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In many ways magnesium is like the bassist of a rock band: Though few people give it much thought, and it clearly doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, it’s a crucial link to holding things together. Without magnesium we would be sluggish, weaker and bloated.
That’s because this mineral is a major player in a range of bodily functions, which is why research keeps on piling up like dirty laundry that getting your fill of magnesium is vital for the fittest body possible. Magnesium is essential for optimal health because it’s part of hundreds of enzyme systems in the body that impact a wide diversity of functions, ranging from energy metabolism, muscle and nerve functioning and bone building.
In recent years, magnesium has proven to be an especially strong ally in the battle against diabetes. It appears that it helps improve insulin sensitivity in the body by allowing for better blood glucose control, a benefit that can also help you maintain more steady energy levels throughout the day and perhaps even help keep your midriff in bikini-ready shape.
In fact, researchers from Indiana University discovered that increased intakes of magnesium can reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions such as excess belly fat, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol numbers and high blood sugar that raises disease risk — by up to 30 percent.
Adequate magnesium can reduce the occurrence of head-pounding migraines, which can definitely put a dent in your training plans. It can also alleviate insomnia so you spend less time tossing and turning at night. Magnesium may even improve your lifting power via its role in increasing muscular contractions. Heck, the multi-tasker has been shown to aid in beating the dreaded PMS bloat by lessening water retention.
Unfortunately, food surveys suggest that up to 60 percent of Americans consume less than the recommended daily requirement for magnesium, which is 310 to 320 milligrams a day for adult women. If you’ve got a baby bump that number jumps to up to 400 milligrams. The reason for the shortfall? Magnesium is mostly found in plant-based whole foods that are sorely lacking in many people’s diets. But nailing your daily quota is as easy as sprinkling these magnesium powerhouses into your diet throughout the day.
If you eat: Oatmeal
Add: Pumpkin seeds
These jack-o-lantern cast-offs are brimming with magnesium, a 2-tablespoon serving provides about 25 percent of your daily requirement for this essential mineral. As a bonus, the seeds deliver a healthy dose of bone-building phosphorus. You can also add them to salads and soups or eat them straight up as an out-of-hand snack.
If you eat: Sandwiches
Add: Swiss chard
Among the nutritional overachievers known as dark greens, Swiss chard leads the way when it comes to magnesium. The leaves are also loaded with bone-strengthening vitamin K. Sneak them into your lunch sandwiches, scrambled eggs, stir-frys, salads and pasta dishes.
If you eat: Yogurt
Add: Hemp hearts
Among the many reasons to work these nutty-tasting seeds into your diet everyday is the payload of magnesium they supply – roughly 70 percent of the Daily Value in a 3-tablespoon serving. You’re muscles will also benefit from plenty of additional protein.
If you eat: Toast
Add: Almond Butter
When it comes to magnesium, this delicious nut butter can help spread the love. On top of being a notable source of the big M, almond butter is also plush in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
If you eat: Salads
Add: Mung beans
Good for much more than bean sprouts, a quarter-cup serving of these legumes dish out about 140 milligrams of magnesium. As a bonus, your waistline will benefit from the lofty 10 grams of fiber. So cook up a bunch and use them to add a nutritional boost to salads and soups.
If you eat: Protein shakes
Add: Wheat germ
Grains such as wheat are made up of three parts: the starchy endosperm, the fiber- rich bran layer and the germ. It’s the germ where much of the nutrients such as magnesium that whole grains are lauded for are found. This means that inexpensive wheat germ is a great way to elevate your diet with added nutrition. So whirl a couple tablespoons into your post-training shakes for an easy way to get about 10 percent of the magnesium you need each day.
If you eat: Pancakes
Add: Peanut flour
Talk about flour power. Peanut flour, which is made by very finely grinding partially de-fatted roasted peanuts, is a low-carb flour that packs in plenty of magnesium and up to 32 grams of protein in each half cup serving. Try using it as a replacement for up to half of the flour called for in a recipe when making your next batch of pancakes or waffles. It’s also great stirred into oatmeal.
If you think your diet is coming up short in magnesium it is possible to turn to supplementation to help makeup any shortfall. You can try taking about 200 milligrams daily with magnesium chloride or magnesium glycinate have good absorption rates.
One other potential means to improving your magnesium status is through Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate that can be absorbed into your body as you enjoy a relaxing soak.