By, Dee A. Rowe
One of the seven essential macro-minerals, magnesium benefits your body and mind in some surprising ways. Your body needs magnesium for vital functions like:
- Building new bone cells
- Helping your heart pump blood (kind of important, yeah?)
- Regulating blood sugar levels
- Regulating energy levels
- Preventing migraines, type-2 diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure
And, although more in-depth studies are needed, preliminary research shows that magnesium benefits sufferers of PMS, anxiety, and depression. Trust me, you need it in your life.
I first learned about the benefits of magnesium when I tried selling protein shakes and herbal cleanses as a side hustle that I was hoping to turn into a way to escape my former career in HOA management. The side hustle turning into an escape didn’t work out for me, but the shakes and the other products I was promoting were high in magnesium, which I was unknowingly deficient in. Soon after starting to use the products, I noticed improvements in my mood and energy levels as well as fewer of the terrible migraines that had plagued me since high school. I had discovered the magic of magnesium.
Keep reading to find out:
- More about the 5 surprising ways that magnesium benefits you
- How to find out if you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet
- What are good sources of magnesium
- And why you need to be careful if taking magnesium supplements
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
More About the 5 Ways that Magnesium Benefits You
Let’s go into a little more depth about the surprising but awesome magnesium benefits (when ingested at the right levels). Since I am not a doctor or medical expert, you may be unsure whether you can trust this information. I get it. That’s why I provide my (very qualified) sources at the bottom of the article.
Now you can read on in complete confidence.
Magnesium Benefits Your Bones
Magnesium helps the body build new bone cells, strengthens bones, and helps to prevent and manage osteoporosis and calcium and vitamin D levels in the body (both of which are also important factors in bone health). Some studies have shown that it fights inflammation, which can lead to arthritis.
Magnesium Benefits Your Heart
Not only does magnesium help your heart pump, but it also lowers your chances of high blood pressure, heart attack, and irregular heartbeat. Thanks again to it fighting inflammation, magnesium helps prevent heart disease. Also, if you do have a heart attack and you receive magnesium soon after, it lowers your risk of mortality.
Magnesium Regulates Blood Sugar
This is because it helps insulin in your body work right. Studies show a magnesium deficiency may worsen insulin resistance. Other studies show that insulin resistance results in deficient magnesium levels in the body. Inflammation is also a factor in type-2 diabetes, which is another reason why magnesium benefits can include the prevention of this form of diabetes in particular.
Magnesium Benefits Energy Levels
If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for ways to have more energy without crashing and burning afterward. A magnesium boost can help because it helps your body produce energy. Being deficient in magnesium can contribute to poor circulation and also messes with the transmission of messages by your nerves. For all these reasons, getting enough magnesium can help you have enough energy.
More Magnesium Benefits
Low levels of magnesium in the body are linked to type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and migraines. We talked about some ways that magnesium benefits insulin response and heart health.
When it comes to migraines, studies show that magnesium may lower or block pain receptors in the nerves. It may also keep blood vessels in the brain from restricting. One study suggests chronic sufferers supplement 400-600 mg daily on top of food sources. Migraines may be more common in those with a magnesium deficiency, so if you suffer from these blinding, brain-splitting headaches, consider testing for a magnesium deficiency.
Even though we need more studies on these possible magnesium benefits, it may also help with PMS symptoms like bloating, mood, and breast tenderness. It’s probable that it also benefits those dealing with anxiety and/or depression, but that has not yet been definitively proven according to my research. Scientists, get on it!
How to Find Out if You’re Getting Enough Magnesium in Your Diet
Most Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diet. Many people will not notice symptoms, but a long-term magnesium deficiency can result in chronic conditions like heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and stroke as well as increased migraine risk. If you think you may have a deficiency, have your doctor test your magnesium levels. Or, you can buy a home-test kit like this, although I cannot vouch for its accuracy compared to a doctor-administered test.
What Are Good Sources of Magnesium
Health experts seem to agree that the best way to get magnesium is making sure to include plenty of magnesium-rich foods in your diet. Supplements are not absorbed by the body as easily as food sources, and can sometimes be risky (which we’ll get into later).
