I remember way back in the 90s when I was studying to become a nutritionist, reading a book entitled “The magic of magnesium”. The title has stuck in my memory to this present day! Back then magnesium wasn’t recognised as much as it is now for its importance in women’s health. So this little book was a bit before it’s time.
What happens if you don’t get enough Magnesium?
Lack of magnesium affects the hormone and nervous systems as well as the immune system. Magnesium helps us produce energy, forms bone structure and affects how we metabolise sugar.
Yet it is thought that 80% of women have less than optimal levels of this mineral. It’s not just older women either. More than half of teenage girls have magnesium intakes below the recommended daily amount!
Magnesium is particularly used up under stress and through menstruation.
How do you know if you need more magnesium?
A standard blood test for magnesium is not very useful since most of the body’s magnesium is stored in bones, muscles and soft tissue.
If you have any of the following issues, definitely think about magnesium:
- Menstrual migraines
- PMS (multiple studies show magnesium supplementation was linked with a reduction of PMS symptoms)
- Painful periods
- Anxiety and depression
- Low thyroid function
- Endometriosis. Sufferers have been found to have lower magnesium intake than average.
- PCOS. Lower magnesium is associated with cysts, insulin resistance, higher male hormones & inflammation
What foods are rich in magnesium?
Where can you get your recommended 300mg magnesium daily?
The best food sources are beans, seeds (ground up to help absorption of magnesium), dark chocolate, mackerel, spinach, almonds and cashews. Avocados also contain some.
Meat does contains some but not super high amounts.
All in all, getting enough magnesium through food can be quite a challenge. If you have any of the above health issues, a supplement might be beneficial. But check with a practitioner first, especially if you are on medication.
Magnesium Rich Recipes
Check out these recipes which are high in magnesium and calcium. Choose from Broccoli Almond Protein Salad, Toasted Trail Mix, Gingerbread Smoothie and Chickpea Flatbread Pizza. The recipes are all gluten free as well.
The type of magnesium supplement you choose is important. Magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate are good forms. Avoid magnesium carbonate or magnesium oxide as these forms are not so well absorbed.
You will know if you have taken too much magnesium, as you will get diarrhoea!