Magnesium rich foods: Why include them in your daily diet?


magnesium rich foods

Magnesium has a crucial role to play in over 300 enzyme reactions within the human body. It helps in nerve and muscle function, supports the immune system and regulates blood pressure. An adult body usually comprises around 25 grams of magnesium, 50-60% of which is stored in the skeletal system. The rest is usually present in the bodily fluids, soft tissues and muscles. Including magnesium rich foods in the daily diet is crucial as magnesium deficiency is often associated with a wide range of health complications and thus people must aim to meet their daily magnesium level requirements (King, J.C., Blumberg, J., Ingwersen, L., Jenab, M. and Tucker, K.L., 2008. Tree nuts and peanuts as components of a healthy diet. The Journal of nutrition, 138(9), pp.1736S-1740S). For the best insghts on the example and importance of magneisum rich foods, follow DocTube.

Example of Magnesium Rich Foods

Spinach, cashew nuts and almonds are some of the best magnesium rich foods you can include in your diet. In most cases, people meet their magnesium requirements from their daily diet. For example, foods high in fiber are usually effective in providing magnesium. Some of such good magnesium sources include whole grains, nuts, legumes and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Seeds like chia seeds and pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of magnesium. Other magnesium rich foods include milk, soymilk, rolled oats that have been cooked in unsalted water, avocado, rice, bread and whole wheat (Ismail, A.A. and Ismail, N.A., 2016. Magnesium: A mineral essential for health yet generally underestimated or even ignored. J. Nutr. Food Sci, 6(2), pp.1-8). In case a person is not able to meet his magnesium requirements through his diet, it is important for him to take the necessary supplements.

Benefits of Magnesium Rich Foods 

1. Bone health

Along with calcium, magnesium is also a crucial factor for bone health as it is important for healthy bone formation. Adequate magnesium intake is linked with improved bone crystal formation, higher bone density and a lower risk of osteoporosis in women after menopause (Rondanelli, M., Faliva, M.A., Tartara, A., Gasparri, C., Perna, S., Infantino, V., Riva, A., Petrangolini, G. and Peroni, G., 2021. An update on magnesium and bone health. Biometals, 34(4), pp.715-736). Magnesium improves bone health directly as well as indirectly as it has a role in regulating Vitamin D and calcium levels, which are other vital nutrients for bone health.

2. Diabetes

Consuming magnesium rich foods adequately has been linked to a lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes. This is primarily because magnesium has a crucial role to play in insulin metabolism and glucose control (Weng, L.C., Lee, N.J., Yeh, W.T., Ho, L.T. and Pan, W.H., 2012. Lower intake of magnesium and dietary fiber increases the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Taiwanese. Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, 111(11), pp.651-659). Magnesium may thus help patients in diabetes management. On the other hand, magnesium deficiency can also worsen insulin resistance, which is commonly developed before Type 2 diabetes.

3. Cardiovascular health

The human body needs magnesium to maintain the health of muscles including the heart. It promotes good heart health and reduces the risks of different heart diseases and complications. It has often been seen that patients with congestive heart failure suffer from magnesium deficiency too and this can worsen their clinical outcomes. Increasing consumption of magnesium rich foods may reduce a person’s risk of stroke. 

4. Migraine

Including different kinds of magnesium rich foods may help in preventing or relieving headaches. This is primarily because magnesium deficiency may affect neurotransmitters while restricting blood vessel constriction and these are factors deemed to increase a person’s risk of migraine. 

5. Premenstrual syndrome 

Magnesium is also known to play a crucial role in managing premenstrual syndrome in women. Taking magnesium and Vitamin B-6 supplements can help improve these symptoms (Moslehi, M., Arab, A., Shadnoush, M. and Hajianfar, H., 2019. The association between serum magnesium and premenstrual syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Biological Trace Element Research, 192, pp.145-152). For example, it has often been stated that regular consumption of magnesium rich foods or magnesium supplements may help in reducing bloating, mood swings and breast tenderness which are some of the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

6. Anxiety 

Magnesium levels help in managing a wide range of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Low levels of magnesium in the body may increase stress which may in turn increase anxiety episodes in people. 

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium deficiency refers to a condition known as hypomagnesemia. This can result from excessive consumption of alcohol, side effects of different medications and also several health conditions like diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders. This kind of deficiency is usually more common in the case of older adults. Some of the most common magnesium deficiency symptoms include the following:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting 
Common symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency may include the following:
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Seizures
  • Muscle cramps
  • Personality changes 
  • Heart rhythm changes 

Management of Magnesium Deficiency

If you are experiencing any symptoms of magnesium deficiency, your doctor is most likely to perform a physical examination and enquire about your medical history and symptoms. He may also advise you a blood test to check your current magnesium levels. Along with a blood test, doctors may also order other tests like the urine magnesium test, calcium blood test, potassium blood test, comprehensive metabolic panel and electrocardiogram. These tests will help in confirming if you have hypomagnesemia and also the underlying causes based on the test results and your medical history.
Treatment of hypomagnesemia usually depends on the extent of its severity and the underlying causes. In case the hypomagnesemia is mild, the doctor is likely to recommend oral magnesium tablets. However, if the hypomagnesemia is severe, you may have to receive magnesium and fluids through an IV (Ayuk, J. and Gittoes, N.J., 2014. Treatment of hypomagnesemia. American journal of kidney diseases, 63(4), pp.691-695). Necessary treatment would also be required for managing the underlying cause.

Prevention of Hypomagnesemia

It is important to manage and treat underlying conditions that may cause hypomagnesemia to prevent episodes. For example, a person suffering from celiac disease must maintain a strict gluten-free diet to prevent malabsorption which may lead to hypomagnesemia.

  What are some of the best sources of magnesium for a vegetarian?  

Popular vegetarian sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, dry roasted almonds, boiled spinach, dry roasted cashews, pumpkin seeds and oil roasted peanuts.

  Can magnesium deficiency lead to osteoporosis over time?  

Magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis by acting on the process of crystal formation and promoting low grade inflammation.


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