Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies. It plays a role in more than 300 different physiological processes, from making protein to carrying out healthy muscle and nerve function.
While it is important for all those reasons, its role in naturally reducing stress and anxiety have caused people to take a closer look at this mineral lately as they try to eat more foods high in magnesium. “As self-care becomes more of a focus, magnesium-rich foods can be an easy (and inexpensive way) to take good care of yourself,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, and owner of BZ Nutrition. Getting more of this mineral into your diet can promote better sleep and there’s evidence it can help alleviate premenstrual symptoms, fight bloat and ease constipation, too.
The mind-magnesium connection
Magnesium plays an important role in your brain as well as your body. Some evidence has shown it may help with depression and help relieve migraines, says Keri Glassman, RD, owner of Nutritious Life. “Recently, it’s been getting extra attention for its ability to help with sleep. Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters that may help you relax,” she says. “It also plays a role in the regulation of the sleep hormone melatonin. When you don’t have enough magnesium, you may have trouble sleeping.”
Eating enough foods high in magnesium
Most adults need between 310 (women) and 400 (men) milligrams per day, but certain medical conditions can put you at risk of magnesium inadequacy, the term for not getting quite enough to meet your RDA, but still not showing signs of a deficiency, which can include loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and these other symptoms.
If you have GI issues, such as Crohn’s or celiac disease, or type 2 diabetes, it can be harder to reach your magnesium goals. As you age, your body tends to have a tougher time absorbing the mineral and older adults tend not to consume as many magnesium-containing foods as younger ones.
To make sure you’re getting enough of this essential mineral, load up on these foods high in magnesium.