Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is essential to good health. It is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions and biochemical processes, include the digestion of food and release of nutrients for energy. Most of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bone and within the cells of the body’s tissues and organs. Only 1 percent is found in the blood. The body works hard to maintain blood levels of magnesium constant. Having the right amount of magnesium in your body is important to your digestive and overall health.
While magnesium is a mineral required by every organ in the body, it is of particular importance to the kidneys, muscles and heart. It supports proper muscle and nerve function, a normal heart rhythm, strong bones and teeth and a healthy immune system. Magnesium is responsible for the absorption of other nutrients in the body, especially calcium, copper, zinc, potassium and vitamin D. The digestive system relies on magnesium to help regulate blood sugar levels, control blood pressure, aid in metabolism, protein synthesis and activate enzymes for energy production. The chemical processes necessary to metabolize macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy depend on magnesium.
The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine established daily magnesium recommendations based on the amount sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of nearly all healthy people. Adult men between the ages of 19 and 30 need 400 milligrams of magnesium per day while women of the same age require 310 milligrams of magnesium daily. Men over the age of 31 require 420 milligrams of magnesium while women over the age of 31 require 320 milligrams per day. Your need for magnesium increases during pregnancy, lactation, athletic training, recovery from surgery and illness, so it is important to discuss your individual needs with your physician.
Dark green leafy vegetables are the richest source of magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule, the substance that gives vegetables their vivid green color, contains magnesium. However, many foods are a good source of magnesium. These include fruits such as dried apricots, bananas and avocadoes; legumes; nuts and seeds like walnuts, cashews almonds and sunflower seeds; soy products including soy flour, soybeans and tofu; and whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal and millet Additionally, many herbs and spices provide your body with magnesium. Some examples are sage, celery seed, dill weed, basil, cumin, tarragon and poppy seed.
Magnesium is a mineral needed for optimal health and wellness. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, there is increasing interest in the prospective role of magnesium in the prevention and management of chronic disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. For instance, a healthy diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables, with plenty of fiber, potassium and magnesium is associated with healthy blood pressure levels. Additionally, individuals with type 2 diabetes have been shown to have lower-than-normal levels of magnesium in their blood. Since magnesium plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, it may influence the release and activity of insulin, a hormone that controls blood glucose levels. Therefore, magnesium may help blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in people with prediabetes and diabetes.
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