How to spot magnesium deficiency
While we hear a lot about things like iron deficiencies, how to know when you are lacking the right amount of magnesium in your diet isn’t as well known. But there are a number of symptoms out there that can highlight such a deficiency, so here’s what to watch out.
Muscle cramps or spasms: These can be really painful and such muscle contractions can be caused by a lack of magnesium, which relaxes the muscles throughout your body .
Trouble sleeping: Magnesium plays a key role in the function of your central nervous system, so a lack of it can cause insomnia. Your magnesium levels drop at night, leading to poor quantity and quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the most critical sleep cycle to recharge your body and mind.
Chocolate cravings: One square of dark chocolate, which is high in magnesium, can supply 24 per cent of your daily requirement of the mineral. But if you really start to crave chocolate it’s your body giving you a direct message about what it needs. So now there’s scientific justification for heading to the confectionary aisle of the supermarket. Hoorah!
Anxiety: As a relaxation mineral, a lack of magnesium can lead to feelings of anxiety relating to your central nervous system. If this occurs, take 200mg of magnesium and hopefully you will begin to relax again.
High blood pressure: Magnesium can relax and dilate your blood vessels, so if you suffer from high blood pressure despite leading a healthy lifestyle, this could be a sign of a magnesium deficiency because when you’re low on the intake of the mineral, your blood vessels contract and send the pressure up.
Constipation: When you’re low in magnesium, your intestines contract more, making it harder for stools to pass. As we’ve already said, magnesium can relax your muscles and this relaxation includes the bowel, which in turn means it should become easier to go to the loo. Choose magnesium citrate to help constipation.
To increase the amount of magnesium you get through your diet, stop eating foods like flour and sugar, as they deplete nutrients. Meat, avocados, leafy green vegetables and nuts are all high in magnesium, so incorporate those into your meals as much as possible. And when it comes to choosing the right chocolate, don’t go for anything less than 70 per cent cocoa.