Magnesium – The Miracle Mineral For Your Diet!
Magnesium plays a central role in almost every biological process, from the synthesis of DNA to the metabolism of insulin. Low levels of this crucial mineral have even been tied to an entire array of chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and even heart disease. No nutritious diet can ever be complete without a few servings of magnesium-rich foods. Although it is sometimes overlooked as an essential mineral, many doctors, nutritionists, and researchers consider it to be the single most important nutrient for human health. Read on to know about its health benefits and much more!
What does magnesium do for the body?
Magnesium maintains normal muscle and nerve functions as well as to keep the heart beating rhythmically. It also supports healthy immune system development and keeps bones strong. Additionally, it is important for regulating blood sugar levels as well as promoting normal blood pressure. It supports metabolism, energy production and protein synthesis as well as controls cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Here are some of the magnesium benefits for the body:
Magnesium provides quick relief from constipation, and a strong dose of its water-soluble supplements is known to bring relief in even the most severely constipated state. The laxative property of this mineral relaxes the intestinal muscles, thereby establishing a smoother rhythm while passing bowels. It also encourages intestinal water absorption, which in turn softens the stool and provides relief from constipation.
Magnesium relaxes the bronchial muscles. Even wheezing and breathlessness can be relieved through the intravenous administration of this mineral. Patients suffering from chronic asthma can attempt to normalize their breathing with the help of this mineral.
Keeps Bones Healthy
Magnesium is directly correlated to bone density, and subsequently, an inadequacy of this mineral in the body can lead to osteoporosis. It helps in regulating calcium levels in the body, along with vitamin D, copper, and zinc. To eliminate the risk of developing osteoporosis in older age, magnesium, calcium and vitamin D, must be taken throughout the formative years and adulthood.
Magnesium is important for ensuring proper collagen synthesis. Collagen is a naturally occurring protein found in tissues such as the tendons, ligaments and even the skin. It is also present in the cornea, bones, the gut, cartilage and blood vessels. The higher the amount of collagen in the system, the stronger and more robust those areas of the body will become.
Promotes Mineral Absorption
It helps the body absorb vital vitamins and minerals like sodium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Mineral absorption usually occurs within the small intestine ensuring the detoxification of many harmful toxins in our body. It also helps in activating the stores of vitamin D in the body, which in its inactive form is hardly usable by the body.
“The master mineral is Magnesium, which tells the other minerals what to do and where to do it” – Dr Carolyn Dean
The human body is constantly demanding balance. Magnesium deficiency can occur due to a variety of ailments including alcohol abuse, interference from other medications, low calcium levels, general problems with absorption, burns, or reactions from recent surgeries.
One very common magnesium deficiency symptoms are chocolate cravings since chocolate is generally rich in this essential mineral. Magnesium deficiency symptoms generally present themselves in three stages. The first stage generally involves symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, confusion, memory loss and in some cases even anorexia. Second stage symptoms may include a rapid heartbeat as well as other noticeable cardiac differences. Third stage symptoms occur when a person suffers from a severe magnesium deficiency and can include numbness, hallucination, tingling and even delirium.
The mineral assists in muscle relaxation, which means those who suffer from a severe magnesium deficiency may also experience episodes of prolonged muscle contractions.
Foods High in Magnesium
Foods high in magnesium include sea vegetables, leafy vegetables such as spinach, and whole grains that are usually major components of a person’s regular diet. Other vegetables that are a rich source of this mineral include tomatoes, beet greens, broad beans, lima beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, wheat flour, oat bran, barley, cornmeal, and chocolate.
You can also consume dairy products such as milk and yoghurt, as well as non-vegetarian food like fish. Water also has a high magnesium content; hard water has more than soft water. However, do exercise caution as hard water is not good for the body.
Excess magnesium side-effects
Magnesium overdose is technically known as hypermagnesemia. It occurs when there is too much magnesium in your blood. It can occur in people with chronic health conditions. Too much magnesium may also result from taking too much of a supplement or medication containing magnesium.
Hypermagnesemia is rare because the kidneys work to get rid of the excess magnesium. Overdose often occurs in people with kidney failure after they take medications containing magnesium, such as laxatives or antacids.
Symptoms of overdose may include diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, lethargy, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, urine retention, respiratory distress and cardiac arrest.
For adult men, the recommended daily requirement for magnesium is 350 mg/day. Women should get 280 mg/day. Pregnant women should increase their magnesium intake to 300 mg/day.