Magnesium is one of the major minerals and next to potassium, it is the most important mineral for our bodies.
Magnesium is important in the formation of our bones and teeth as well as many of our cellular functions including energy and protein formation. This mineral also involved in maintaining the electrical charge of our cells, similar to potassium.
Symptoms of deficiency in this mineral are similar to those in a potassium deficiency and include muscle cramps, mental confusion, heart disturbances, headaches and loss of appetite. It is very common among the elderly and woman during the menstrual cycle.
Studies indicate that low levels of this mineral could increase susceptibility to many diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, PMS and cancer. Magnesium’s role in preventing heart attacks is widely accepted and individuals that have had sudden fatal heart attacks show a low level of this mineral.
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for women is 300 milligrams and 350 for men. It is best however to base the amount needed on the weight of the person and a good rule of thumb is a little less then 3 milligrams for every pound or 6 milligrams for every kilogram. Since a typical diet is heavy in processed foods and the processing takes out so much of this vital mineral, the majority of the population is deficient.
Foods that are rich in Magnesium are seaweeds, nuts, whole grains and tofu while foods such as meats, fish and other fruits are low in this mineral.
The following list provides the magnesium content in milligrams per 3 ounce servings.
Kelp, 760 milligrams
Wheat bran, 490 milligrams
Wheat germ, 336 milligrams
Tofu, 111 milligrams
Almonds, 270 milligrams
Buckwheat, 229 milligrams
Molasses, 258 milligrams
English Walnuts, 131 milligrams
Brown rice, 88 milligrams
Ways to include more magnesium rich foods in your diet.
1. Add wheat germ to your cereal or oatmeal. A 3.5-ounce serving of wheat germ and almonds will provide your daily RDA.
2. Bake oatmeal cookies and add almonds and molasses
3. Snack on almonds, pecans or brazil nuts.
4. Use kelp or other seaweed items in place of salt for seasonings
5. Make your own trail mix using sunflower seeds (38 milligrams), raisins (35 milligrams) almonds (270 milligrams) and pecans (142 milligrams).
6. Cook brown rice and add beans (37 milligrams) and season with kelp or dulse (another seaweed) for a nutritional power packed meal.
Eating a diet that contains a wide variety of whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables is the best way to insure you are meeting your nutritional needs.