Magnesium: It’s Importance in Our Diet

Health coach shares her thoughts on magnesium in our diet

This week, we are joined by Hattie, as she discusses the importance of magnesium in our diets. Hattie has a BSc (Hons) in Nutrition and is one of our Health Check team here at One You East Sussex.

Magnesium is an essential mineral with a huge amount of health benefits. Here in the UK, intake of this mineral is common to be too low. It is especially important for bones as they contain 60% of the body’s total magnesium, with the rest found in soft tissues and a small amount in the blood. This mineral plays a central role in regulating hundreds of bodily processes from controlling blood sugar levels to nerve function and blood pressure control. We need the mineral to help blood vessels relax, for bone development and energy production.

At present, we are all experiencing a lot of uncertainty, stress and anxiety surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic. Making sure we have enough magnesium in our diet can play a positive role in the current situation as it helps to regulate healthy sleep patterns and reduce anxiety due to its calming effect on the central nervous system.

Magnesium also has amazing benefits when it comes to being active as it can help massively with muscle cramps and exercise performance. Studies have found that performance may be compromised due to magnesium deficiency.

Chronic stress, drinking coffee, smoking, eating sugar and sweating from physical exercise all contribute to the depletion of magnesium in our bodies, which are all factors that are very common in the modern way of life. Due to this, it’s important that we eat a healthy balanced diet to ensure we are getting enough magnesium from the food we eat to ensure we have adequate levels in our bodies.

Magnesium rich foods include:

– Avocados

– Almonds (raw)

– Leafy greens such as spinach and kale

– Pumpkin seeds

– Black beans

– Swiss chard

– 60% – 85% dark chocolate (in moderation)

– Bananas

– Figs

– Wholegrains and legumes

– Some fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel

We also absorb magnesium through our skin. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) are an excellent addition to a nice hot bath to relax and unwind if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or experiencing aching muscles after exercising. It’s important now more than ever to take time for yourself if possible. Allow time to relax and de-stress as best you can.

More information can be found here on the NHS website.

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