We're betting you've probably heard of magnesium. Well, it's micronutrient with a whole lot to say for itself. If you've ever taken a chemistry class, you've probably seen magnesium (represented by Mg) on the periodic table of elements, but it's more than a chemical element you need to memorize -- It's essential for our health and wellbeing!
Magnesium also exists in the human body, where about 50 to 60 percent of it gets stored in the skeletal system. It's vital for many chemical processes in the body, including supporting over 300 enzymatic reactions. But what exactly are magnesium's benefits, and how can we incorporate more of it in our lives? It's time to get to the bottom of it.
A word about magnesium deficiency
Even though magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, it still needs to be replenished often to keep the body from using up what's already stored in the bones. When you don't have enough magnesium available, you can experience side effects ranging from depression to heart disease.
In the United States alone, up to 75% of the population may not meet their daily recommended intake of magnesium, while around 2% may have an actual magnesium deficiency. Some symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency – AKA hypomagnesemia – include:
Fatigue and muscle weakness
High blood pressure
Mental issues such as apathy and numbness
Thankfully, a minor magnesium deficiency is unlikely to cause symptoms like the ones listed above, and by supplementing your diet with magnesium-rich foods, you may be able to turn things around with relative ease.
If you’re suffering from the above symptoms or you think you may not be getting enough magnesium in your diet, we recommend going to your doctor, where they can perform a simple blood test and rule out any other issues.
The benefits of magnesium are many, but that doesn’t mean you should go completely overboard with magnesium supplements. Just eating a variety of magnesium-rich foods is the perfect way to enjoy some of the benefits below!
Supports brain function
Magnesium helps relay information from your body to your brain and vice versa. By doing so, it can prevent overstimulation of the brain. Some studies even suggest that magnesium could benefit the brain by protecting it against degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Magnesium is vital for the health of the muscles in your body, and that includes the heart. Researchers even found that people who consume the recommended daily intake of magnesium have a lesser risk of developing high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
You may have dealt with some of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, known more commonly as PMS. One of the most well-known magnesium benefits is that it may help with PMS symptoms, including bloating, water retention, and insomnia.
Magnesium may even prevent those pesky menstrual cramps, however, taking a supplement the day of your period isn’t enough – it needs to build up in your system over time, which could take a month or two.
Luckily, you can fill up on magnesium in numerous ways. Our favorite? Through eating nutritious food! There are plenty of foods high in magnesium that you can incorporate into your diet, so rather than spending money on supplements, why not get the magnesium straight from the source? Take a look at our favorite magnesium foods and see our tips for making them extra tasty.
Spinach: Flash fry up spinach leaves in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and garlic. Cook until slightly wilted, fragrant, and delicious.
Pumpkin seeds: Toast pumpkin seeds in the oven or in a pan with your favorite spices – come up with your own spice blends for maximum deliciousness.
Beet greens: Yep, you can eat the leaves that grow off of beets. Just sauté them like collard greens or spinach and enjoy as a side for a nutrient-dense punch of flavor.
Flaxseeds: Grind flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or spice mill and sprinkle over your food for a healthy dose of magnesium and fiber.
Almonds: We love almonds, as-is. Perfectly paired with fruit or taken on-the-go as a snack, raw almonds get an A+ in our book.
Salmon: Grill up filets of fresh, sustainably sourced salmon with a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon.
Cashews: We like these tree nuts raw or chopped up and dust over an Asian-inspired stir-fry.
Avocado: It goes without saying, avocado is a hot commodity nowadays and we can’t deny that they’re delicious. Smash half an avocado with a fork and top your toast or fill a sandwich for a magnesium-rich and delicious treat.
Magnesium-rich foods in the 8fit app
As the recipes in the 8fit app were designed with vitamins and minerals in mind, you’ll find plenty of high-magnesium foods like the ones above with your 8fit Pro subscription. As long as you eat a well-balanced diet and incorporate magnesium-dense foods into your diet, you should be good as gold!