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Aveen Bannon

Magnesium…one to think about! 

Did you know that magnesium is involved in over 300 functions in the body and is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body?  The majority of the body magnesium is stored in bone (about 60%) and muscle (about 25%).

In the past it was recognised that magnesium could aid sleep and was important for good bone health. It can also help relieve muscle cramps and constipation and plays an important role in supporting the nervous system and heart health. Magnesium also helps you take energy from food and make new proteins. More recently it has been recognised for its role in reducing anxiety…in fact some even refer to it as natures tranquilliser!

Vitamins and minerals often work in synergy and magnesium is no exception. Magnesium is needed to activate vitamin D in the body. So if you are getting your vitamin D from sunlight or supplements you need to ensure that you are getting enough magnesium in your diet too.

So where does magnesium come from… a good rule of thumb is the greener the vegetable the more magnesium it contains e.g spinach, broccoli, kale…another reason to eat your greens! Other sources include beans, legumes, whole-grains, nuts, seeds and fish. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) suggest that women aim for 300 mg per day and men 350 mg per day. Girls aged 7-18 aim for 250 mg and boys aged 7-18 aim for 300 mg per day. Those who may need to consider looking at boosting their magnesium are expecting mums, those with muscle cramping, sports individuals, or those taking calcium or vitamin D supplements.

Magnesium is a mineral that you need every day for good health and by eating rich green vegetables daily, getting your 6 or more a day of fruit and vegetables, including whole-grains, nuts and legumes in your diet regularly you should get enough from food.

 

Magnesium Content of Common Foods

Food Serving Size Magnesium (mg)
Pear 1 fruit 88
Spinach, cooked 125g 83
Potato, with skin, cooked 1 medium 44-55
Quinoa, cooked 125 g 63
Beans (black, lima, adzuki, kidney, pinto, chickpeas), cooked 175 g 60-89
Pumpkin seeds 30g (2 tblsp) 158
Nuts – Almonds, cashews  30g 44-55
Salmon cooked 90g 110

* Magnesium from supplements should not exceed 350 mg per day unless advised by doctor or dietitian. It is safe to consume more than your daily magnesium needs from food and water.

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