There’s a good reason magnesium is often called ‘the magic mineral’ – it plays a crucial role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, impacting everything from energy metabolism and stress management to hormone balance, detoxification, sleep, and the creation of proteins. Here are 10 Benefits of getting more magnesium into your diet
1. Hormone Balance – Magnesium helps to balance cortisol, supports the thyroid, and aids in the production of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.
2. Bone Health – We’ve long been told that calcium “builds strong bones,” but that’s not the whole story. When we consume a lot of calcium without magnesium, the calcium collects in soft tissues rather than going to our bones where it is needed. Magnesium is needed because it stimulates the hormone calcitonin, which is what directs calcium into the bones. It’s no surprise, then, that magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve bone density in both children and certain elderly populations.
3. Energy Support – Magnesium is crucial to the function of mitochondria, which are the power plants of the cell. Our mitochondria fuel every aspect of health, from brain function and muscle strength to cell repair and enzyme creation. Poor mitochondrial function reduces energy levels, so we want to keep the little guys happy.
Anything green has magnesium, and the darker the green the more magnesium
4. Emotional Relaxation and Restful Sleep – Magnesium helps to relax achy muscles and calm the mind by supporting the production of the neurotransmitter GABA.
5. Stress Support – Sometimes called ‘the original chill pill,’ magnesium helps to balance cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body.
6. Muscle Relaxation – Calcium helps our muscles contract, while magnesium helps them relax. That’s why epsom salt baths (magnesium sulfate) are often recommended for easing achy muscles and growing pains.
7. Beautiful Skin & Healthy Joints – Magnesium stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin, which provide structure for our skin and allow it to “snap back” into place like a rubber band. Collagen also supports healthy joints, muscle and other connective tissue.
8. Digestive Health – Magnesium can be helpful for constipation because it speeds up bowel transit time.
9. Cardiovascular Health – Helps regulate heart beat and relaxes smooth muscle – including the smooth muscle of your arteries – which improves blood flow.
10. Detoxification – Magnesium is needed to make glutathione, which is considered the ‘master antioxidant’ of the body. Glutathione plays a huge role in detoxification and immune function, among other things.
How do I improve my magnesium levels?
So, a cool fun fact (nerd alert!) is that magnesium is the central atom of chlorophyll, therefore anything green has magnesium, and the darker the green the more magnesium. However, not all magnesium-rich foods are green. Here’s are some you might want to consider incorporating:
Chlorella and spirulina – This is a good supplement that includes both
Dark leafy greens - like kale, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, turnip greens
Sprouted pumpkin seeds
Sprouted sunflower seeds
Oily fish such as salmon