Proper nutrition is key to a healthy lifestyle, but it can be hard to tell when you’re getting enough of certain nutrients. Even if you’re eating a healthy diet, you might be missing out on some important vitamins and minerals that help support your bodily functions. Magnesium is one nutrient that many Americans don’t get enough of in their diets. Here’s what you need to know about this crucial mineral.
What it does
According to Everyday Health, magnesium is important for nearly every function and tissue in the body. It supports a healthy immune system, prevents inflammation associated with certain cancers, improves heart health and could reduce the risk of heart attack. It may even be able to cut your chances of diabetes, depression and migraines. In addition, it ensures the proper growth and maintenance of bones, and it helps neutralize stomach acid and moves stools through the intestine.
When you need it
You always need magnesium in your body to function properly, but you can tell you’re not getting enough by looking for a few signs. Health magazine noted that nausea, vomiting, fatigue and loss of appetite can be signs of a magnesium deficiency. People with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive disorders, or those taking medications for heartburn or osteoporosis are more likely to be deficient in magnesium. African-American and elderly individuals also have an increased risk for deficiency.
Where to get it
Magnesium-rich foods are typically also high in fiber. To make sure you're getting enough of the mineral, be sure to include the following foods in your diet on a regular basis:
- Fruits or vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens, broccoli and squash
- Nuts, especially almonds
- Seeds, especially pumpkin
- Peas and beans
- Whole grains.
Some dairy products, meats, chocolates and coffees also have magnesium. Water with a high mineral content, or "hard" water, can also be a source.