Magnesium is an electrolyte, similar to sodium and potassium. Magnesium plays many important roles in the body, and if we become deficient, there can be serious consequences for our health. Magnesium is important nutrient for a variety of reasons:
- Magnesium is vital for muscle function, including the functioning of the heart.
- Magnesium is important for bone health.
- Without magnesium, our nerves do not function properly.
- Magnesium is critical for energy production.
- Magnesium might play a role in healthy sleep patterns and reduction of anxiety.
Despite all of these important functions that magnesium perform in the body, many people do not get enough magnesium in their diet. The recommended daily allowance is 420mg per day for men and 320mg per day for women. If your kidneys are healthy, they do a good job at buffering the amount of magnesium in the body but it is still good to get enough in the diet on a regular basis. Long term, not getting enough magnesium is thought to promote some pretty serious health problems, including:
- Fatigue and muscle weakness/cramping
- Altered heart rhythm, and a faster than normal heart rate
- Neurological problems ranging from tingling in extremities all the way to seizures
- High blood pressure
It is fairly easy to get enough magnesium in your diet if you are on The Kaufmann Diet, which contains plenty of foods which are good sources of of dietary magnesium. These include:
A single, 1oz serving contains 168mg of magnesium, or roughly half of the RDA for women.
A single, 1oz serving of almonds provides 80mg of magnesium, or between a quarter and a fifth of the RDA. Almonds are rich in other nutrients like healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
Cashews are also a good source of magnesium; a 1oz serving has 74 mg of magnesium.
In addition to the myriad of other nutrients in spinach, spinach is a good source of magnesium; a half cup of cooked spinach contains 78mg of magnesium.
A 3oz serving of salmon contains 26mg of magnesium.
A good source of healthy fats, avocado is a good source of magnesium too; one cup of avocado contains 44mg of magnesium.
It is also possible to supplement with magnesium. Some of these supplements, such Naturally Calm, are sold as sleep aids and stress reducers. For most people though, the focus should be getting enough magnesium in your diet on a regular basis. Like all supplements, if you choose to take a magnesium supplement, consult your doctor beforehand.