By GMB Nutritionist Melissa Fine
My oh my magnesium - is there anything this mineral can’t do?
An integral component of over 300 metabolic reactions in the body, here are just some of the reasons why magnesium is so important as a nutrient:
We need magnesium for energy production
Magnesium-dependent chemical reactions are responsible for metabolising carbohydrates and fats and converting them into energy. Magnesium is also an integral part of ATP – an energy-providing molecule for nearly all of the body’s metabolic processes.
Magnesium plays a structural role in the body
With more than 60% of the magnesium in the body residing in the skeleton, many people are unaware that magnesium is a structural component of our bones. It’s also a part of cell structure, with around 7% of the body’s magnesium stores residing in our cells.
Magnesium aids muscle contraction and relaxation
Not to mention nerve impulses and a healthy heart rhythm. This is due to its role in transporting molecules called ions across cell membranes.
Magnesium is involved in antioxidant production
While we get many of our anti-aging, cell-protective antioxidants from wholefoods, the ‘master antioxidant’ glutathione is produced by the body, relying on the presence of magnesium for its synthesis. DNA, and enzymes involved in the production of carbohydrates and fats are some of the other molecules requiring magnesium in order to be synthesised.
Which foods are rich in magnesium?
Magnesium is abundant in our food supply – in our wholefood supply, we should say; the less processed foods you eat, the more magnesium you’ll be obtaining from your diet.
Magnesium is a component of chlorophyll – the pigment in plants that makes them green – which means green veggies, your spinach, broccoli and so on are an excellent source of magnesium.
Other magnesium-rich foods include:
- Nuts and seeds, particularly almonds
- Wholegrains like brown rice
- Lima beans
- Fish - mackerel is an especially rich source
- Dark chocolate – the 70-85% kind (yay!)
Other ways to get more magnesium into you
Magnesium is also available in supplement form – as a powder, tablet or capsule. Speak to your health practitioner about a magnesium supplement that’s right for you.
Our new favourite magnesium find: The Base Collective’s concentrated Magnesium Oil. We’ve been applying this to our bellies or lower legs 20 minutes before bed – a nice little nighttime ritual that we find works a treat for relaxing tense, tired, or post-workout-aching muscles…perfect for giving us a good night sleep.
Reference Source: lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium