The bones in your body contain about 60% of the total magnesium found in your body. The other 40% is housed in your muscles, soft tissue and fluids.
Magnesium is responsible for over 600 body reactions as a cofactor in your biochemical makeup which is why every cell in your body contains it and requires it to function.
Five Important Functions of Magnesium
Magnesium is responsible for helping to convert the food you eat into energy to be used later, so that your body can perform its best in daily tasks.
Magnesium also helps create new proteins through amino acids in your body that are vital for muscle function and health.
Responsible for gene maintenance by creating and repairing DNA and RNA.
The contraction and relaxation of your muscles is another body function that magnesium plays a vital role in.
Magnesium keeps your brain firing on all cylinders by regulating the neurotransmitters within your nervous system.
Other Health Benefits
Brain function and mood are areas magnesium plays a critical role in. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to an increased risk of depression, but more research is needed on the topic. One study found in a randomized controlled trial of older depressed adults that 450 mg of magnesium daily improved their mood as effectively as prescription drug. Because sample sizes are still small, we do recommend discussing with your doctor or mental health professional before jumping fully on board the magnesium as an antidepressant train.
If you have been struggling with type 2 diabetes, increasing your magnesium intake could be very helpful in managing the disease. About 48% of people who suffer from type 2 diabetes were found to have low levels of magnesium in their blood which impairs insulin’s ability to keep blood sugar levels under control according to studies on the topic. It has also been noted that people with lower levels of magnesium in their blood are at higher risk of developing diabetes. However, not any magnesium will do the trick in helping to manage diabetes. Studies have found magnesium supplements were not helpful in improving blood sugar or insulin levels, but magnesium sourced from a good diet did.
Need to lower your blood pressure? It might be wise to look into upping the magnesium in your diet. One study showed people who took 450 mg of magnesium per day experienced lower blood pressure—this only applies to individuals with high blood pressure in the first place.
Migraines are debilitating for a lot of people. More magnesium may be your answer to keeping them under control. One study showed supplementing with just 1 gram of magnesium provided sufferers relief quickly and more effectively than common migraine medications.
Good Food Sources for Magnesium
Supplements can be great if you are unable to get enough magnesium in your daily diet, but before you start popping pills it is important to check with your health professional first to make sure it’s the right move for you. Thankfully there is a lot of tasty food out there you can try eating before taking more drastic measures.
Pumpkin seeds are the best source providing 46% of your RDI in a quarter of a cup.
Boiled spinach fulfills 39% of your RDI in one cup.
Boiled swiss chard gives you 38% of your RDI in a cup.
Dark chocolate (yes please!) can provide 33% of your RDI with 3.5 ounces.
Black beans bolster your magnesium intake with 30% of your RDI in a single cup.
Cooked Quinoa gives you 33% of your RDI in one cup.
Halibut provides 27% of your RDI in a quarter of a cup.
Almonds can provide 25% of your RDI in a quarter cup.
Cashews also come in with 25% of your RDI in a quarter cup.
Mackerel has 19% of your RDI in 3.5 ounces.
A medium sized avocado gives you 15% of your RDI.
Finally, salmon can provide 9% of your RDI in 3.5 ounces.