Here’s a list of magnesium-rich foods, and some suggested ways to eat them:
Pumpkin seeds, roasted, 1 ounce, 156 mg., 37% daily value. Sprinkle them on salads or your morning oatmeal.
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce, 80 mg., 19% daily value. Add to trail mix, salads, and baked goods. You can also top frozen yogurt or ice cream with them.
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce, 74 mg., 18% daily value. Munch on a handful, add to trail mix, or sprinkle on top of a yogurt parfait.
Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 large biscuits (or equal mini-wheats), 61 mg., 15% daily value. Do you need instructions on how to eat this?
Black beans, cooked, ½ cup, 60 mg., 14% daily value. Add to enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or a taco salad.
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons, 49 mg., 12% daily value. Have an old-fashioned P.B.&J., add to a shake or smoothie, or if you’re like my husband, eat it with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.
Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup, 42 mg., 10% daily value. Use as a base for toppings to create a burrito bowl, an Asian-inspired rice bowl, or a poke bowl.
Breakfast cereals, fortified, 1 serving, 42 mg., 10% daily value. This is your excuse to be a kid again and eat a big ole’ bowl of cereal with the milk of your choice.
Chia seeds, 1 ounce, 111 mg., 26% daily value. Add to overnight oats, make chia-seed pudding, or mix with fruit, yogurt, and milk of your choice for a delicious, creamy smoothie.
Spinach, boiled, ½ cup, 78 mg. 19% daily value. My favorite way to eat boiled spinach is in a veggie lasagna.
Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup, 63 mg., 15% daily value. Another great one for trail mix, munching on as is, or as a topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup, 61 mg., 15% daily value. Personally, I am not a big fan of soymilk, but it’s a decent source of magnesium. Use it for anything you would use milk for like coffee, cereal, or smoothies.
Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup, 50 mg., 12% daily value. Add to pasta, or salad, or serve as an appetizer or snack.
Potato, baked with skin, 3.5 ounces, 43 mg., 10% daily value. You know how to eat a baked potato, right?
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces, 42 mg., 10% daily value. Top with fruit and nuts or granola for a parfait or mix it into a smoothie.
Why You Need to be Careful With Magnesium Supplements
My research indicated that despite food being the best source of magnesium, some people may need to supplement with magnesium. But, you should always work with your doctor before doing so. Magnesium can interact with certain medications, such as some antibiotics and (weirdly) osteoporosis meds. A condition called myasthenia gravis can get worse with excess magnesium in the body. The most common side effects of too much magnesium are cramps and nausea. Side effects are more common with supplement use vs. regular dietary intake.
If you do choose to supplement, this one is doctor formulated and on my list of Amazon fixes for the more conscious consumer.
As one of the seven essential macro-minerals, it’s crucial to make sure the body gets enough magnesium. The daily value information provided above is based on the FDA recommendation of 420 mg. per adult. But, one of the consulted sources indicated that adult women may only need 320 mg., with men benefiting from the higher dose. Determining the right level for your body is a good thing to discuss with your doctor.
Stay tuned for future blog posts on the other six essential macro-minerals by subscribing. I promise not to blow up your email Inbox! My subscribers get one email a week with a link to the most recent blog post, event and contest announcements, special coupon codes, easy and healthy meal ideas, and more exclusive content you can’t pack into a blog post that is designed to help you find and keep your balance.
I hope I see your name on my email list next week!
P.S. – If you’re reading this post in October or November 2022, vote for me in the Fab Over 40 contest sponsored by New Beauty Magazine to benefit breast cancer research. And, if you have them, check your tatas! Prevention is key. 😘
External Research on Magnesium Benefits
Web MD, All About Magnesium, reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on January 21, 2022
Mayo Clinic, I’ve Heard That Magnesium Benefits Have Health Benefits. Should I Take One?, Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD, August 11, 2021
Medical News Today, Why Do We Need Magnesium, by Megan Ware, RDN, LD on January 26, 2020, reviewed by Miho Hatanaka, RDN, LD
US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Food Data Central, 2019
Leave a Reply