Magnesium is one of my favourite minerals. It’s essential for over 300 different bio-chemical reactions occurring in the body. There are many ways in which magnesium is lost from the body, poor dietary habits (too much processed foods), regular coffee consumption, alcohol, being under stress, pharmaceutical drugs, depleted soils. It’s a very common mineral to be deficient in, yet most people have no idea about this magnificent and vital nutrient. Some sign which can indicate magnesium deficiency include:
- Chocolate cravings
- Muscle cramps, twitching, soreness
- Sleep troubles
- Fatigue and weakness
- PMS symptoms
- Constant headaches
- Irregular heartbeat
Prior to studying nutrition and consuming a diet rich in wholefoods, I suffered with some of these symptoms. I used to be quite an anxious person, was often fatigued and had digestion issues. My muscles would constantly be sore after working out, my skin and nail weren’t the best and I constantly craved chocolate! As soon as I learnt more about this magical mineral and it’s benefits I started prioritising it into my diet, and boy oh boy did I notice a difference!
Some of the few ways it can help:
Anxious? It relaxes the nervous system - Serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system and elevates mood is dependent on magnesium. It also brings back into balance your stress hormones.
Promotes better sleep -The sleep regulating hormone (melatonin) is disrupted when magnesium is deficient. Magnesium levels also drop in your body at night, many people have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep.
Relieves constipation - by helping to relax the bowels. It’s a great way to flush your system!
Increases energy - by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell’s energy store.
Relives headaches - A great trick to ease tension-induced headaches (and even migraines)
Better flexibility - It helps loosen tight muscles. Without magnesium muscles cannot relax properly and cramping can occur.
Balanced electrolytes – it alkalizes the body by returning the body’s pH balance back into balance, which are essential for hydration and beautiful skin.
Balance hormones: Helps to ease PMS symptoms.
Diet and lifestyle play a key role in your magnesium uptake. Foods which are high in magnesium include:
- Dark leafy greens,
- Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Whole grains
- Raw cacao powder (my personal favourite!!)
Supplementing with magnesium is another way, which is what I currently rely on. It’s best to talk to a natural health care practitioner about the best kind of magnesium for you, as there are a few different types of magnesium. A generic one that you can get over the counter which is quite good is Ethical Nutrients Magnesium and Organic Magnesium Ultra, by Good Health.