If we told you there was one mineral that could help prevent depression, cramping, anxiety, dizziness, PMS, migraines, constipation, osteoporosis, kidney stones and insomnia, improve your memory, is critical for bone health and energy production, helps metabolise blood sugar and is involved in over 600 cellular reactions you’d be forgiven for thinking we were exaggerating.
Magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in your body (every cell in your body contains it), plays a key role in optimum health yet we are often lacking in it without really being aware. After reading The Magnesium Miracle by Dr Carolyn Dean I was inspired to write this blog about why we should be adding magnesium-rich foods to our diet, how easy it is to do so and why getting the mineral naturally - from plants - is more effective than taking a supplement.
The power of Mg
Known as the ‘forgotten mineral’, magnesium acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ for so many of our body’s functions and is involved in over 300 different biochemical reactions. It protects against heart disease and heart attacks, high blood pressure and stroke, type 2 diabetes and much, much more.
Aren’t all minerals important?
Yes - but some more than others. Magnesium, for example, is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. We think of calcium as building strong bones and preventing bone loss but, in fact, it’s magnesium.
How can we tell we’re magnesium deficient?
The answer is - not very easily. When we get too low on oxygen, food or water, it’s fairly obvious. Yes, the consequences can be serious but we get warning signs. The same can’t be said of magnesium deficiency or imbalance.
So how do we get enough magnesium - and what is the right proportion?
One of the major benefits of getting your nutrients from a varied whole food diet is that you're far less likely to end up with too much of one nutrient at the expense of others. Whole foods in general contain all the co-factors and co-nutrients in the right amounts for optimal health. For example, it is important to maintain the proper balance between magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D: an imbalance can lead to some of the chronic diseases mentioned above. Quite simply, we need to take in the ratio of calcium to magnesium of 1-to-1; Western diets tend to contain a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.
I could just take a magnesium supplement, couldn’t I?
You could, yes. But our advice is always to try to improve your diet before you use supplements. The nutrients you’re trying to take in are more easily absorbed at the cellular level when in food form and that’s without all the highly beneficial ‘associated’ nutrients - carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals and antioxidants - that just aren't in most supplements.
How easy is it to up my magnesium intake?
Green leafy vegetables - kale, Swiss chard, spinach, wheatgrass, seaweed - are rich in magnesium and will blend beautifully into smoothies and juices. Effortlessly up your intake of flaxseed, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds by adding them to juices and sprinkling over colourful salads.
We recommend these powerhouse juices for their naturally high levels of magnesium.
Kale, Reishi & Maca Juice
Blended Green Juice
If you fancy whipping up your own creation, you might find this recipe inspiring.
A handful of blueberries
2 handfuls of spinach (sandwich this between the apples for more juice)
1 frozen wheatgrass shot
1 frozen kale shot (or 1 handful organic kale leaves)
Simply juice the apples, cucumber, spinach, blueberries and carrot then transfer to a blender and blend in the frozen wheatgrass and kale juice for 10 seconds. Alternatively, you can defrost the frozen shots for 10 min in a bowl of lukewarm water and simply pour into the already juiced ingredients.
Enjoy the most delicious, magnesium-rich start to your day!