THE IMPORTANCE OF MAGNESIUM
So let me start by saying I’m not a Medical professional.  Being a chef doesn’t make me an authority on everything nutrition.  I certainly don’t profess to know everything about anything in particular but I can tell you this…when I want to know something about anything I do my research and I do it thoroughly!

When going through Chef training one doesn’t necessarily spend much time dedicated to the nutritional breakdown of food or even the origins of raw ingredients.  That training and knowledge is up to the individual.  Most of the “extras” I’ve learned I’ve pursued on my own.  Extra classes, conferences, talking to other professionals and lots and lots of reading.  I’ve been on my own journey of health, wellness & weight loss for 15 months, so making sure I’m getting the right macro-nutrients and now supplements has been very important to me to stay healthy and combat some of the health issues I deal with.

Before I say anything about supplements, I will say that almost all the research I’ve done and professionals I’ve interviews empathically believe the best place for us to get our nutrients, macro-nutrients, vitamins & minerals is from our intake of good, clean, fresh food. But like many people out there, I sometimes can’t “eat it all or enough” to get everything I need to nourish and balance my body with just food. I’ve had to turn to some supplements during the changes in my diet, activity level and weight loss. What is also important to know is that I did not just “choose” a bunch of supplements for myself I actually had detailed blood work done to find what it was that I was missing and needed.

The reason I’m so interested in Magnesium is because I started taking it on the advice of a Naturopath half way through my journey of health and wellness – about 7 months ago. I have a condition called Insulin Resistance and a very slow metabolic rate (making it VERY difficult to lose weight or even maintain a healthy weight for that matter). A magnesium deficiency is linked to exacerbating both of these conditions.

I was also complaining of severe cramping in my legs, as well as having trouble settling my legs at night, in other words I felt as though I had “Restless leg syndrome”. In fact what the Naturopath surmised was that I was working out so much, and the large muscles of my legs were being taxed to the max that they were having a hard time “relaxing”. Enter a good quality, regular dose of Magnesium every evening before bed, which is known to help “relax” tired over worked muscles.

What we need to know about Magnesium…it is one of seven essential minerals the body needs. The human body contains approximately 20-28 mg. of magnesium. 50% is stored in our bones, the rest is found in muscle, soft tissue & bodily fluids. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body including metabolizing food and helping absorb fatty acids & proteins.

Magnesium is important for bone formation as it helps with the absorption of calcium and plays a key role in activating Vitamin D in the kidneys. Ingesting optimal amounts of magnesium helps with bone density and lowers the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Magnesium plays a very important role in metabolising carbohydrates & glucose. There are recent studies proving that low magnesium levels resulted in lowered insulin secretions and insulin sensitivity, which further proved that unbalanced magnesium levels have an adverse effect on Type2 Diabetes.

Magnesium is important for the health of muscles including the heart, and for the transmission of electric impulses in the body. Adequate magnesium has been associated with lowering the risk of atherosclerosis & hypertension.

Researches have also found that an adequate supply of magnesium has lessened some of the symptoms of both PMS & Menopause such as; bloating, insomnia, leg swelling and weight gain. Vitamin B6 combined with magnesium has proven to be even more effective.

So…if we want to have an adequate supply of magnesium delivered to our system via food where do we find it? Here’s a short list in order of highest to lowest content;

Sunflower seeds, dry roasted about ¼ cup
Almonds, dry roasted about ¼ cup
Sesame seeds, whole roasted about 1 oz.
Spinach, about 1 cup
Cashews, dry roasted, about 1oz.
Shredded wheat cereal, 2 large biscuits
Soymilk, plain unsweetened, about 1 cup
Black beans, cooked about ½ cup
Steel cut oats, cooked, about 1 cup
Broccoli, cooked, about 1 cup
Edamame, shelled cooked, about ½ cup
Peanut butter all natural smooth, about 2 tbsp.
Shrimp, cooked about 4oz.
Black-eyed peas, cooked, about ½ cup
Brown rice, cooked, about ½ cup
Kidney beans, cooked, about ½ cup

Now…how much magnesium is enough or for that matter how much is too much? Like everything in life too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad! From all the research I’ve done there have never been any reported cases of magnesium toxicity from the consumption through food intake. However, many reports have stated that large doses of magnesium acquired from supplements can cause a loss in central nervous system control. People with renal (kidney) conditions should not take magnesium supplements unless advised to do so by a Physician.

If you think a magnesium supplement would benefit your health and well-being, I strongly suggest you speak to your Dr. or other medical professional to get the low down on what YOUR OWN BODY NEEDS!

To your health!
Chef Lorraine

P.S. Someone asked me about the brand that I use.  I’ve attached a picture of it.  Please note I do NOT represent this company or gain anything from promoting their products.  This is the brand that was recommended to me by my Naturopath as a reliable very good quality product.  You and your practitioner will have to decide what is best for you.

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