What is Magnesium: List of the Best Foods Containing Magnesium.

What is Magnesium: List of the Best Foods Containing Magnesium.

Magnesium plays a central role in almost every body process, from DNA synthesis to insulin metabolism. What is Magnesium: List of the Best Foods Containing Magnesium.

Deficiency of this essential mineral has even been linked to a whole list of chronic diseases - such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, bone-related problems and heart disease. 

Fortunately, there are many delicious food options to help you meet your daily needs and prevent magnesium deficiency. 

Read: Supplements and Vitamins For Good Sleep

There's a fair amount of this nutrient in superfoods like green leafy vegetables, avocados, bananas and potatoes — along with some legumes, nuts and seeds.

Despite the widespread availability of magnesium in the diet, the World Health Organization reports that less than 60 percent of adults in Indonesia have met the adequate intake values. 

Other studies show that about two-thirds of the population does not reach the recommended daily intake.

So, what are the best sources of magnesium, and how do we ensure that we get enough magnesium from our diet?

Here's what to know about this essential nutrient and its impact on health — as well as the best magnesium-rich foods to eat.

What is Magnesium: List of the Best Foods Containing Magnesium 

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an element and mineral found in food and is one of the body's electrolytes. 

About 99 percent of the total magnesium in our body is stored in bones, muscles and soft tissues, while only about 1 percent is concentrated in the blood.

In the body, magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral and a cofactor for hundreds of enzyme systems, which affect muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, and more.

What are the signs and symptoms of low magnesium in the body?

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of health conditions, such as heart disease, migraines, resistance , type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Symptoms and conditions associated with low intake of these electrolytes include:

  1. Hypertension
  2. Kidney and liver damage
  3. Migraine headaches
  4. Glaucoma
  5. Lack of nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin B1, calcium and potassium
  6. Restless legs syndrome
  7. Worsening PMS symptoms
  8. Behavioral disorders and mood swings
  9. Difficulty sleeping and insomnia
  10. Weak bones and potential for osteoporosis
  11. Recurrent bacterial or fungal infections due to low nitric oxide levels or a suppressed immune system
  12. Cavities
  13. Muscle weakness and cramping
  14. Disability
  15. Eclampsia and preeclampsia

Unfortunately, it is still possible for us to develop a magnesium deficiency even after regularly eating a healthy diet.

Therefore, it is important to ensure the consumption of nutrient dense foods, which are rich in magnesium which increases the daily intake.

Benefits of Magnesium for the Body

What are the benefits of magnesium? It is one of the most important nutrients in maintaining optimal health.

In fact, it is involved in more than 300 reactions in the body and is required for many important bodily functions. The benefits of magnesium include supporting:

  1. DNA synthesis
  2. Muscle contraction
  3. Blood pressure regulation
  4. Protein synthesis
  5. Insulin metabolism Neurotransmission
  6. Reproduction

Here's a bit more about the many roles and benefits this electrolyte has:

1. May Help Relieve PMS Symptoms Premenstrual

PMS is a group of symptoms that occur in women one to two weeks before getting their period.

Read: What are the Best Vitamins for Women? 6 Recommendations

Symptoms can vary but usually include mood swings, weight gain, appetite, water retention, fatigue, irritability, sore breasts and digestive problems.

Some research suggests that magnesium may be able to help effectively reduce these symptoms. In one study, a combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 was found to significantly reduce PMS symptoms compared to a control group.

Another study published in the Journal of Women's Health showed that 200 milligrams of magnesium daily helps reduce the severity of some PMS symptoms, including weight gain, swelling, bloating and breast tenderness.

2. Promotes Relieve Healthy Blood Pressure and Heart Health

A 2018 study states, “Subclinical magnesium deficiency increases the risk of many types of cardiovascular disease,” including coronary artery disease and hypertension.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. This forces the heart to work harder, which can strain the heart muscle and eventually lead to heart disease.

Filling your diet with foods rich in magnesium, as well as those high in potassium, may help promote heart health and normal blood pressure levels.

One study even found evidence that supplementation with magnesium reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with hypertension.

Keep in mind that potassium is another important electrolyte for heart and circulation health as it increases sodium excretion through the urine.

