When I think of magnesium, my mind takes me back to chemistry lessons at school. Our teacher sporting a rather large pair of safety goggles, would take pieces of magnesium and hold them in the flame of the Bunsen burner. A brilliant, glowing, white light was produced and everyone would stare at the pretty light in awe. Magnesium, however, is much more than a white shining light and it plays a special and crucial role in our bodies.
Magnesium, also known by the chemical symbol Mg, is a mineral that is used by every organ in the body but most specifically the heart, the muscles and the kidneys. It is an essential mineral that is required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm and building strong bones. Magnesium is also involved in at least 300 biochemical reactions all over the body! This surely proves how important it is to have a sufficient amount floating around and in use at different parts all around our bodies.
If you are prone to suffer from unexplained fatigue, abnormal heart rhythms or even muscle spasms, a magnesium deficiency could be the root cause.
However, it can often be hard to know whether you have a deficiency or not. After a blood test, many assume that it will reveal the answers. But only 1% of the magnesium in the body is distributed in the blood, with most of it being stored in the bones and organs. Therefore, it is quite possible to be deficient and also completely unaware of it. These are a number of early signs that can help you identify whether you have a magnesium deficiency. These include loss of appetite, headaches, nausea and fatigue. Conversely, consuming too much magnesium can also have negative side effects such as diarrhoea as the body attempts to get rid of the excess magnesium by excretion.
Furthermore, Magnesium is a necessary mineral and aids in many different jobs around the body. It activates muscles and nerves and it creates energy in the body through the production of ATP (the energy storage unit of the body’s cells). It also helps digest proteins, carbohydrates and fats and serves as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis where proteins and new cells are made. It plays an important role in mineral balance which is necessary to maintain cell life. Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, otherwise it will perish. Magnesium can also be used as a natural tranquiliser to aid with sleep.
However, there are many foods that are rich in this mineral that you can consume too. Food high in magnesium typically include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, avocados, bananas and my favorite; dark chocolate and many more. The current daily value for magnesium is 400mg. A dark leafy green with a high magnesium content is raw spinach with 1 cup containing 24mg which is 6% of the daily value. Squash and pumpkin seeds on the other hand have a much higher magnesium content with 1 cup containing 606mg which is a massive 152% of the daily value!
Unfortunately, it is difficult to consistently supply our bodies with adequate levels of magnesium, even if you follow a good, balanced whole foods diet as magnesium is one of the most depleted minerals in farm soils. This is mainly due to the modern agricultural methods that favour the use of NPK fertilisers (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). Both potassium and phosphorous are enemies of magnesium in soil. On calcareous soil (grassland rich in calcium) a magnesium deficiency is created when the magnesium present is unable to bind to the crop. The same occurs on sandy or loamy soils that are slightly acidic as the magnesium leaches from the soil and is unavailable to the crop. As a result, many people take magnesium as a supplement on a daily basis to avoid magnesium deficiency.
It is especially important for pregnant women to make sure they consume and have a sufficient amount of magnesium circulating their bodies. This is because the concentration of magnesium in the placental and foetal tissues increases during pregnancy and therefore the requirements for this element in a pregnant woman’s organism generally exceeds its supply. Adding magnesium to a bath of warm water is one way of increasing the amount of magnesium that is absorbed into the body as well as allowing the mother to relax and soothe any aching muscles.
From this article, we can see just how important it is to maintain sufficient levels of magnesium in our bodies. If you want to try making something super tasty and rich in magnesium, why not try YUUGA Kemistri’s Avocado Chocolate Mousse. Containing avocado, banana and dark chocolate, this is the perfect treat to indulge on but at the same time get your magnesium fix. This can be found on the Facebook page via the following link: http://bit.ly/ChocoMs
iRaw Healthy Habits, our new raw food production company, is also working on a pumpkin seed snack, rich in magnesium that is set to be launched in January! Or if you can’t wait that long, check out our Raw Beauty Snack out now! A beautiful snack of activated almonds marinated in spirulina, green macha tea, pepper and lime.