Magnesium is an extremely important mineral for us humans as our body doesn’t produce it naturally, so we must obtain it through food or supplements. Magnesium is mostly found in plant-based whole foods, and unfortunately, a lot of us just aren’t eating enough of these foods at the moment.
Magnesium plays an important role in muscle function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, immune system functioning and even digestive movement all things we should be working on during lockdown. In fact, research has shown that magnesium is linked to over 300 enzymatic roles in the body. Without it, we would feel sluggish, weaker and bloated so it’s safe to say magnesium is a pretty "big deal".
What causes magnesium deficiency?
This deficiency can be brought on by poor food choices but specifically from eating excess carbohydrates and excess sugar. Your body has to burn through your magnesium stores to help metabolise the excess sugar to break it down for energy. As a result, this puts your body into a nutrient debt. If you experience a lot of stress this can also cause magnesium deficiency as it causes the body to burn it like rocket fuel.
How do I know if I’m deficient?
You can go down the route of a blood test, but this is limited as magnesium is also found inside our bones, muscles, and brain tissue. As a result, magnesium blood levels can be normal despite having negative body stores. A good indicator of deficiency or lower than normal levels is to pay close attention to physical signs and symptom. Common symptoms which suggest this are muscle cramps as a result of muscle spasms, difficulty falling or staying asleep, anxiety, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and even constipation can all be signs of deficiency.
What foods can I eat to boost levels?
Plants, and particularly grains, have more magnesium than meat or dairy. A simple rule of thumb is that magnesium usually accompanies fibre. If you don’t want to supplement and really want to acquire magnesium through food sources alone, here are a few foods that can help magnesium deficiency symptoms:
* Pumpkin seeds
* Sunflower seeds
* Black beans
* Leafy greens
* Sesame seeds
* High-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids or above)
Other ways to boost magnesium levels
I like to try and get my magnesium from food sources but If you think your diet is still coming up short it is possible to turn to supplementation to help make up any shortfall. One thing to be wary of is too much magnesium is consumed it can cause a laxative effect, so start slowly.
Personally, I don’t think you can’t beat an Epsom salts bath after a hard day’s work to top up your magnesium levels. Epsom salt chemically known as magnesium sulphate is easily absorbed through the skin and immediately goes to work inside our bodies. The magnesium ions break apart from Epsom salt molecules and begin to relieve stress by promoting the production of serotonin and reducing the effects of adrenaline. Magnesium also plays a critical role in the production of energy in cells, helping us to feel invigorated without causing feelings of restlessness or anxiety. Epsom salts are absorbed through the skin also works to relieve muscle tension, pain, and inflammation in joints.
Try to incorporate as many of the foods mentioned above or even, try soaking in an Epsom salt bath with a couple of squares of dark chocolate, three to four times per week to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve your cardiovascular health and you will sleep like a baby.
If you feel your biggest hurdle to living healthy lockdown is accountability, why not consider becoming an online member with EDA? We share two different workouts per day and our members get access to a private Facebook group, where our coaching staff can support you with training, diet and cheer you on with your lockdown health journey. You can find out more here.