The conversation about nutrition seems to centre around fats, carbs and protein, but what if there was something much more important that could be the ultimate game changer in your overall health?! This, my friends, is magnesium.
Magnesium is a mineral needed for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, yet it’s one of the most common deficiencies in the Western world, even on a healthy diet!
For us ladies, symptoms of low magnesium can include PMS, cramps, irritability, hypothyroidism, headaches, reflux, insomnia and poor digestion… but really the list is endless, as it’s so bloomin’ important!
How Can Magnesium Help?
The thing is, not only do we use up magnesium when we get stressed, but irritatingly it’s the main nutrient that we need in order to help us recover. It’s involved in blood sugar control, metabolism, nerve function and also blood pressure, so ensuring your stores are topped up can help buffer the effects of a stressful / busy time.
Energy & Exercise
As there are so many enzyme reactions needed to generate energy and muscle function, magnesium is important to give you a pep in your step, as well as improving fitness and performance levels. It can also help reduce inflammation, so speed up recovery time after exercise. You’re welcome.
Do you ever feel sluggish in the toilet department? Believe it or not, this could also be due to low magnesium levels. It’s vital to help relax muscles, which can be incredibly relevant when you need to go to the bathroom too…
Sleep & Mood
If you’re lying awake at night or feeling low during the day, you may want to check your nutrient status, as magnesium has been shown to improve sleep, reduce the severity of insomnia and help alleviate depression (I know… is there anything it can’t do?)!
For us ladies, PMS can be SUCH a challenge, and the wonder nutrient has, of course, been shown to help alleviate symptoms including bloating, weight gain, and breast tenderness. Rather than turning to synthetic hormones to help balance things out, it may be worth turning to nutrition to see if things improve.
So… How Can We Get Magnesium?
In food, some of the top sources of magnesium are leafy greens, chocolate (which may explain why we crave it around our period), nuts, seeds and figs, which can provide us with a great baseline level. Annoyingly though, getting enough in the diet can be challenging, especially if we have a busy lifestyle. Multi-vitamins may additionally seem like a great idea, but actually the levels aren’t always high enough to create a noticeable difference!
Generally, I tend to recommend a magnesium glycinate supplement, which is a gentle form of the mineral. Taking it in the evening with dinner can help prep you for bed too, and relax you into a better sleep. I also love getting my clients on Epsom salt baths, which are magnesium-rich salts to be absorbed via the skin (yes, I prescribe relaxing, salt baths!)
Just a tip though, before you go rushing to the shops, it’s always a good idea to evaluate your overall health in terms of the bigger picture, and get support if you have any health concerns. Also, please remember, the quality of supplements are vital, and you’re always best off to visit your local independent health store rather than big chains, as 9 times out of 10, the commercial ones are packed with less desirable ingredients!
All in all though, magnesium is such an important mineral that we really need to embrace it and make sure we’re getting enough. It’s amazing what nutrition can do!