You may be surprised to hear that you do need some metals and chemicals in your body. It’s not all about vitamins, but getting plenty of minerals within your diet. While we tend to jumps straight to calcium and iron, we forget about the likes of magnesium.
Sure, enough, magnesium is an essential nutrient for your body. It offers health benefits that you can’t get from many other nutrients in your diet. You’re missing out if you don’t eat the right foods.
But just what are you missing out on? And just how much do you need to get daily to support your whole body? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the health benefits of magnesium.
Let’s Start with the Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
Before we get into the way that this mineral will support your body, let’s look at the signs that you’re suffering from a deficiency in it. Magnesium deficiencies will initially appear as muscle aches and pains. You may find that walking Is uncomfortable or that you have a slight twinge when there isn’t a reason for it.
Other signs include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, poor digestion, and muscle spasms. It’s easy to overlook all of these issues. Many of them come disguised as another problem. If you have kids, you may not get enough sleep because of them to miss the fact that you’re having trouble sleeping. You may think the pains in your muscles are just from overdoing it one day.
But it could be worth considering. Even if you don’t want to get it tested, you may want to look into getting more magnesium into your diet. It is crucial for your body and is involved in functions like regulating the rhythms of the heartbeats and transmitting processes in the brain.
So, yes, magnesium is important and here’s a look at all those wonderful ways that it will help you.
Helps to Improve Bone Strength
Studies have shown that those with osteoporosis are more likely to have a deficiency in magnesium. Sure, enough, studies have shown this works the other way around too. Those who are deficient in magnesium are more likely to have weaker bones at some time in the future.
So, magnesium helps with the strengthening of the bones. We give calcium this credit, but now realise that it’s not just this mineral. Magnesium helps with the bone development and volume development. And it does help the calcium get to work.
Those with a magnesium deficiency are more likely to find the calcium releases from the bone before it has had a chance to work.
This benefit is especially beneficial to postmenopausal women. Because of the change in the hormones, our bodies find it harder to absorb all the vitamin D and calcium that they need, so we’re more likely to develop osteoporosis. By taking in more magnesium, we help our bodies absorb the minerals better and improve bone strength to help fight off the issue with the change in hormone levels.
Reduce Your Risk of Developing Type II Diabetes
Wouldn’t you love to lower your risk of developing Type II diabetes without too much change to your diet? Well, this is where magnesium plays a part. The magnesium helps the body metabolise the carbohydrates and glucose within the system.
While the carbohydrates will still breakdown and sugar in the system, the body can handle the glucose better. There’s a lower chance of resistance to the insulin levels and lower risk of the secretion of insulin being impaired. These are the reasons we develop Type II diabetes.
Studies have shown that getting magnesium in the most natural forms is much better than in supplement form. Supplement form is much better than nothing. You will need 300-35mg of magnesium a day to get this health benefit.
Helps to Handle PMS
PMT is one of those things that tends to get brushed off, but it is an annoying part of our cycles every single month. And there are so many different symptoms of PMS that we can suffer from. We must deal with bloating, nausea, cramping, breast tenderness, and so much more.
Well, it’s time to get more magnesium in your diet. Women you have magnesium around PMS time will find that their symptoms are lessened. They may not be completely removed—depending on how serious your PMS symptoms are—but you will find they are easier to deal with.
Women have found that mixing magnesium and vitamin B6 help to make the most of this health benefit. The B6 helps with the nerve function, so that makes a lot of sense.
By alleviating your PMS symptoms, you’ll find that you have a better overall lifestyle. That time of the month can be dark and depressing. Constant pain and mood swings cause negative thoughts, especially if you’re also having to put up with unnecessary and unexplained weight gain. If you can find a way to manage your symptoms, you’ll feel much more positive in your overall life, and this will help to offer many more health benefits.
Anxiety Isn’t a Constant Issue
Okay, so magnesium isn’t going to get rid of anxiety completely. This is a mental health problem that isn’t fully understood yet. What we do know is that a magnesium deficiency makes your anxiety worse. So, if you get more of the mineral, you will find it much easier to handle the thoughts, fears, and worries that you bring up throughout the day.
There are a few reasons for this. First, we’ll remember that magnesium helps to handle the PMT symptoms. You feel more confident within yourself because you’re not constantly suffering from pain, insomnia, and other common symptoms. You feel more positive in life, so your mental health issues are lessened.
