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sábado, 8 de julio de 2017

8 Foods High in Magnesium


We frequently hear about the importance of calcium, but relatively little is mentioned of magnesium. Although we only need a small amount of magnesium per day, do you know that more than 55 percent of Americans don’t get enough of this mineral almost on a daily basis? And magnesium deficiency is not exactly something you should take lightly either as it has been linked to migraine, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis.

In this post, we will understand more about magnesium, the fourth most common mineral in our bodies, and learn how you can get it through everyday foods.

Health Benefits of Magnesium

Like other essential minerals, magnesium cannot be reproduced by the body. It needs to be replenished through the foods we eat every day.
Hundreds of enzymes in the body depend on magnesium for livelihoods. These enzymes are in turn responsible for a wide array of biochemical reactions that keep us alive and healthy, ranging from energy production, protein synthesis to gene function.
Many processes in the body also require the presence of magnesium. It regulates important nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin D in the body, helps to keep bones strong, regulates blood pressure and sugar levels, helps muscles and nerves to stay relaxed, supports the immune system, maintains regular heart rhythm and more.

How Much Magnesium Do We Need?

Looking at the diverse roles that magnesium plays, you are probably thinking that everyone needs a mega dose of magnesium each day to stay alive. On the contrary, a healthy adult needs only about 300 to 400 mg of magnesium per dayaccording to the US Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), though there are experts who recommended a higher intake.
But despite the small number, magnesium deficiency is surprisingly very widespread.

Magnesium Deficiency

Based on the United States NHANES 2005–2006 survey data , nearly one half of all American people have an inadequate magnesium intake from food.
You may be one of them if you eat mostly highly processed foods, get stressed up easily, drink excessive amount of alcohol, coffee or soda, or take in too much salt on a regular basis.
Some medical conditions (like gastrointestinal diseases, malabsorption, diabetes, kidney disease and hyperthyroidism) and drugs (such as amphetamines and diuretics) also affect the absorption of magnesium and/or deplete the magnesium levels in the body.
Due to the many functions performed by magnesium in the body, a deficient in the metal can lead to a whole range of symptoms. These include agitation, anxiety, depression, imbalanced blood sugar levels, headaches, muscle spasms and weakness, tremor, fatigue, irregular heart contraction, increased heart rate, high blood pressure and more. There are also concerns that people who have low magnesium stores may be at risk of cardiovascular disease, immune dysfunction and even cancer.

Get Magnesium Through Foods

To prevent magnesium deficiency, it is important to get the mineral through the foods you eat. The advantages of getting the nutrient through foods are that it is almost impossible to get too much of it, and the magnesium in foods are often more readily absorbed by the body.
However, the challenge is, the magnesium content of most foods is quite low. Generally, the mineral occurs in higher levels in plant foods than animal products. So if you are trying to elevate your magnesium level, you need to know what those magnesium-rich foods are.
I’ve highlighted some of them below as a guide. The mineral content of each food is obtained from USDA’s database.
As with other food-related articles on this website, you should use the info here wisely to design a colorful and well-balanced diet that meets your unique requirements. Feasting exclusively on a small selection of foods or eating foods that you are allergic to is never a good idea.
When preparing these foods, it is also important not to overcook them as doing so would increase magnesium loss, especially for vegetables. Nuts and seeds do, however, tolerate high temperature, and thus retain their magnesium levels, much better than leafy greens.
Okay, let’s get started, and bon appétit!

Foods High in Magnesium

1. Spinach

  • Popeye loves spinach for a good reason. Not only is spinach rich in vitamins, potassium and calcium, it is also high in magnesium. One cup of boiled spinach gives you a whopping 157 mg of the metal! Hence, two cups of spinach would easily satisfy most of your magnesium needs for the day.

    157 mg of magnesium may not sound a lot until you compare it with one large hard-boiled egg which gives you only a minuscule 5 mg. To get the same amount of magnesium from eggs, you’d need to down 32 of them! Not a very appetizing proposition.
    Alternative: Swiss chard is a close second as far as green leaves are concerned. A cup yields about 151 mg of nerve-and-muscle-relaxing magnesium.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

  • If pumpkin seeds are something that you reserve only for the Halloween season, then you are definitely missing out on a good source of magnesium. Just an ounce of these delicious roasted seeds will give you an additional 156 mg of magnesium.

