Magnesium is an essential mineral that our body needs in order to function properly, which we need to consume from our diet. It has an important role in both physiological functions and the biochemical processes –in fact, magnesium has a mutually dependent relationship with other minerals like calcium, potassium and sodium.
Why we need magnesium
Magnesium is important to our health because it plays a part in many processes in our body such as:
- Helping release energy from our food (more specifically it helps energy metabolism)
- Contributing to the maintenance of bones and teeth
- Contributing to the proper function of our muscles by regulating their ability to relax after contracting. If your magnesium levels are low, then you may experience muscle cramps and spasms from over-contraction.
- Helping reduce tiredness and fatigue
- Contributing to the electrolyte balance in our bodies
- Contributing to the normal function of the nervous system
- The process of cell division, an essential process where new cells form in the body
The recommended daily intake for adults is 375mg, though needs will vary slightly depending on gender. If you suspect you are not getting enough magnesium, speak to your GP- they may be able to provide dietary advice, or can recommend taking a supplement.
Foods rich in magnesium
Magnesium is widely available as it’s present in both animal and plant foods- it’s the mineral found in chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants. Aim to include the following in your diet, as they provide a good source of magnesium:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fish- both white and oily
- Dairy products, including milk