Are You Getting Enough Magnesium? It May Prevent Heart Diseases and Diabetes
One mineral that is nothing short of a miracle due to its healing and rejuvenating effect on a wide range of diseases is non-other than magnesium. The mineral is often overlooked, but it is extremely necessary for a wide range of reasons. Let’s unfold all about magnesium, how much we need and top foods that can fill up the deficiency.
Role of magnesium
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral present in our body. The major portion is present in the skeletal system while the rest is stored in the soft tissues, muscles, and bodily fluids. As far as the role of magnesium is concerned, it is so vital that over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body will be incomplete without it. These functions include metabolism of food, nerve signal transmission, and protein synthesis.
Other important functions of magnesium can be enumerated as follows:
- Reduces high blood pressure and promotes good heart health
- Aids in the production of energy and boosts exercise performance
- It helps neutralize stomach acid and help move stools through the intestine
- Reduces the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
- Required for proper nerve functioning
- Helps regulate blood glucose levels
- Plays a key role in metabolization of calcium and carbohydrates
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How much should be daily magnesium intake?
From infants to older adults, all need magnesium on a daily basis. Following is the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium:
- From birth to 6 months old – 30mg/day
- 7 months to 1 year old – 75mg/day
Toddler and Children
- 1-3 years old – 80mg/day
- 4-8 years old – 130mg/day
- 9-13 years old – 240mg/day
Male adolescent and adults
- 14-18 years old – 410mg/day
- 19 years old and above – 400-420mg/day
Female adolescent and adults
- 14-18 years old – 360mg/day
- 19 years old and above – 310-320mg/day
Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Pregnancy – 350-400mg/day
- Breastfeeding – 310-360mg/day
What are the health effects of overdose and deficiency of magnesium?
As mentioned above, adequate magnesium levels can keep your body up and healthy. High magnesium levels (hypermagnesemia) or low magnesium (hypomagnesemia) in the body can cause a range of complications.
Magnesium overdose is rare because the excess of this mineral is flushed out by kidneys. Hypermagnesemia often occurs in people with kidney failure after they consume medications such as antacids or laxatives which contain magnesium.
Overdose of magnesium can cause a range of health risks such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, lethargy, low blood pressure, respiratory distress and even cardiac arrest. Administration of calcium gluoconate intravenously can reverse the effects. Dialysis may also be necessary to get rid of the excess of magnesium.
Low levels of magnesium in healthy people is uncommon, however, it mostly affects older people or those who are hospitalized. Hypomagnesemia can occur due to excess alcohol consumption, gastrointestinal disorder, use of certain medications and some other chronic health conditions.
Deficiency of magnesium can cause weakness and fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, tingling and numbness, personality changes and abnormal heart rhythms. Hypomagnesemia can be treated with magnesium supplements and by consuming magnesium-rich foods.
Foods that prevent deficiency of magnesium
A wholesome nutritious diet can increase the level of magnesium in the body. There are several foods from nuts, fruits and vegetables that can fill up the dearth of magnesium. Here are top 10 foods.
Leafy greens vegetables hold high magnesium reserves. Spinach is one such green which comes loaded with other vital nutrients including calcium, vitamin C and iron among others.
Dietary value – Just 1 cup of cooked spinach can make up about 39 percent of daily intake offering 157mg of magnesium.
Like cashews, almonds are an excellent source of getting magnesium. They are also heart friendly due to their cholesterol lowering ability as well as rich in iron and calcium. Eat raw or sprinkle them over oatmeal in breakfast.
Dietary value – About one-third cup of almonds contains 129mg of magnesium, this is around 35-40 percent of daily requirement.
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In the legume family, black beans stand as the richest source of magnesium. It also serves as the major source of protein for the vegetarians.
Dietary value – 1 cup of cooked black beans contains 120mg of magnesium, 30 percent of recommended daily allowance.
Nuts are filled with nutrition and liked by the majority. Cashews are the best source of adding maximum magnesium to your diet. They are also anti-inflammatory in nature and great for weight watchers.
Dietary value – One-third cup of cashews can give you 117mg of magnesium, this calculates to about 30-35 percent of the daily recommended intake.
This cruciferous superfood needs no introduction. It contains more vitamin C than an orange can give you, plus it guards you against certain type of cancers including bladder and colon. Cook or use it as salad in your lunch.
Dietary value – 1 cup of cooked broccoli contains 102mg of magnesium that is approx. 30 percent of the daily dietary intake.
One of the best sources of starchy foods, banana is not only magnesium rich but also fires up your metabolism. If you are potassium deficient, then there is no better fruit than this. Try banana-nut oatmeal for getting the maximum magnesium out of your breakfast.
Dietary value – 3 medium sized bananas will give you 99 mg of magnesium. And that’s roughly 30 percent of the total daily requirement.
Dark chocolate has plenty of health benefits if eaten in moderate amount. Besides high in magnesium, it is one of the top sex boosting foods. It also reduces high blood pressure and a great option for losing weight.
Dietary value - Just 50 grams of chocolate can give you 88 mg of magnesium, which is about 20-25 percent of the daily requirement.
Also known as ‘kuttu ka aata’ in India, buckwheat is a gluten free food that is packed with magnesium, manganese, zinc and anti-oxidants. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Make porridge (daliya) in breakfast for a great magnesium start.
Dietary value – 1 cup of cooked buckwheat offers 86mg of magnesium, which amounts to about 21 percent of daily dietary intake.
Rice has various types but the brown rice is a healthier choice with higher magnesium, fiber and zinc content. Simply replace white rice with the brown rice in your meal to get the maximum benefit.
Dietary value – 1 cup of cooked brown rice can give 86mg of magnesium, 20-25 percent of the daily requirement.
For some people, corn may be a heavy carb diet as it has a good amount of sugar. However, it is also a wonderful source of magnesium besides rich in fiber, vitamin C and B vitamin. Drench them in butter and salt and put them on the hot grille.
Dietary value – 1 and a half cup of corn contains around 66mg of magnesium. This amounts to about 18 percent of daily recommended intake.
These are some of the everyday magnesium rich foods. Healthy people who eat balanced diet would not face any lack of magnesium. However, for people deficient in magnesium, they must talk to a doctor or dietician to get the best possible results.
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2. Nielsen FH and Lukaski HC.(2006, September). Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise read more
3. Magnesium - Fact Sheet for Health Professionals(2018, March 02). NIH read more
4. Fathizadeh N, et al.(2010, December).Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome read more
5. Maier JA(2003). Low magnesium and atherosclerosis: an evidence-based link read more
6. Sontia B(2007, February).Role of magnesium in hypertension read more