    Besides providing rich amounts of magnesium and other minerals such as phosphorus, manganese, potassium and iron, pumpkin seeds are also used to expel parasites, especially tapeworm and roundworm, from the gastrointestinal tract by TCM physicians.
    Alternatives: Want variety? Sesame seeds is your next viable choice. You get 101 mg of magnesium from one ounce of freshly toasted seeds. Sunflower kernels also contain some of the mineral though in much lesser amount — 37 mg in one ounce.
    Note: Seeds contain a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids. One ounce of pumpkin seeds alone has 5 g of omega-6 linoleic acid. Excessive omega-6 coupled with low omega-3 fatty acids intake could set the stage for chronic systematic inflammation. So, although seeds are full of good nutrients, you definitely would not want to go overboard with them.

3. Soybeans

  • Beans turn out to be another group of magnesium-rich food. Many types of beans contain relatively high amount of magnesium when compared with other food groups, even after boiling. And soybean is one of the pulses with the highest magnesium content. A cup of boiled soybeans contains 148 mg of the nutrient, and nearly 29 g of plant protein. If you are one of those lucky ones who can take beans without bloating or becoming flatulence, soy (non-GMO and organic beans of course) is definitely something you want to include in your diet from time to time.

    But if you cannot tolerate soy, don’t fret. You can opt for fermented soy products, which in my opinion, is a better deal. As the soy proteins and other compounds have been partially broken down by beneficial bacteria, fermented soy products are usually easier to digest and are well-tolerated by most people. But the magnesium content takes a slight dip after fermentation. Tempeh, for instance, an Indonesian traditional probiotic food, has 132 mg of the mineral for the same amount. Not too bad still!
    Note: Unfortunately, soybeans also contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. So the same cautionary note for seeds also applies here. Moderation rules!
    Alternatives: Besides soybeans, boiled black beans, navy beans, cowpeas, kidney beans and chickpeas give 120 mg, 96 mg, 91 mg, 80 mg and 79 mg of magnesium respectivelyfor the same quantity (one cup). Even canned baked beans offer a respectable 69 mg if you are looking for a quick magnesium boost!

4. Brazil Nuts

  • Nuts are another good source of magnesium, especially brazil nuts. An ounce of brazil nuts yields 107 mg of the mineral, as well as other essential nutrients such as selenium, phosphorus, copper, calcium and potassium.

    Alternatives: Cashew nuts (77 mg), almonds (76 mg) and pine nuts (71 mg) are other nuts that give a substantial amount of magnesium for the same amount (1 oz.)
    Note: Nuts are another rich source of omega-6 fatty acids. Excessive omega-6 coupled with insufficient omega-3 fatty acids intake is now believed to be one of the leading causes of chronic inflammation. While there is no need to avoid nuts altogether, you don’t want to overeat nuts and tip the omega-6 to omega-3 balance against yourself.

5. Brown Rice

  • Long-grain brown rice supplies 84 mg of magnesium in just one cup. A meal consisting brown rice, baked beans, spinach and wild salmon (which you will see later) will single-handedly satisfy most of your magnesium needs for the day. A cup of brown rice will also provide you with nearly 88 percent of the daily value for manganese, as well as rice bran oil which some studies suggested can lower serum cholesterol.

    Alternatives: If you are wondering whether normal unfortified white rice would give the same magnesium content as brown rice, note that stripping of the bran also removed a significant portion of the magnesium content from rice, leaving only 19 mg of the mineral.
    Wild rice is a much better choice than white rice after brown rice as far as magnesium is concerned, giving you 52 mg of the metal in one cup.

6. Artichokes

  • One cup of boiled artichoke hearts gives about 71 mg of magnesium. But there is more to this lotus looking plant. According to the Wikipedia, artichoke may also aid digestion, strengthen liver and gall bladder function, and raise HDL/LDL ratio.

    Alternative: Okra, or lady’s finger, is another viable alternative you can consider as it contains 58 mg of magnesium in one cup. According to the University of Illinois, about half of the fiber in okra is soluble fiber, which helps to lower blood cholesterol.

7. Dates

  • If you have a sweet tooth, you will be happy to know that one cup of raw chopped Deglet Noor dates has some 63 mg of magnesium in it. Dates are also a good substitute for white sugar as they provide fiber, potassium, and other minerals and vitamins that aren’t found in plain sugar crystals. This makes dates an ideal energy booster after an intense workout.

    Note: Dates contain a high amount of sugar. A cup of dates alone has 93 g of sugar. Too much sugary food can cause tooth decay and may contribute to systematic inflammation in the body.
    Alternatives: Dates aren’t the only sweet fruit with good amounts of magnesium. Though lower in value, one large eight inch banana also gives you approximately 37 mg of the mineral.

8. Wild Salmon