When you ask people to list what essential vitamins and minerals their body needs, you’ll often find yourself listening to the same answers: Vitamin C, Vitamin B, calcium, and maybe iron. The answer you won’t often hear, and the essential mineral most people aren’t even aware they’re deficient in is Magnesium. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all people aren’t getting their recommended daily allowance of the mineral. Most people don’t know that Magnesium plays many key roles in keeping our bodies and minds strong and healthy, being present in every single cell of our bodies.
First of all, magnesium is essential in the way our body uses energy. The energy that our body derives from food and is used in our cells is carried in a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. Without sufficient levels of magnesium in our body, that ATP is rendered biologically inactive, which means less energy can be transferred within and among our body’s cells. This is why chronic fatigue is one of the long-term side effects of a magnesium deficient diet.
Severe cases of magnesium deficiency can be not only inconvenient, but downright dangerous as well. Low magnesium levels have been linked to poor muscle strength and coordination, and lead to serious symptoms such as muscle spasms and tremors. It can also lead to symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, poor appetite, and even drastic changes in personality. Magnesium also plays an essential role in the way that our body processes carbohydrates. A low level of magnesium can exacerbate insulin resistance, which could worsen or even cause diabetes. Even the health of your heart is put at risk when your body doesn’t get enough magnesium, with heart failure becoming the inevitable result of the body being completely depleted of this mineral.
Magnesium also functions as the glue that holds us together at the molecular level – It binds to our DNA and RNA strands and stabilizes their structures, making them less prone to being damaged by environmental and other causes. This in turn can be helpful in preventing mutations and other illnesses brought about by damaged DNA. Magnesium ions also play a key role in our cell membranes, helping facilitate the transfer of ions within and among other cells.
The best way to shore up our body’s magnesium content is to eat foods rich in magnesium, with green leafy vegetables often being cited as the best source. However, if you really want to boost your magnesium levels in a quick, healthy, and convenient way, then chia seeds are your best way there. A single serving of chia seeds contains over 15 times more magnesium than a similar sized serving of broccoli, and what’s great about chia seeds is that you get a whole lot more than just magnesium. Chia seeds are also packed full with other essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds such as calcium, B-Vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids just to name a few. To top it all off, the seeds can be added to just about any meal or drink with minimum fuss or hassle, allowing you to turn any meal into a healthy one.