A critical mineral for maintaining electrolyte balance, helping to generate energy and helping in stress management via the adrenal system, magnesium is a very important nutrient for the body.
Making sure you get adequate intake is easy when you focus on these foods:
- Green leafy vegetables – Leafy greens are a source of chlorophyll, the natural antioxidant in plants which gives them their green colour. As an antioxidant, it is helpful in removing toxins from our body and eliminating free radicals, which can lead to cancer and other diseases. These greens are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium and the B vitamins. The B vitamins play several roles including energy production, metabolism of cholesterol, absorption of iron, fighting stress and supporting our adrenals. Magnesium also supports the adrenals, as well as helps us to sleep and is responsible for muscle relaxation. Vitamin K is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails and vitamin A plays a role in good eyesight and is very important for embryonic development in expectant mothers. If you want to take things up a notch, add in bitter greens, like radicchio and endive, which will help support healthy liver function.
- Amaranth – Ground into a flour or left as small grains, amaranth is an ancient grain which is often found in cereals. The grains themselves can be cooked whole and made into a hot cereal like porridge, or the flour can be used to make bread as well as several other savoury baked goods. Amaranth is a gluten free grain option, which grows in some places as a weed. It is a great source of protein, and fiber and contains healthy fats. It also is a source of magnesium, which helps you sleep, eases muscle cramps and aids in adrenal health.
- Cacao – Nutrient rich cacao, found in its raw form or as dark, bitter chocolate, with its has natural polyphenols, which act as antioxidants in the body, helping to protect and detoxify, and responsible for removing cancer causing free radicals. It also releases positive mood boosting or happiness chemicals, which work together with the antioxidants to make your mood soar high and your happiness increase! In addition, it offers a high level of magnesium, and is great to use in baking or smoothies.
- Legumes – While we traditionally think of legumes as being the go to for a plant based protein source, they’re also a really great source of magnesium. White beans especially, contain increased levels of this critical mineral, and these beans also contain calcium. Plus, they’re so versatile! Not only can you use them in your main course and put them into soups and stews, but they work in desserts, breakfast, baked goods and for all your snacking needs!
- Sweet Potato – Rich in magnesium and fiber, these delicious, soul warming veggies are fiber filled rock stars. They are not only filled with stress-reducing magnesium, but also are impressive when it comes to beta carotene l. Offering higher levels than carrots, these are good for your eyesight, and also contribute generously to your Vitamin A needs, which plays a role in helping you maintain healthy skin. Furthermore, purple sweet potatoes have also been shown to have unique anti-inflammatory properties and offer high levels of antioxidants. Cook these up to eat for dinner, or use them in baking to offer extra moisture and replace some of the sugar.
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition