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Importance of Magnesium in the Diet

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for a large number of basic body functions including metabolism, protein synthesis and bone formation. Recommended daily allowances of magnesium are 300mg per day for adult males and 270mg per day for adult females. Because magnesium is involved in a large variety of activities in the body, a deficiency of magnesium will cause a large array of symptoms and problems.

While magnesium is an important part of the diet, there are few foods that contain large amounts of this essential mineral. Following a balanced diet with adequate amounts of grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products will allow an individual to achieve the recommended daily allowances.

The majority of magnesium can be found inside bones where, along with calcium, it is a major contributor to proper bone growth and strength. A deficiency in magnesium will result in brittle bones in adults or improper bone growth and diminished size in children. Magnesium is also essential for the body´s ability to regulate body temperature.

Maintaining the proper body temperature is necessary since so many biological functions in the human body require a precise temperature for optimum efficiency. Things like immune response and metabolism are extremely affected when body temperature fluctuates.

Magnesium is also necessary for a number of disease prevention mechanisms. Magnesium is required for both the storage and release of energy within the cell, and also plays a pivotal role in regulating blood sugar levels. A deficiency of magnesium could result in symptoms associated with diabetes and otherwise cause fatigue and lack of energy in the individual.

Magnesium is also highly important in the regulation of blood pressure. A deficiency of magnesium could result in a cardiovascular event such as a stroke or heart attack in individuals already at risk for such events.

The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is rather easy to achieve in individuals with proper diet habits. While no single food is a great source of magnesium, a wide variety of foods contain ample supplies. Grains, breads, cereals and pasta all contain a good amount of magnesium. Green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and romaine lettuce also contain magnesium.

And finally, healthy sources of protein such as fish, nuts and beans contain good amounts of magnesium along with most dairy products. A variety of foods in your diet is the key in achieving the recommended daily allowance of magnesium.