Magnesium is the most important mineral which a healthy body needs. One understands about the essential vitamins, proteins and irons to keep us healthy - we overlook the importance of magnesium which helps the body absorb all these nutrients.
A deficiency of magnesium can cause various health issues, which are at times dangerous. The body cells use magnesium as it regulates cell metabolism such as RNA and DNA synthesis, cell growth and reproduction.
There are 350 biochemical reactions which either don’t occur or are inefficient due to deficiency of magnesium. The mineral behaves like an electric current that flows through the nerves.
Earlier magnesium supplements were used by obstetricians only in the form of magnesium sulphate injections to treat high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia for pregnant women. Now, physicians treat patients with acute heart problems like heart attacks and heart arrhythmias, diabetes, asthma and chronic fatigue symptoms.
A person can suffer from cramps, muscle pains, neck pains, tension headaches, constipation, urinary spasms and menstrual cramps all due to impaired contractions and muscle movements when there is deficient magnesium content in the body. This can also cause mood swings and emotional irritation and depression.Reasons for Magnesium deficiency:
When aluminum is present in food, through drink containers or cooking utensils it depletes magnesium.
High consumption of white flour, fat and red meat proteins inhibit magnesium absorption. Excessive use of baking powder, anti-perspirants and stress also are responsible for magnesium deficiency. Too much of chocolate, coffee and dairy products cannot be discounted.Balance between Calcium and Magnesium:
Calcium in excess can be a problem as it is stored in bones and causes osteoporosis, fragile bones and causes calcification of bones in extreme cases. Calcium which is unabsorbed also causes gall stones, kidney stones and arthritis.
Magnesium is not harmful when taken naturally or orally, an excessive amount is extremely rare – and can occur only when taken as injections or through intravenous fluids.
Magnesium helps to regulate the amount of calcium in cells. Both calcium and magnesium are equally important. Scientists have found that “never take calcium without magnesium “is an apt thumb rule. Both the minerals are alkaline in nature, it is best to take them with apple cider vinegar or vitamin C for proper absorption.Natural sources of Magnesium:
Whole grains like wheat bran and oats are rich in magnesium - when the flour is refined it loses the mineral.
Nuts are also rich in this mineral - almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, peanuts and walnuts.
The seeds of vegetables like pumpkin and squash - when dried and peeled are an excellent source of magnesium.
Potatoes and leafy vegetables contain the mineral in good amounts. Among fruits, bananas, mangoes and oranges have superior amounts of magnesium.
Rock salt and sea salt in the natural form has magnesium content.
Ragi -“Elusine Indica” is an extremely rich source of magnesium. Manual workers and farmers benefit from eating this grain – more common in the southern regions of India.
Coconut meat has appreciable amount of the mineral.
When we eat a healthy balanced meal we do get our minerals - calcium and magnesium, it is only when we grow older that it is necessary to add supplements of both.