Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in many of the body’s functions. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is essential for the proper functioning of muscles, nerves, and bones.
10 Health Benefits of Magnesium
Despite its importance, many people do not get enough magnesium in their diet, and a deficiency can lead to a range of health problems. Here are 10 health benefits of magnesium and why it is so important for overall health.
1. Helps with Muscle Function
Magnesium is involved in muscle contractions and relaxation, and a deficiency can lead to muscle cramps, spasms, and weakness. Magnesium is also important for maintaining normal muscle function, and a deficiency can lead to muscle weakness and fatigue.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure and can lower the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). In fact, several studies have found that people with higher levels of magnesium in their diet have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
3. Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Magnesium plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar levels, and low levels of magnesium have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, several studies have found that people with higher levels of magnesium in their diet have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. Helps with Bone Health
Magnesium is essential for the proper development and maintenance of bones. It helps to regulate calcium levels and plays a role in the formation of bone. Adequate levels of magnesium are important for maintaining bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.
5. May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Magnesium may help to lower the risk of heart disease by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, and regulating cholesterol levels. Several studies have found that people with higher levels of magnesium in their diet have a lower risk of heart disease.
6. Helps with Sleep
Magnesium has a relaxing effect on the body and can help with sleep. It has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
7. May Reduce the Risk of Migraines
Some studies have found that magnesium supplements may help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Migraines are often accompanied by low levels of magnesium, and increasing intake of magnesium may help to prevent or reduce the severity of migraines.
8. May Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Magnesium has been shown to have a calming effect on the brain and may help to reduce anxiety and depression. It has been used as a natural treatment for anxiety and has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression in some people.
9. May Improve Exercise Performance
Magnesium plays a role in energy metabolism and may help to improve exercise performance. It is involved in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. Adequate levels of magnesium are important for optimal muscle function and endurance during exercise.
10. May Reduce the Risk of Asthma
Some studies have found that magnesium may help to reduce the risk of asthma and improve symptoms in people with asthma. Magnesium has been shown to relax bronchial smooth muscle, which can help to reduce the severity of asthma symptoms.
What Foods Have the Most Magnesium?
There are many foods that are high in magnesium. Here are some good sources of magnesium.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, kale, and collard greens are all high in magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach contains 157 mg of magnesium, while one cup of cooked kale contains 84 mg.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of magnesium. Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are all high in magnesium. One ounce of almonds contains 80 mg of magnesium, while one ounce of cashews contains 74 mg.
Whole grains are a good source of magnesium. Oats, quinoa, and brown rice are all high in magnesium. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 118 mg of magnesium, while one cup of cooked oats contains 57 mg.
Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are high in magnesium. One cup of cooked black beans contains 120 mg of magnesium, while one cup of cooked lentils contains 71 mg.
Avocado is a good source of magnesium. One avocado contains 58 mg of magnesium.
Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, with one ounce containing 64 mg.
Bananas are a good source of magnesium, with one medium banana containing 32 mg.
Salmon is a good source of magnesium, with 3 ounces containing 53 mg.
It’s important to note that the amount of magnesium in these foods can vary depending on factors such as soil quality and processing methods. To get the most magnesium from your diet, it’s important to choose whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Magnesium
As you can see, magnesium is an important mineral that plays a crucial role in many aspects of our health. If you think you may be deficient in magnesium, speak to your healthcare provider about the best ways to increase your intake. This may include dietary changes, supplements, or a combination of both.
Sources & Additional Reading
Cleveland Clinic: 7 Foods That Are High in Magnesium
Healthline: 12 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Magnesium
Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He's also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.