By Karen Appold
Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It is the fourth most common mineral in your body. Approximately 50 percent of magnesium is stored in your bones. The remainder is mostly found in cells of body tissues and organs.
Magnesium has many health benefits. Some of these include:
- It lowers your risk for cardiovascular diseases.
- It regulates high blood pressure.
- It may reverse osteoporosis, if it is supplemented with calcium. This is because it improves bone mineral density.
- Treating migraines.
- Treating insomnia.
- Treating depression.
- Curing severe forms of psychiatric dysfunctions, such as stress, anxiety, and panic attacks.
- Improving nerve health.
According to the Institute of Medicine, men need 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium per day and women require 310 to 320 mg.
If you have a magnesium deficiency, you are at risk for developing type-2 diabetes, since magnesium controls blood glucose levels. Being deficient is rare, however. Signs of deficiency include irregular heart beat, neck and back pain, migraines, confusion, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, irritability, muscle cramps, and weakness.
When you’re stressed, your body uses more magnesium than usual. You may find yourself craving chocolate, which is high in magnesium.
If you suspect that you are deficient, you may want to take a magnesium nutritional supplement. Be careful not to take too much magnesium, however, which can be harmful.
Foods High in Magnesium
Your body does not make magnesium on its own, so you need to consume it every day. Foods rich in magnesium include leafy vegetables such as spinach and whole grains. Whole wheat bread containing bran and germ has twice as much magnesium as white bread.
Other vegetables that are good sources of magnesium include tomatoes, sweet potatoes, lima beans, beet greens, broad beans and artichokes. Other good food sources include wheat flour, barley, oat bran, buckwheat flour, cornmeal, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate. You’ll also find magnesium in milk, yogurt, fish, and water.
Karen Appold is a medical writer based in Macungie, PA.