3. May Help Improve Physical Performance

Due to its role in muscle function and energy production, these electrolytes are believed to have an impact on sports performance. During vigorous exercise, it is estimated that the need increases by 10 percent to 20 percent.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the effects of magnesium on the performance of 124 elderly women. 

After 12 weeks, daily supplementation with magnesium oxide was found to improve physical performance compared to the control group.

Another study showed that triathletes who were given magnesium supplements for four weeks experienced improvements in swimming, cycling, and running time.

Apart from eating lots of magnesium-rich foods, be sure to include some of the other best foods for athletes in your diet to boost physical performance even more.

4. Helps Control Inflammation

Low magnesium levels have been linked to higher levels of inflammation in several studies. 

A 2014 study, for example, found that low magnesium intake and low blood levels were associated with higher levels of a marker of chronic low-grade inflammation, which is believed to be due to increased release of free radicals and cytosine..

A study published in the Archives of Medical Research showed that taking magnesium chloride was able to reduce inflammation levels in 62 adults with prediabetes.

It's no surprise that many foods high in magnesium make the top lists of anti-inflammatory foods, too. Most of these foods also contain beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help control free radical damage.

5. Preventing Migraines

Migraine is a type of headache disorder characterized by migraine symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and severe throbbing pain. This debilitating condition is also very common.

Low magnesium levels can cause migraines. Some studies have found that supplements can even reduce the frequency of migraines.

One study measured the effects of magnesium supplementation in 86 children who had frequent migraines. Children received magnesium oxide supplements or a placebo for 16 weeks.

At the end of the study, those taking supplement had significantly less headache frequency and lower headache severity compared to the placebo group.

Another study found that it was more effective and fast-acting in providing migraine relief than regular medications.

Apart from including lots of magnesium-rich foods in your diet, following a thorough diet and minimizing your intake of refined sugars and processed meats can also help you get rid of migraines.

6. Helps Normalize Blood Sugar and Protects Against Metabolic Syndrome

There is evidence to suggest that a higher intake of magnesium benefits blood sugar levels and may help prevent resistance and type 2 diabetes. 

Several studies have linked low levels to chronic inflammation and metabolic syndrome.

Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar (glucose) from the blood to the tissues for use as fuel. 

If you consistently eat lots of refined carbohydrates and sugar, you will produce more insulin as your body tries to meet the increased demand.

Maintaining high insulin levels for long periods of time can lead to resistance , decreasing its ability to transport glucose effectively, resulting in high blood sugar.

A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that oral magnesium supplementation improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar levels in diabetes patients with low magnesium levels.

Additional research has found that the mineral may protect against diabetes. One study followed 4,497 participants for 20 years and found that those with the highest intake were 47 percent less likely to develop diabetes.

Other ways to help keep blood sugar normal include getting plenty of physical activity, managing your stress levels, getting fiber and protein, and keeping your carbohydrate intake under control.

7. Fights Depression and Anxiety

Magnesium has strong mood-boosting properties and can help fight depression and anxiety. 

In fact, some studies have even found that a low intake may be associated with an increased risk of depression.

In one study, young adults with the lowest magnesium intake were found to have a 22 percent greater risk of developing depression.

Interestingly, some studies have even found that it can be just as effective as antidepressants at treating depression. 

One study published in Magnesium Research compared the effects of magnesium supplementation with antidepressant medications and found that magnesium supplements were just as effective in treating depression.

Another 2017 study found that magnesium supplements significantly improved symptoms of depression and anxiety after just six weeks. Additionally, a 2017 review stated that among 18 studies, "the available evidence suggests a beneficial effect of Mg on subjective anxiety in an anxiety-prone sample."

Combine this mineral with other natural treatments for depression, such as eating lots of probiotic-rich foods, getting plenty of vitamin D, and minimizing your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar.

8. Improve Sleep Quality

If you suffer from insomnia, you may have to consider increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods. 

Research suggests that there may be a link between magnesium and sleep, with some research suggesting that supplements may help reduce insomnia.

In one study, participants who took the supplement experienced a decrease in the severity of insomnia, an increase in sleep time, and a decrease in the amount of time it took to fall asleep. 

