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Marvellous magnesium

Marvellous magnesium
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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

The mind-magnesium connection
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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.”

That’s why so many of these bedtime snacks that help you sleep actually work.

Eating enough foods high in magnesium

Eating enough foods high in magnesium
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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.

Spinach (156 mg per cup, cooked)

Spinach (156 mg per cup, cooked)
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Despite what Popeye portrayed, this leafy green is about more than just iron. Two cups of cooked spinach will get you to your RDA if you’re a woman, though that can be a lot, literally, to swallow. Try subbing steamed or wilted spinach in for pasta and using it as a base for meatballs, suggests Zeitlin.

Discover the best 15 sources of plant-based protein.

Hemp seeds (197 mg per 3 tablespoons)

Hemp seeds (197 mg per 3 tablespoons)
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These mild, nutty-tasting seeds are a superfood for sure. In addition to a hefty dose of protein and plant-based omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, less than a quarter cup provides nearly 200 mg of magnesium. Sprinkle them on oatmeal or salads, or stir them into smoothies or soups.

Here are 6 omega 6-rich foods you should be eating.

Nuts (229 mg per 100g)

Nuts (229 mg per 100g)
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You already know nuts as a great source of protein, fibre and healthy fat. Well, they have a decent amount of magnesium, too. One ounce of almonds delivers 20 percent of your RDA for the mineral. Cashews and Brazil nuts are other top picks for a magnesium-rich snack. Just be cautious about how much you eat, since nuts can be high in kilojoules.

These are the 5 healthiest nuts you can eat.

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Pumpkin seeds (262 mg per 100g)

Pumpkin seeds (262 mg per 100g)
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Like nuts, seeds are a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are a great source of magnesium specifically, with a quarter cup providing 42 percent of the RDA. You’ll get plenty of fibre with that, especially if you eat the shells. Enjoy a handful as a snack, or sprinkle them on soup or salad.

Nut butters (49 mg per 2 tablespoons)

Nut butters (49 mg per 2 tablespoons)
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Another way to get your daily dose of magnesium is by eating nut or seed butters. Like whole seeds and nuts, these are foods that are high in magnesium: Two tablespoons give you almost 50 milligrams. Just opt for natural no-sugar-added varieties, or make your own.

Avocados (200 mg each)

Avocados (200 mg each)
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These green monsters may get noticed for their healthy fats, but they’re also a source of nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and that includes 4 percent of the daily value of magnesium per serving, says Sylvia Klinger, RD. What’s more, a study of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data that compared avocado consumers to non-consumers found that consuming avocados may be associated with an overall better diet, higher intake of essential nutrients, and lower body weight.

Learn the 11 healthy, high-fat foods you should be eating.

Dark chocolate (40-65 mg per square)

Dark chocolate (40-65 mg per square)
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Is there anything chocolate can’t do? Cocoa powder has 27 mg of magnesium per tablespoon, so chocolate bars have a good amount per square as well – and that content increases with the amount of cacao in the bar. In other words, the darker the chocolate, the higher the cacao percentage, and the more magnesium you’ll get.

Here’s what happens to your body when you eat chocolate.

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