Magnesium: The Hidden Key to Health, Some Americans Are Missing


Feeling drained? The culprit might be easier to fix than you think. Let’s explore how magnesium can help support your energy, mood, and sanity. 

Despite its profound impact on everything from blood sugar regulation to muscle relaxation, an alarming number of Americans are running low on this essential mineral. In fact, studies show that potentially half of the U.S. population isn’t getting enough magnesium. Let’s dive into why this powerhouse mineral deserves a spot in the spotlight and how you can ensure you’re getting your daily dose.

The Essential Roles of Magnesium:

  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Magnesium plays a critical role in helping insulin regulate blood sugar levels. It enhances insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to effectively absorb glucose from the bloodstream. In short, it can positively impact your brain fog and mood when your blood sugar is regulated properly.
  • Hormone Support: This mineral is crucial for the production and regulation of hormones. It helps balance estrogen and progesterone, which can reduce PMS symptoms and support overall hormonal health. Less PMS symptoms? YES, please!
  • Nerve and Muscle Relaxation: Magnesium acts as a natural muscle relaxant. It helps prevent muscle cramps and spasms by regulating muscle contractions and aiding nerve function. Make sure you are getting adequate fluids and lay off the caffeine after 2pm as well.
  • Headache Improvement: For those who suffer from migraines, magnesium can be a game-changer. It helps relax blood vessels and reduces the frequency and severity of headaches.

How to Know If You’re Magnesium Deficient:

Magnesium deficiency can manifest in various ways, such as muscle cramps, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, and headaches. If you experience these symptoms check with your healthcare provider and, it might be worth considering your magnesium intake. The recommended daily allowance for Magnesium for women is between 310-360mg/d.

Foods Rich in Magnesium:

Here are some magnesium-rich foods to include in your meals and snacks:

  • Leafy Green Vegetables: Spinach (157 mg per cup, cooked), Swiss chard (150 mg per cup, cooked)
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds (80 mg per ounce), Pumpkin seeds (150 mg per ounce), Cashews (74 mg per ounce). If you know me even a little you know I LOVE to suggest incorporating nuts/seeds into your diet (especially pumpkin seeds).
  • Whole Grains: Brown rice (84 mg per cup, cooked), Quinoa (118 mg per cup, cooked)
  • Legumes: Black beans (120 mg per cup, cooked), Chickpeas (79 mg per cup, cooked)
  • Fish: Mackerel (82 mg per ~6oz), Salmon (53 mg per ~6oz)
  • Avocado: One medium avocado contains about 58 mg
  • Dark Chocolate: One ounce of dark chocolate (70-85% cacao) contains about 64 mg

Busting the Myths:

I’ve seen countless posts online suggesting that magnesium supplements are the cure-all for every ailment. While supplements can be beneficial, especially if you have a deficiency, it’s best to get your nutrients from whole foods. 

Over-supplementation can lead to adverse effects like diarrhea or imbalances in other essential minerals. Not to mention lots of supplements are mislabeled for elemental magnesium (what you will potentially absorb) vs. the total weight of the pill itself.

Plus there are an array of magnesium powders, magnesium sprays, magnesium creams, and magnesium gummies that are likely not giving you the amount of magnesium they claim to. Sticking to getting your nutrients from foods makes it easier to know how much your body is absorbing, plus, they taste GREAT!

Tips for Incorporating More Magnesium:

  1. Start Your Day Right: Add a 1/2 cup of cooked spinach to your morning smoothie or omelet.
  2. Snack Smart: Keep a mix of almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate for a nutrient-dense snack. I love to add pumpkin seeds to yogurt each day!
  3. Meal Planning: Incorporate magnesium-rich legumes and whole grains in your salad to diversify your plate.
  4. Fish Fridays: Include fatty fish like mackerel or salmon in your diet at least twice a week.

Remember, balancing your diet with magnesium-rich foods can have a profound impact on your overall health and well-being. As busy women, we are always looking for ways to optimize our diets to include foods that benefit us in multiple ways.

Often my clients will ask if they should be taking a magnesium supplement especially to help with sleep. I always say to get your nutrients from food first but if you want to take a supplement, magnesium glycinate tends to be easily absorbed. To ensure you are getting it from a reputable source and in the correct amount consult with your healthcare team.

Happy eating!