Wellness Wednesday: The Magic of Magnesium

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Sweet potato crisps

Your body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to operate in peak condition. One of those essential nutrients is magnesium, an alkaline earth metal and mineral. Read on as we explore the important role magnesium plays in our health.

What Does Magnesium Do?

Magnesium performs several important functions for the body. It acts as a natural calcium blocker, which helps relax your muscle cells after they contract (calcium stimulates contractions). Magnesium also helps regulate your heartbeat by relaxing your heart muscles after they’re stimulated by calcium.

In addition to acting as a muscle relaxant, magnesium acts as a gatekeeper for N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain. These receptors are involved in memory, learning, and healthy brain development. Magnesium protects these receptors from being overstimulated, which is VERY important: overstimulated receptors could cause brain damage.

Benefits of Magnesium

Aside from acting as a buffer and protective force for your body, magnesium also offers a host of health benefits. Taking magnesium can:

  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Ease migraines
  • Reduce symptoms of depression
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Provide anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Help regulate blood sugar levels
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Act as a laxative
  • Ease muscle cramps

Foods Rich In Magnesium

Looking to add more magnesium to your diet? Incorporate a few of these staples into your pantry to give yourself the recommended daily dose of 400-420 milligrams of magnesium.

  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Avocados 
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts) 
  • Legumes 
  • Tofu 
  • Seeds (flax, pumpkin, and chia) 
  • Whole grains 
  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and halibut) 
  • Bananas 
  • Leafy greens  

An added bonus of eating these foods is that most of them are packed with additional nutrients, antioxidants, and heavy metals that can do your body quite a bit of good.

How Do I Know If I Need More Magnesium?

There are tell-tale symptoms that can indicate you have a magnesium deficiency. Many of these symptoms overlap with other potential health issues, so be sure to see a doctor to confirm your condition before making any lifestyle changes:

  • Muscle cramps 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Numbness/tingling Seizures

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

The good news is that you can’t really have too much magnesium in your diet. You can’t “overdo it” eating magnesium-heavy food. The bad news is that it doesn't hold true for supplements. If you’re taking magnesium in pill form, take care not to exceed the recommended dose. High doses of magnesium from supplements could cause nausea, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.

 

Article by Austin Brietta

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