Current research estimates that about 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient and don’t even know it. Magnesium is essential for cellular health and is responsible for at least 300 known biochemical processes in the body, so a deficiency can affect your body in a myriad of different ways. Our widespread magnesium deficiency has many different factors that are leading to it like:
- Depleted soil – Chemical fertilizers, gmo crops, contaminated water are just a few contributors to depleted soil conditions. These soil conditions lead to less nutrient dense plants that are eaten by both we (as people) and animals (that we eat).
- Chemicals in our water – Chemicals like chlorine and fluoride in our drinking water bind to magnesium making it less available to use in our bodies.
- The foods we eat – Daily consumption of caffeine and sugar also deplete available supplies of magnesium in the body.
- Stress – We live in a world of stress, and that can have detrimental effects on how much magnesium is absorbed and utilized in our bodies.
- Too much calcium – believe it or not…..this is a bigger problem than you might imagine. With so many foods containing added calcium (from orange juice to breakfast cereal), it is easy to go over our daily requirement without even taking the first calcium supplement. Proper calcium/magnesium balance is critical for preventing arterial calcification, so it is good to keep an eye on how much “added” calcium you are consuming. Recommended daily amount is a good thing, but calcium is actually something you can overdo.
Some of the functions that magnesium is critical for are:
- Protein synthesis
- Blood sugar regulation
- Production of neurotransmitters
- Blood pressure
- Energy metabolism
- Nerve function
Common symptoms that are often linked to magnesium deficiency (these symptoms can have other causes as well, but if you have several of them, magnesium is a good place to start):
- Mood instability
- Trouble Sleeping
- Muscle Cramps
- High Blood Pressure
- Low bone density (magnesium is needed for vitamin d to turn on calcium absorption)
But have no fear!! Magnesium is rich in many healthy foods, so check below for a list of some of the top magnesium containing foods. Daily recommendation for adults is to aim for 1,000 mg. You don’t have to get them only from these foods, but including some of these power packed sources can help you to get to your optimum levels more quickly.
- Spinach (157 mg/cup)
- Swiss Chard (154 mg/cup)
- Pumpkin Seeds (92 mg/1/2 cup)
- Yogurt (50 mg/cup)
- Almonds (80 mg/cup) – be careful on this one as almonds are very calorie dense
- Black Beans (60 mg/1/2 cup)
- Avocado (58 mg/1 medium)
- Dark Chocolate (95 mg/small square)
- Bananas (32 mg/med fruit)
- Figs (50 mg/1/2 cup)
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- So as you can see, magnesium is both critical for overall health, lacking in the typical American diet, and easy to fix. Aim for 1,000 mg magnesium daily through a combination of the above foods and other healthy whole foods that you enjoy. Getting magnesium can be easy if you just put a little bit of thought into it.