Magnesium is more than just a metal you experimented with in science class. In fact, magnesium is an essential nutrient for your body, helping maintain a number of processes, ranging from maintaining your blood sugar levels to helping regulate muscle function. There are more than 300 different biochemical reactions within the body that rely on the nutrient, and seven important reasons why you should be taking more magnesium. Here they are!
1. It helps prevent heart disease
It has been found that the less magnesium you consume, the more likely it is you will develop heart disease. Studies and research going back decades has found that those who consume little magnesium also risk plaque buildup in the arteries, as well as the hardening of the arteries, risking your overall health. Blood will in turn not be pumped properly throughout the body, meaning muscles don’t have access to all the oxygen and nutrients they require.
By consuming magnesium-rich food, you can reduce the chances of developing heart disease not just now, but into your old age. You can also help reduce the chance of developing a heart condition by balancing your calcium intake with your magnesium intake. By consuming calcium supplements without consuming enough magnesium, you can increase the risk of heart disease drastically.
2. It reduces your risk of colon cancer
Colon cancer is a big killer, and a Chinese study has previously shown that consuming too little magnesium can increase your chances of developing the condition. This particular study showed us that people who took on average the highest amounts of magnesium supplements, or consumed magnesium-rich foods, were 11% less likely to develop colon cancer during their life time.
On top of that, the study showed that for every 50mg increase in magnesium consumption each day, a person could reduce their chance of developing colon cancer by around 7%.
3. It helps regular hypertension (high blood pressure)
You will probably find out about blood pressure from your doctor, which means you will be prescribed medication or given advice on how to reduce your blood pressure – but if you’re still looking for ways to improve it, consider eating more magnesium-rich foods.
Magnesium as a nutrient helps regulate your blood pressure, and when you don’t consume enough, blood pressure can quite quickly begin to rise. So, if you want to keep it down, be sure to eat more fruits and vegetables, both of which are the best natural source of magnesium. If you still feel like you’re not eating enough, consider taking magnesium supplements which are available in all good health stores and in many supermarkets.
4. It lowers chances of developing diabetes
As well as being considered a great way of managing and treating diabetes, studies have shown that magnesium can actually help reduce the chances of developing diabetes in the first place. In a study of almost 170,000 people, it was found that those who had the highest amount of magnesium in their diet were found to have a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This result was found even when dietary factors were considered (like the amount of sugar consumed) and even family history, making it clear the importance of magnesium in maintaining good physical shape and proper body function.
5. It helps you get a better night’s sleep
A double-blind clinical trial of elderly people has shown that an increased magnesium intake can actually help you get a better night’s sleep, reducing insomnia. This can in turn make you far more productive, happier and reduce anxiety, making it an important component of your diet if you’re busy during the day or spend a lot of time meeting new people.
In this study, it was found that those who had taken magnesium supplement slept for a longer period of time, they had more efficient sleep, and they were less likely to wake up early in the morning. So what does this mean? Well, put simply, you should eat more magnesium-rich foods or take supplements. Getting a better night’s sleep is great for your mental health, it reduces anxiety and can help reduce the effects of depression.
6. It’s great for your bones!
Having all the nutrients to grow strong bones is just as important in later life as it is in your younger life. Your bones are always rebuilding themselves, and in order to keep them strong you need to make sure they’re getting all the building blocks they need. Magnesium is one of those.
Specifically, magnesium helps the calcium you consume go on to build bone strength. It does this by helping the calcium get pulled out of your blood stream and through your soft tissue and into your bones. Without the magnesium, this process is much more difficult for the body, and can lead to brittle bones and conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.
To keep your bones strong, you should maintain a good intake of calcium (at least 500mg per day) and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables for your magnesium.
7. It helps reduce the pain of migraines
Finally, magnesium can help with the terribly adult condition that is the migraine. A study from August 2012, by Ali Tarighat Esfanjani and Reza Mahdavi (among others) focused on the effects of magnesium on headaches and migraines, and it found that increasing the amount of magnesium you consume can drastically reduce the pain and frequency of a migraine.
So, if you regularly suffer from migraines or headaches as a result of a health condition or just being stressed at work, magnesium could be your perfect solution.