Magnesium. So essential for so many of our daily activities and yet somehow so lacking for so many people. I attribute it to a combination of poor digestion/absorption and what I call the beige-food diet, lacking in fresh greens. Today we will discuss why magnesium is so amazing for us, where to get it from whole raw vegan foods and what it sometimes looks like to not have enough of this wonder-mineral.
More than half of the magnesium in our bodies is in our bones, a quarter of it in our soft tissues and fluids and another quarter in our muscles. Magnesium is partly responsible for maintaining cells’ electrical charges and also enables our cells to reproduce. Magnesium is important in energy production and protein forming. Magnesium is responsible for proper muscle function and proper insulin function. Now that’s important! With the ability to alter our metabolism and make our muscles (including our hearts) work properly, magnesium is the second-most prevalent mineral in our bodies after potassium.
A University of Virginia study followed people with adequate levels of magnesium for a fifteen year period and found that they had a 31% lower chance of developing Metabolic Syndrome compared to the rest of the population studied. Insulin resistance also burns up magnesium in the body leading to quite the downward spiral. In a separate double-blind study supplementation with Magnesium was shown to improve markers for metabolic syndrome in individuals that were previously deficient.
Some foods that are highest in magnesium are spinach, kale, collard greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, dried figs and chocolate. The nuts and seeds can be soaked and sprouted to reduce the phytic acid, making the magnesium more absorbable but soaking chocolate doesn’t really work out. I try to remember that chocolate is high in magnesium but much of it is difficult for us to absorb. Of course I love green juice but green smoothies and soups can also be great ways to get some green power. Popeye obviously had the right idea, strong and smart too 🙂 Watch this week’s video http://stephjackson.com/videos/ to learn more about how magnesium boosts the brain.
Magnesium deficiency can appear in the form of blood sugar dysregulation as we discussed above and also in poor memory, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, tremors, cramps, weakness and deficiencies of other minerals such as potassium and calcium. Magnesium can help with sleep and depression. There is a reason why the brand “natural calm” has that name. Magnesium can also be rubbed into the skin “transdermally” or, of course obtained from our favourite green foods.
See this week’s recipe http://stephjackson.com/green-homous/ for a magnesium-rich dip.