Magnificent Magnesium - What Is It & Why Do We Need It?
With so many different vitamins and minerals required to keep us healthy, you could be forgiven for forgetting about the odd one or two, but to stay balanced, a bit of everything goes a long way.
Often overlooked in favour of the big ones, think vitamin D, C and iron; magnesium is one of the most important minerals within the body. It plays a vital role in regulating your muscle function and the healthy function of your nervous system.
In fact, there are over 300 different types of chemical reactions within the body that require magnesium. From keeping your heartbeat steady and contracting at the right rate to adjusting blood glucose levels and supporting your immune system, it’s fair to say it’s pretty vital. Like food for the brain, it helps to take care of memory, development and learning, essentially encouraging the brain to talk to the rest of our body.
How Much Is Enough?
A macromineral, magnesium, is one of seven minerals that are required in larger quantities (unlike minerals such as zinc and iron, which are needed in much smaller amounts). The NHS guidelines recommend a daily intake (RDI) of 300mg for men and 270mg for women. But, whilst most people don’t meet their daily intake, it can be found in many different foods.
Too much alcohol, caffeine, and sugar can cause a depletion of magnesium within the body.
If you’re not getting enough, you may start to notice some rather unpleasant symptoms. Magnesium deficiency, known as hypomagnesia, can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, anxiety and even changes in the heart’s rhythm, as well as making it harder to sleep.
Prone to muscle pains or finding it hard to unwind before bed, pop some magnesium bath salts into a relaxing bubble bath and let it soothe those aching muscles and mind.
It couldn’t be simpler to add magnesium into your diet. Here are some great ways to help you up your daily dose.
- Add some nuts to your morning porridge (oats) or breakfast smoothie.
- Instead of reaching for a biscuit or a packet of crisps, why not try a handful of brazil nuts or almonds as a snack?
- Substitute the milk in your cereal for cashew milk or try almond butter as an alternative.
- Make an omelette and pack it with leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale. Or blitz up your greens into a delicious smoothie, like this green tea and avocado smoothie.