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Natural Ways to Increase Magnesium Intake

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 21, 2022

Vitamins and minerals are essential for our bodies to function properly. They help us maintain our health and keep our bodies going without us even realizing it. One of the most important minerals for our bodies is magnesium.

But what makes magnesium so important? And how can you increase your intake naturally?

In this article, we'll go over:

Read on to learn everything you need to know about magnesium and how to up your intake!

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral that comes from the earth. It's found in many different rocks and minerals, including dolomite, magnesium carbonate, and magnesium chloride.

It's also the eighth most abundant element in the universe and the fourth most abundant element in the earth's crust.

Magnesium is essential for our bodies to function properly. It's involved in over 300 different biochemical reactions in our bodies and it is considered an essential micronutrient -- meaning that our bodies can't produce it on their own and we need to get it from our diet.

Magnesium deficiency, also called hypomagnesemia, is most often caused by not eating a balanced diet or by not eating enough food, which most often occurs in elderly people or people who suffer from malnourishment. It's also common in people with certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Why Do You Need Magnesium?

As we mentioned, magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. That means that it's essential for our bodies to function properly. Some of the most important functions that magnesium is involved in include:

  • Muscle function: Magnesium is needed for the chemical processes behind muscle contraction and relaxation. It's also important for nerve impulses.
  • Heart health: Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure and is involved in the electrical activity of the heart.
  • Blood sugar control: Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels and is important for insulin sensitivity.
  • Bone health: Magnesium is needed for the absorption of calcium and the formation of bones and teeth.
  • Immune function: Magnesium is involved in the production of immune cells and helps to protect against infection.

Without magnesium, our bodies wouldn't be able to function properly. That's why it's so important to make sure that we're getting enough of this essential mineral.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

If you're not getting enough magnesium, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Poor sleep
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Nausea

Magnesium deficiency can also lead to more serious health problems, such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and migraines.

Natural Ways to Increase Magnesium

The best way to increase your magnesium intake is through your diet. Fortunately, there are a ton of different foods and drinks that are rich in magnesium.

Foods High in Magnesium

To incorporate more magnesium into your diet through foods, make sure to include magnesium-rich foods such as:

  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.
  • Nuts and seeds, including almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
  • Beans and lentils like black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas.
  • Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice.
  • Fruits like bananas, apricots, and avocados.
  • Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium.

Drinks High in Magnesium

In addition to foods, there are also some drinks that are high in magnesium. This includes:

  • Water: Many types of water are actually rich in magnesium. This includes mineral water, spring water, and even some tap water. Check the label on your water bottle to see how much magnesium it contains.
  • Coffee: Believe it or not, coffee is actually a good source of magnesium. Just make sure not to drink too much coffee, as studies have shown too much caffeine can make it harder for your body to absorb magnesium.
  • Tea: Both green and black tea contain magnesium.
  • Milk: Milk is a good source of magnesium, especially if it's fortified with vitamin D.

FAQs

What fruit is highest in magnesium?

Dried figs win when it comes to magnesium, with a cup of dried figs providing around 24% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). Other fruits that are high in magnesium include avocado (14% of the RDI), bananas (10%), and guavas (9%).

How much magnesium should I take daily?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults over 19 years old for magnesium is 400-420 mg per day for men and 310-320 mg for women. However, pregnant and lactating women need more magnesium, with the RDA increasing to 350-360 mg per day.

Do supplements help with magnesium deficiency?

Yes, magnesium supplements can help with magnesium deficiency. However, it's always best to try and get your nutrients from food first. If you decide to take a supplement, make sure to talk to your doctor first so they can guide you on the best type and dosage for you.

 


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