Another study found that supplements containing a mixture of magnesium, melatonin and zinc improved sleep quality in residents in long-term care facilities.

Be sure to pair it with other natural insomnia relievers and natural sleep aids like calcium, essential oils, and valerian root to maximize results.

9. Plays an Important Role in Vitamin D Metabolism

Research shows magnesium plays an important role in the body's metabolism of vitamin D. Meanwhile, vitamin D plays a role in the absorption of calcium into bones and affects other important vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health, including vitamin K and phosphorus .

Vitamin D deficiency is more at risk for:

  1. Bone related disorders
  2. Heart disease
  3. High blood pressure
  4. Depression
  5. Insomnia
  6. Chronic pain
  7. Psoriasis
  8. And more

This illustrates the need for complete nutrition and proper intake of vitamin D and magnesium.

10. Supports Healthy Cognitive Function

These electrolytes are known to play an important role in nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction, which is why they appear to have a protective role against overexcitation that can lead to nerve cell death.

Low levels are associated with neurological disorders due to dysfunction in the nervous system. 

Research is ongoing on its effects in the treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and stroke, but what we do know is that Magnesium acts as a low-risk adjunct treatment among those with mood and cognitive illnesses.

11. Helps Prevent Asthma Symptoms

Some evidence suggests that magnesium may have a role in managing asthma symptoms in both children and adults through its dual effects as an anti-inflammatory and bronchial dilation agent. 

Although it is not intended to replace other asthma treatments, some doctors recommend it as a low-cost, low-risk adjunct treatment.

The 20 Best Magnesium-Rich Foods Which

foods have the highest magnesium content? Some of the best food sources include green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and Swiss chard, but there are other magnesium-rich foods that also increase your daily intake.

What fruits are high in magnesium? Avocados, figs and bananas are the best.

Here is a list of 20 magnesium-rich foods to include in your diet:

  1. Spinach, cooked
  2. Swiss chard, cooked
  3. Dark chocolate
  4. Sunflower seeds, drained
  5. Cashews
  6. Mackerel
  7. Flax seeds
  8. Almonds/almond butter
  9. Pumpkin seeds, drained
  10. Spinach
  11. Buckwheat groats/kasha
  12. Black beans
  13. Avocado
  14. Whole grains
  15. Spirulina
  16. Figs, dried
  17. Yogurt or kefir
  18. Nuts only
  19. Bananas

Recommended Dosage

For men, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is about 400-420 milligrams per day. For women, about 310-320 milligrams daily.

According to the National Institutes of Health, below are the recommended daily intakes for magnesium:

  1. Infants–6 months: 30 milligrams
  2. 7–12 months: 75 milligrams
  3. 1-3 years: 80 milligrams
  4. 4–8 years: 130 milligrams
  5. 9–13 years: 240 milligrams
  6. 14–18 years: 410 milligrams for men; 360 milligrams for women
  7. 19–30 years: 400 milligrams for men; 310 milligrams for women
  8. Adults 31 years and over: 420 milligrams for men; 320 milligrams for women
  9. Pregnant women: 350–360 milligrams
  10. Women who are breastfeeding: 310–320 milligrams

How do you increase your magnesium levels quickly? It is best to eat foods that are high in magnesium (greens, nuts, seeds, nuts, etc.) and/or to take a daily supplement.

Who should take magnesium in supplement form?

There are several types of magnesium supplements available, such as magnesium citrate and magnesium oil. 

It can benefit many people and is especially helpful for those with symptoms of magnesium deficiency. 

People who are most at risk for magnesium deficiency include:

  1. People with liver disorders
  2. Heart failure
  3. Inflammatory bowel disease
  4. Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
  5. Kidney dysfunction
  6. Other conditions that affect absorption

Older adults and women are generally more deficient than younger adults and men.

Transdermal magnesium supplementation is another way to utilize the mineral, although research is limited on its effectiveness.

This involves applying the mineral in the form of magnesium chloride topically to help it absorb into the skin.

However, another effective way to increase levels is to use Epsom salt (a compound of magnesium sulfate), such as by adding some to your bath. Again, more research is needed on the effectiveness of absorption through this method.


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