NUTRIENT SPOTLIGHT: MAGNESIUM

When we think about magnesium, most of us probably associate it with relaxation and sleep. Which isn’t wrong, since magnesium really does help with both of those things. But it’s also involved in more than 300 enzymatic processes in our bodies like blood sugar regulation, muscle contractions and nerve function, insulin metabolism, reproduction, DNA replication and the synthesis of glutathione - which is our body’s master antioxidant.

While magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies and is obviously incredibly important for our overall health, a large number of the population is deficient in it. This is due to our high-stress lives, the rise in diets full of processed foods and low in nutrients, and the declining soil conditions. With low levels of magnesium, these deficiencies can lead to things like insulin resistance, hypertension, weak bones, worsened PMS, sleep disruptions, anxiety, muscle spasms and heart arrhythmias.

It’s definitely important to focus on getting magnesium through your diet, with leafy green vegetables like spinach and swiss chard, nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts, seaweed and algae like spirulina, bananas and figs, black beans and mung beans, amaranth and buckwheat, and raw cacao. We love drinking greens or beet-based cold-pressed juices to boost our overall nutrient intake including magnesium. There’s also several different forms of magnesium supplements that can help with anything from insomnia, headaches and PMS, to anxiety and constipation, deepening on the type you take.

Magnesium Citrate is mostly commonly used for constipation because it pulls water into your GI tract and relaxes your bowels, making it easier to go to the bathroom. Magnesium Glycinate is our favourite form of the mineral because it’s highly absorbable and won’t cause any digestive upset at high does like some other forms of magnesium. It’s amazing for relaxation, sleep and PMS. Magnesium Sulfate is more commonly known as Epsom Salt and is amazing for fatigue, stress, anxiety, and muscle soreness when you bathe in it.

So whether you’re looking to alleviate PMS symptoms, prevent migraines, normalize your blood sugar levels, lower inflammation, fight against depression and anxiety, enhance the quality of your sleep, boost physical performance or just support your heart health and cognitive function, it’s a good idea to focus on getting adequate magnesium levels. And even if you eat a healthy diet rich in plant foods, extra supplementation is always a good idea.

 

Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.

 

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