Our hormones are also more in balance when we get the right amount of magnesium, which is important for supporting our mental health. The balanced hormones are especially beneficial for keeping the stress levels to a minimum. And this is especially beneficial for managing your anxiety levels. As you feel stressed, you’re more likely to start worrying about situations out of your control. You’ll find it harder to manage those worries and fears that crop up.
There have also been studies that show those with little magnesium have more bad bacteria in the gut. This alters the way anxiety affects us. So, it’s important to get more magnesium in the diet.
Likewise, we’re less likely to develop depression in our life, and those who have depression will find it easier to handle it. Remember that magnesium supports the hormones and will help with boosting the positive chemicals in the brain. Finding it easier to handle anxiety will also help to minimise the depressive effects that anxiety has on us.
Protecting the Heart
Like many minerals, magnesium also helps with the health of the heart muscle. It helps with the maintenance of the muscles while helping to improve the electrical transmissions around the body.
This helps to lower the chances of developing high blood pressure and atherosclerosis later in life. You’ll also find that you’re at a lower risk of developing clots and stroke.
If you are taking in a lot of calcium, you’ll want to make sure you get enough magnesium at the same time. Calcium can lead to more build-up in the arteries, which leads to cardiovascular disease and kidney stones. Getting more magnesium will help to prevent this, so you end up with a healthier body overall.
Finding Sleep Easier
As mentioned, one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is the inability to sleep properly. So, that means by getting more magnesium, you’ll find it easier to sleep. Treating insomnia offers numerous health benefits.
Let’s start with the initial benefit that you can give your body the rest it needs. Your brain can recharge, and you feel refreshed and ready to start another day. Sure, enough, this will help to keep your brain chemical releases in the positive, and you’ll find it much easier to reduce those anxiety and depression issues.
You’ll have heard that stress tends to stop us from sleeping. That’s the case because our minds are constantly racing. Well, magnesium helps by stopping the mind from worrying and decreasing the heart rate. Your body realises that it is time to sleep, so you end up finding it easier to nod off.
And then let’s remember that better sleep means that we find it easier to lose weight. That brings more positive elements in the brain and boosts that want to eat healthier.
Help to Reduce Muscle Pains and Spasms
If you do find that you have muscle pain, you should try getting more magnesium in your diet. One of the first signs of a magnesium deficiency is a pain in the muscles and joints. This could be prolonged pain after an injury or overuse, or it may be a pain for seemingly no reason.
Let’s remember first that the magnesium helps with the hormonal balance in the body, which affects the release of chemicals in the brain. When you get the right chemical releases, you will find that the body’s natural pain reliever is released.
You’ll also find that the magnesium helps to limit any spasms that you experience. You’ll be able to move around more and do more daily. The spasms usually come from the extra calcium in the body due to the lack of magnesium, so it’s just about balancing out these two minerals.
So, Just How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
The amount of magnesium your body will need does depend on your age. The younger you are, the less you’re going to need. Of course, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding then you’re going to need to get a little extra throughout the day. You’re not just providing the mineral for yourself but for your baby.
In the first six months, babies only need 30mg of magnesium and will get this from either breast milk or formulas. The formulas are made up specifically to make sure your baby gets enough.
For the next six months, the amount your little one will need more than doubles to 75mg. That will then increase to 80mg for years 1-3. There’s another sharp increase then when a child is between 4 and 8 years to 130mg. And this almost doubles to 240mg for the pre-teen years.
The teenage years is the period that we need the most magnesium. This makes sense since our muscles and bones are developing the most. Our hormones are all over the place and will need some help with stabilising. This is also the time that men start to need more magnesium compared to women.
So, for the teenage years, men need 410mg and women 360mg. This drops by 10mg and 50mg respectively from 19-30.
It goes back up again to 420mg and 320mg respectively after the age of 30. This is another time when hormones start to change, especially for women. The pre-menopause stage starts around the late 40s and then, as we’ve discussed, you become more at risk of developing osteoporosis.
What Food Sources Will Give You More Magnesium?
So, now that you know how much you need, it’s time to get the right food for your sources of magnesium. Sure, you can get your intake from supplements, but there is nothing better than natural sources. These natural sources you’ve already likely got in your cupboards or will at least be cheaper than supplements.
Some of the best options include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Black beans
You can also get it from salmon, goat cheese, and cashew nuts. There are plenty of ways to get these into your diet, so you have no excuse for not taking advantages of the many health benefits mentioned above.