In the world of health we focus on the big 3 macronutrients: Protein, Carbs, and Fat. “Macro” meaning we need them in large amounts. What we usually don’t consider with regards to our health are micronutrients. Micronutrients are essential to our health, but we don’t need large quantities to live (hence, the word micro). Another characteristic of micronutrients is they are not very calorie dense. Micronutrients are very important to our existence but get little attention. Now, I’m not telling you to run out and start researching every single micronutrient on the planet. Instead, I’m going to give you the 411 on, arguably, the most important micronutrient: Magnesium.
Want an idea of how important magnesium is to your body? Here’s one: Magnesium is responsible for over 600 enzymatic functions (second only to potassium). Processing of proteins, metabolic function, insulin sensitivity, detoxification, and so on. Unfortunately, most Americans are not consuming enough magnesium to reap the benefits. Without magnesium our bodies are susceptible to inflammation. Inflammation can lead to cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Studies have shown a dietary increase in magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity, which allows your body to process glucose (energy) and use it (i.e. burn fat). If you’re insulin sensitive then you reduce the chances of getting diabetes. If you’re an athlete or just like to workout then you’ll be happy to know increasing your magnesium daily can improve your performance and muscular strength (YAY! Something I can relate to!).
How do you know if you’re magnesium deficient? Check the chart below!
How much magnesium do you need? According to WebMD most men need about 410mg a day. Women should consume about 310mg a day with up to 350mg while pregnant (sometimes higher). Now, you don’t have to jump on the nearest magnesium supplement to improve your health. Simply increase your daily intake of the following foods:
- Green, leafy vegetables such as Spinach (25mg per 1 cup)
- Almonds and Cashews (95mg per ¼ cup)
- Sesame and Sunflower seeds (100mg per 1 oz.)
- Bananas (33mg/serving)
- Steelcut Oatmeal (57mg per 1 cup)
- Peas (32mg per ½ cup)
BONUS! Go to your local grocery store and buy Epsom Salt and use it the next time you take a bath! Epsom salt contains magnesium that is absorbed through the skin and can relieve muscle aches, improve skin and hair health, and detoxify your body. Click HERE for more info on Epsom Salt baths.
If you feel you need a magnesium supplement please consult with your primary care physician and they will recommend one for you.