Magnesium is one of those essential minerals that you can’t live without. It plays a vital role in regulating a good majority of the body’s chemical processes. This means, when magnesium levels run low, health problems arise. Since the body can’t produce magnesium on its own, it’s important to include magnesium-rich foods in your daily diet. Read on to see why magnesium is so important and discover the many health benefits you can expect to see from eating magnesium-rich foods.
Why Is Magnesium So Important?
The body requires steady amounts of seven essential macrominerals. Magnesium is one of them. As an essential macromineral, a minimum of 100 milligrams should be consumed every day. Magnesium is a workhorse, making over 600 biochemical reactions throughout the body possible. Not surprisingly, magnesium exists as the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Here are just a few of the essential chemical processes magnesium plays a part in:
- Regulates enzyme processes, which make the trillions of chemical reactions in the body possible
- Nervous system functions
- Regulates neurotransmitter production
- Muscle functioning
- Heart rate
- Immune system processes
- Bone tissue processes
- Energy production
Health Benefits of Eating Magnesium-Rich Foods
Eating magnesium-rich foods offers a wealth of essential health benefits. Unfortunately, well over 50 percent of American adults don’t get needed amounts of magnesium from their daily diets. Ensuring you’re getting ample amounts of magnesium can go a long way toward maintaining good health. Just a few foods high in magnesium include spinach, sunflower seeds, black beans, whole grain cereals, almonds, avocados, and many more. Here are some health benefits you can expect from eating magnesium-rich foods:
Supports Cardiovascular Health
As far as cardiovascular health goes, the muscles of the heart and the electrical signals that maintain your heartbeat rely on magnesium to function normally. A large research study, known as the Framingham Heart Study examined the effects of magnesium on reducing heart disease risk and overall long-term heart health. Results from the study showed participants who consumed the highest amounts of magnesium had a 58 percent reduced risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Maintains Strong, Healthy Bones
The body’s magnesium levels have a direct impact on the health of your bones. In fact, a large percentage of this mineral is stored in the bones. It contributes to the strength and firmness of bones, including the teeth.
Magnesium enables your bones to absorb the calcium needed to build and maintain bone tissue. It also enables the conversion of vitamin D into an active form the body can use, which is essential to calcium absorption processes. More specifically, magnesium regulates the enzymes that trigger the production of new calcium crystals. This means, even in cases of mild magnesium deficiency, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases considerably.
Supports Stable Blood Sugar Levels
The bloodstream carries glucose or sugar to the cells of the body to use for energy. The body uses insulin to keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. Magnesium supports stable blood sugar levels by helping the body use insulin properly. When blood sugar levels run too high on a consistent basis, your risk for developing insulin resistance increases considerably. Insulin resistance occurs when the body can’t use insulin as it should, which leads to high blood sugar levels. In effect, magnesium’s ability to regulate insulin production prevents insulin resistance from developing.
Magnesium’s role in helping regulate neurotransmitter production has direct effects on your mood and overall well-being throughout any given day. When magnesium levels are where they should be, the brain produces needed amounts of GABA, a neurotransmitter that keeps stress levels in check. Magnesium also helps prevent stress hormones like cortisol from flooding your system.
One study that demonstrates magnesium’s effects on mental health is the Hordaland Health Study conducted in Norway in 2008. Researchers collected data from over 5,700 adults. Results from the study showed participants who ingested low levels of magnesium in their daily diets tested higher for symptoms of depression.
Make Sure Your Body Can Absorb the Magnesium It Needs
While eating magnesium-rich foods offers many health benefits, if your body can’t absorb it properly, much of these benefits will be lost. The body’s ability to absorb magnesium depends on the overall health of your gastrointestinal tract or gut. For this reason, it’s important to ensure your gut is working as it should.
One very effective way to support your gastrointestinal health is by taking a daily probiotic supplement. A probiotic supplement helps increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. The good bacteria work to promote healthy nutrient absorption so essential nutrients aren’t lost in the digestive process. Probiotics support immune system health as well.
All in all, you can’t go wrong when it comes to eating magnesium-rich foods. Safeguarding the body’s supply of this essential nutrient can make all the difference when it comes to experiencing good health. The trick is to make sure your body is able to absorb and use the magnesium content from the foods you eat.