10 x magnesium-rich foods for more vitality

healthy diet
healthy diet

Magnesium, along with salt, is the most important mineral that we lose during exercise. This mineral has vital functions in the body and is crucial for our vitality. Yet 60% of all adults in the West are deficient in it. Discover why magnesium is so important and how you can boost your energy with magnesium-rich foods.

The effect of magnesium

Magnesium-rich foods are more important than you might think. The mineral plays a role in numerous body processes including more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Enzymes are proteins in your body that start or speed up biochemical reactions. Magnesium has the important function of activating a large part of these enzymes, especially those that have to do with energy management.

In addition, magnesium also plays a role in the production of proteins. And while calcium is often considered the holy grail for building strong bones, magnesium is also essential for this.

In the muscles, a balance between calcium and magnesium is necessary for proper muscle tone. Magnesium has a relaxing effect and calcium mainly makes the muscles tense. This mineral is needed with every muscle contraction.

Another crucial function is to support the biorhythm. Magnesium helps to relax the nervous system and is an important factor for sleeping well and staying asleep.

How much magnesium do you need?

Your body contains about 25 grams of magnesium. About half is stored in the bones and teeth. A quarter to a third is stored in the muscles and the rest is free in the body. The amount in the bones is relatively constant unless you create a deficiency. Then your body will extract the necessary minerals from the bones as a solution. It is therefore important to prevent this by regularly eating magnesium-rich foods. 

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

The RDA for men is 350 milligrams of magnesium per day, for the average adult woman it is 300 mg. This is enough for almost everyone. A higher intake may be necessary during pregnancy, breastfeeding, an intestinal disorder or intense exercise and sweating.

Why is a magnesium deficiency so common? 

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in our body. Yet more than 60% of adults in the West are deficient. 

One of the reasons is soil depletion. Our soils no longer contain as much magnesium as they used to. This also means that even magnesium-rich foods contain less and less of this mineral. 

In addition, we unconsciously consume more minerals than what is “normal” by exposing our body to all kinds of stress factors. Processed foods, medicines and contact with chemicals increase the need for magnesium to bring the body back into balance. 

Mental stress and the natural cycle in women can also cause a deficiency. This deficiency can lead to an imbalance in hormones, which causes even more problems. 

So even with a lot of magnesium-rich food you can still create a deficiency. So the solution is not only to focus on a higher intake, but also to reduce the number of stressors in your life. 

What are the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency?

Since magnesium is so important, it’s no surprise that a deficiency can lead to various problems throughout the body. Some of the main symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps or contraction
  • Muscle twitching in the eyelid or thigh
  • Tremors
  • Painful menstruation
  • High bloodpressure
  • Tingling or numbness, especially in the hands and feet
  • Anxiety, Stress & Irritability
  • Depressive feelings

10 x magnesium-rich foods

Magnesium-rich foods will be increasingly difficult to find due to soil depletion. It can help to choose organic food. In organic cultivation, crops are changed more often in the fields. And less or no harmful pesticides are used. A double benefit for your magnesium household. 
If you also choose one of these magnesium-rich foods, you will soon be bursting with energy! 

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Vegetables are, of course, at the top of this list. Green leafy vegetables in particular are rich in all kinds of vitamins and minerals such as iron and magnesium. Think spinach, endive and kale. Green leafy vegetables are also high in fiber and ideally, you should eat a serving of them every day. This is not as difficult as it seems. For example, you can blend spinach into a green smoothie in the morning and use it in a salad or in your sandwich in the afternoon. With your dinner you can use spinach in soup or in spinach puree.  

2. Water

When you think of magnesium-rich foods, you probably don’t immediately think of water. Since we should drink it every day, it is an important source of minerals. Water (usually) contains a lot of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. Tap water is fine in itself, but each type of water has its own “mineral profile”. If you buy bottled water, you can compare on the labels which brand of water contains the most magnesium. By simply choosing the right water you can already increase your magnesium intake! 

3. Nuts

Nuts are high in protein and healthy fats. Several of these are also high in magnesium: almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts, among others. Nuts can be used in many different ways: you can find them in granola, you can decorate a salad with them or you can buy delicious nut paste for a smoothie or on a cracker. 

4. Raw cocoa

Cocoa is a superfood rich in magnesium! Unfortunately, chocolate tends to belong to the sweets and fast food category. This is of course because chocolate contains a lot of sugar. You could opt for dark chocolate, but that also contains a lot of sugar. 

The best option is to use raw cocoa. This can be in the form of powder, which you can put in a smoothie or pastry, or you can make a healthy chocolate milk out of it. In the supermarket and especially in the organic shops you will also find cocoa nibs, which are small pieces of the cocoa nut. If you use them as a topping in a yogurt, you won’t be bothered by the bitter taste. 

5. Avocados

Avocados have become extremely popular in recent years. The fruit has really become an indispensable part of our diet. There are even avocado restaurants that dedicate their entire menu to this green gold. The avocado is best known as a source of good fats, which give the fruit a wonderfully creamy structure. As a result, avocados are not only tasty in slices on a salad, but you can also use them in smoothies and creamy guacamoles.    

In addition to the good fats, the avocado is full of soluble fiber and numerous vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin B6, copper, iron and folic acid and of course magnesium. A medium-sized avocado contains 58 mg of magnesium. 

6. Bananas

Bananas have long been known among athletes as a potassium- and magnesium-rich food. They also contain many other important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. 

Bananas are the ultimate “fast” food. You can remove the skin in 3 seconds, and a few moments later you can switch up a gear again thanks to the fast sugars. Always choose ripe bananas! The carbohydrates in unripe bananas consist mainly of resistant starch, which does not digest well and lowers blood sugar levels. 

7. Legumes

Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas are very popular as meat substitutes because they are high in protein. Chickpeas are also used to make hummus, a tasty and healthy salad for your sandwich or for dipping vegetables. 

A serving of beans quickly provides you with a third of the RDA of magnesium. In addition, legumes are also a good source of fiber. This allows them to lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease. 

8. Pseudo grains

Pseudo grains are actually seeds and not grasses. The most famous are buckwheat and quinoa. They contain more protein and antioxidants than “real” grains such as wheat. They are rich in fiber and provide a nice dose of magnesium. In addition, they do not contain gluten, which causes problems for many people. Gluten sensitivity can disrupt the absorption of nutrients, and therefore also minerals such as magnesium. 

9. Seaweed and Algae

When you think of seaweed, you might think of green dung. But algae are real superfoods and quite tasty. So give them a chance. Chlorella and spirulina are often used in powder form in smoothies. Fresh seaweed is often eaten as a side dish with sushi. 

Seaweed and algae are rich in proteins and contain iron and iodine in addition to magnesium. Some types of seaweed and algae contain even more iron than spinach. Especially the types ‘dulse’ and ‘kombu’ contain a lot of iron. 

10. Mackerel

Mackerel is an oily fish, just like salmon, herring and sardines. These are of course mainly known for the omega 3 fatty acids. But mackerel contains many other healthy nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium and the antioxidant coenzyme Q-10. 100 grams of mackerel contains about 97 mg of magnesium, which is about a third of the RDI.

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