Magnesium rich foods used to be more common and packed with nutrients, but that quality has diminished in the past century because of changing diets and industrialized agriculture.
The average American barely even consumes 50% of the US-recommended RDA (daily allowance) for magnesium, which is why there is a new urgency to discover magnesium-rich foods and raise awareness.
Health Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium is used in over 300 biochemical reactions within the body. It ranks fourth among the most available minerals in the body. It is essential for sound health. Approximately 50% of the magnesium in the body can be found in the bones. Approximately 1% can be found in the blood, and, the rest can be found in body cells, tissues and organs in various parts of the body.
Magnesium is essential for nerve and muscle function, as well as heartbeat rhythm. It also supports the immune and skeletal system. Magnesium regulates blood sugar levels to help stabilize blood pressure, protein synthesis, and energy metabolism.
Magnesium has been known to have a positive effect on treating disorders like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. In dietary supplement form, magnesium is absorbed through the small intestines and is then excreted by the kidneys.
Sources of Magnesium
Some sources of magnesium are leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and sea vegetables. Whole grains are also excellent sources of magnesium, and conveniently so as it is a prime component of a regular person’s diet. Other magnesium rich foods include chocolate, barley, oat bran, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and tomatoes.
Non-vegetarians may consume fish for their magnesium content. Wheat bread, particularly organic sprouted whole grain wheat bread with germ and bran, has two times the magnesium content as regular white bread.
Other magnesium-rich foods:
Percent Daily Value
Good magnesium sources barely cover 10% of the recommended daily amount. Certain foods like whole grains, fish and nuts are not ingested in adequate amounts. This is based on the average person’s consumption.
For some individuals, it can be as low as 20%. Factors such as genetics, prescription drugs, and oxalic and phytic acid could interfere with the absorption of magnesium.
The crops we have today are not as packed with nutrients as before, making it harder to achieve optimum levels of magnesium.
Food-processing can strain out or remove the magnesium content. Take for example the processing of grain into white flour. The germ and bran are lost, but those components are what contain magnesium. Another example is in processing nuts and seeds into oil. The oils are heated, and the chemical additives end up removing or straining out the healthy magnesium.
The Bottom Line
Don’t be blinded by labels and brand names. It’s important that you understand which sources are the best, and which ones are better off left on the shelves. In this day and age, people are blinded by flashy headlines and attractive marketing schemes. It takes a higher level of scrutiny to differentiate the best sources from the less desirable ones.
Some dietary magnesium supplements have very low percentages of magnesium, but consumers fail to notice this fact just because they don’t bother checking the label. You can also ask your doctor for suggestions on which brands are recommended by medically trained professionals.
These simple steps are just the tip of the iceberg; open your eyes and do some research instead of acting on impulse alone. It could save you a ton of time, money and effort in the long run.