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Magnesium is essential for human health since it involves over 300 enzyme systems that control bodily processes. However, some individuals are more prone to magnesium insufficiency than others, such as older adults and those with type 2 diabetes or gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder that causes gluten sensitivity).
It may be essential for those with certain diseases to monitor their magnesium intake and ensure they receive enough of the mineral. While magnesium supplements are an option, eating foods rich in magnesium and other essential minerals and vitamins is the best way to get them.
Magnesium: What Is It?
Magnesium may be found in the body and in certain foods and drugs. Depending on the mineral, numerous body processes, including controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, operating muscles and neurons, and protein synthesis. The creation of energy, bone growth, and transit of calcium and potassium, essential for muscular contraction, nerve impulses, and keeping a normal heartbeat, are just a few of the numerous processes that need magnesium.
The average adult’s body has 25 milligrams of magnesium. Most of the magnesium is found in the soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, nerves, and tissues around joints. A minor quantity is also present in blood serum, but only 50% to 60% of that magnesium is found in the bones.
According to Deanna Minich, Ph.D., a licensed functional medicine practitioner and nutrition scientist located in Oregon, “[the] human body does not make [magnesium], so we rely upon dietary sources, such as mineral-rich water and foods.” Magnesium is fortunately abundant in natural, healthy foods and drinks.
Magnesium may also be taken as a supplement if someone worries they aren’t receiving enough of it via their diet. You should see a healthcare provider before incorporating a magnesium supplement into your regimen.
How Much Magnesium Do I Need?
Depending on a person’s age, gender, and if they are nursing or pregnant, they will need different amounts of magnesium. For various age groups and genders, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises the following magnesium intakes:
Up to age 13, the recommended magnesium consumption for both sexes is the same; however, beyond that age, the male intake is greater than the female intake.
However, women who are expecting or nursing should make an effort to boost their magnesium intake, with precise quantities based on their age:
Understanding Magnesium Deficiency
Low magnesium consumption may negatively affect health, including migraines, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
Aged adults, persons with gastrointestinal conditions like celiac disease, those with type 2 diabetes, and people who are dependent on alcohol are among the types of people who are more likely to have low levels of magnesium.
According to Isabel Maples, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, older persons are likelier to have reduced magnesium intake and decreased absorption rates due to chronic illness and drug side effects. Alendronate, Risedronate, and Ibandronate bisphosphonates are used to treat conditions like osteoporosis, antibiotics, diuretics or water pills (hydrochlorothiazide or chlorthalidone), and proton pump inhibitors to reduce stomach acid (omeprazole, esomeprazole, or lansoprazole), may all be contributing factors to magnesium deficiency.
Nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, weakness, and weariness are early symptoms of a potential magnesium shortage. Numbness, tingling, muscular cramps and contractions, irregular heart rhythms, coronary spasms, seizures, and even personality changes like apathy, sadness, bewilderment, or agitation are signs of severe deficiency. Severely low magnesium levels may lead to additional mineral shortages, such as low serum calcium or potassium levels.
8 Foods High in Magnesium
Magnesium is found in various foods at varied levels, and some are simpler and more convenient to include in a regular diet than others. Here are some examples of foods that Drs. Maples and Minich believe they are high in magnesium and simple to incorporate into your next meal.
According to the NIH, pumpkin seeds have some of the highest quantities of magnesium of all foods high in minerals. Pepitas, raw pumpkin seeds, contain an astounding 500 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. They also include a variety of other minerals, including zinc, phosphorus, and potassium. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, one serving of pumpkin seeds has over half the daily required amount of zinc.
Include a handful of pumpkin seeds as a snack, sprinkle them on top of a salad or a bowl of soup, or add them to baked products to include them in your regular diet.
the chia seed
Ninety-five milligrams of magnesium are present in 1 ounce of chia seeds. These tiny seeds are also essential fiber, calcium, phosphate, and potassium sources. Chia seeds may be added to yogurt, salads, cereal, and other baked goods as a topping or used as an egg substitute in muffins, bread batters, and other baking recipes. You can also add a tablespoon of chia seeds to smoothies.
According to Dr. Minich, almonds are another food that provides a significant quantity of magnesium. The magnesium content per 100 grams of whole, raw almonds is 258 mg. These nuts are an essential source of antioxidants, fiber, biotin, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and minerals. Almonds may be eaten on their own, as almond butter spread over apple slices or a piece of toast, by replacing all-purpose flour in recipes or when breading meat like chicken or fish with almond flour.
Per 100 grams of spinach, there are 93 milligrams of magnesium. In addition to magnesium, spinach is a good source of vitamins A, K, and folate, among other minerals. This leafy green may be eaten in various ways, including on sandwiches in place of lettuce, in soups, casseroles, or lasagna, or cooked with garlic and other vegetables.
Another nut that contains magnesium is cashews. One hundred grams of raw cashew nuts and other minerals like copper, manganese, protein, and fat provide 251 milligrams of magnesium per serving. Cashews do contain saturated fat. However, most of it is stearic acid, which is thought to lower blood cholesterol.
According to Dr. Maples, cashews may be consumed as cashew butter, pureed to produce sauces, or used instead of milk in vegan cooking. The handful can also be eaten as a crunchy substitute for chips.
180 mg of magnesium is included in every 100 grams of dry black beans. This bean species also contains fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and other nutrients. There are several ways to cook them, including in salads, soups, chili, tacos, burritos, and side dishes like beans and rice. They may also be used to make baked products like brownies and cookies.
According to Dr. Minich, peanut butter is a good source of magnesium since it has 193 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. While peanut butter is packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, phosphorus, and potassium, it’s crucial to watch out for salt and sugar that may be added.
There are many ways to include peanut butter in a nutritious diet, such as eating a teaspoon as a snack, spreading it on toast for a sandwich, or mixing a tablespoon into oatmeal or smoothies.
The magnesium content in long-grain, unenriched brown rice is thought to be 115 milligrams per 100 grams. In addition, brown rice has more potassium, fiber, and several B vitamins than white rice. You may include this grain in your diet in stir-fries, soups, rice bowls with veggies, and vegetarian burgers.
Dr. Minich says that folks concerned about obtaining enough magnesium should rest easy knowing that the mineral is present in natural, whole meals and drinks. Additionally, concentrating on magnesium intake is advantageous for more reasons than this mineral’s unique advantages and the physical processes it supports. Dr. Minich claims magnesium-rich foods have additional health advantages, such as dietary fiber, protein, polyphenols, and good fats like omega-3.