Habitude Fitness

Good Habitude: Magnesium!

The other day, I had a student in my swim class come down with an acute muscle cramp. As she swam to the side to rest and stretch, many people started to chime in on their own struggles with muscles spasms and how they tend to treat them at home. One idea that was new knowledge to many of them was the use of magnesium. As the conversation continued, they asked me if I would do some research and present some evidence and ideas on the use of magnesium.

Maintaining a balance of magnesium in the body may help prevent muscles spasms and cramping. -Livestrong.com

To learn more on how magnesium is transported throughout the body, you will need to know about Ion transportation. It is an activity that allows magnesium to directly engage with your muscles. Truly amazing!

Essential for more than 300 reactions in the body and needed by every organ, magnesium, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, is essential for optimal health. Magnesium is particularly crucial for the kidneys, heart and muscles; it also helps energy production, is important for bones and teeth and regulates some vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin D and zinc. Low magnesium levels can cause restless leg syndrome, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, irritability and even seizures. The University of Maryland notes that people who suffer with ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis and diabetes are at particularly risk of low magnesium levels. A doctor should always be consulted before taking any magnesium tablets. -Livestrong.com

When it comes to dealing with muscle soreness, cramping, or spasms, we have all heard: eat a banana! It’s the potassium found in bananas that helps to treat that Charlie hoarse attack in the middle of the night. Potassium is a mineral that is vital for metabolism and helps to provide optimal function of the body systems (think tissues, cells, and organs).

You can always choose to take vitamins and mineral supplements to ensure you are getting the proper amount. However, many minerals, including potassium and magnesium, are found in the whole foods that we can intentionally choose to eat daily.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium for men is 420mg, and for  women, 320mg. The RDA for potassium for adults is 4,700mg. -Livestrong.com

Seeds, nuts, and nut butters are one of the richest sources of magnesium you can consume. I have been enjoying pumpkin and sunflower seeds lately. Pumpkin seeds are the richest food source of both magnesium and potassium. A 1/4-cup serving provides 162mg of magnesium and 233mg of potassium. I like to keep a stash in my car to snack on while I am running errands! Check out how to make your own nut butter. I have tried this – it’s easy and delicious!

Homemade Almond Butter. Nuts+Food Processor is all you need!

Homemade Almond Butter. Nuts+Food Processor is all you need!

Fish is a lean protein that is also rich in these minerals. Salmon is among the highest. Check out one of my favorite five-minute meals and see how I effortlessly incorporate salmon into my diet.

Getting enough magnesium is yet another reason to eat your green leafy vegetables. But don’t stop there! Be sure to include broccoli, artichoke, beet greens, carrot juice, Swiss chard, kale, okra, spinach, and carrot juice! Potatoes, wheat bran, and oatmeal are also good choices to supply you with your mineral needs.

Beautiful and delicious Swiss chard. Check out hot to incorporate this into your meal planning!

Beautiful and delicious Swiss chard. Check out how to incorporate this into your meal planning!

Beans and legumes are also rich in magnesium. White beans offer the most magnesium and potassium. There are over 1,000 mg of potassium and 113 mg of magnesium in just one cup! All beans are a great source of these minerals including the black bean. One of my favorite Black Bean dishes is Beans Ranchero!

Last, and certainly not least, is a fun and tasty source of magnesium: cacao! However, you should not run out to Sam’s Club yet to buy the economy pack of Hersey’s bars! Read what Dr. Oz has to say here:

Cacao looks like “cocoa” because it is actually the starter ingredient for all chocolate. Cacao is a fruit that grows on a tree, and inside this fruit are pods (think of kidney-bean size and shape) full of cacao nibs. These nibs contain lots of nutritional goodness but are actually bitter in taste (just like a 85-100% cocoa bar would be). Raw cacao is a super-rich source of magnesium which helps our metabolism by reducing the negative impact of stress on our bodies. Magnesium is Mother Nature’s muscle relaxant, and, by turning down our fight-or-flight response, it keeps things like our cortisol levels in check and our digestive system working great. Also, cacao contains theobromine and anandamide – theobromine is a natural stimulant and anandamide is an endorphin (think “runner’s high” or a feeling of bliss). Together, these nutrients stimulate the body internally to get your engines revving for more metabolic burn. You can consume raw cacao in bars, in powder form or as nibs. Add it to smoothies, trail mixes, salads, or just grab a handful – about 1-2 tablespoons daily. –Dr. Oz.comphoto

Personally, I enjoy eating a variety of foods and strive towards a balanced diet. Nature’s greatest source of health can be found in the foods we eat. I also choose to take a magnesium supplement at night as I find it helps with calcium absorption, muscle relaxation, and better quality sleep. (This has been approved by my doctor as I hope you choose to consult yours as well!)

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this research for you!

Your Trainer,

Works Cited

“List of Foods Rich in Magnesium & Potassium.” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2013.

“List of Foods Rich in Magnesium & Potassium.” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2013.

“What Are the Benefits of Taking Magnesium Tablets?” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2013.

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1 CommentLeave a comment

  • So glad the homemade nut butter worked for you. Calcium magnesium powder really helped with my leg cramps when I was pregnant. Such key minerals that our bodies need, and I like to tell myself that Hershey Kisses are a totally legit source. 😉

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