A mineral that is more powerful than most of us realize, magnesium controls a large amount of metabolic and enzymatic processes within our bodies all the time. This vital mineral plays a leading role in bone, mood, heart, blood, digestive, kidney, and overall neurological health. One of the most important roles it plays, however, is in blood sugar balance.
The many ways magnesium protects your blood sugar
Magnesium helps manage insulin levels in the body and can prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes from occurring. It also plays a large role in blood pressure control, preventing high blood pressure from occurring, especially when combined with enough potassium in the diet. This does two things: controls stress that can elevate insulin levels and improves overall blood pressure that, when out of control, increases insulin resistance and can cause type 2 diabetes to occur more easily.
Why food sources of magnesium are the best option
With evidence rising that our society is magnesium-deficient and suffering related health problems as a result, more people are opting for supplements to obtain additional magnesium in their diets. While this isn’t necessarily a negative thing — and can certainly be helpful in a world where our soil isn’t as rich in nutrients as it once was — we’re always much better off obtaining our minerals from real food whenever possible.
Supplements are a great second alternative if they are acquired from a responsible source, but nothing compares to food when it comes to optimal nourishment. Magnesium-rich foods are thankfully very abundant in nature. In fact, magnesium is found in nearly every food group there is, making it easy for us to get enough. However, some foods, such as grains, beans, legumes, and some nuts, contain lectins and phytates that may hinder mineral absorption in the body. They can also pose digestive problems for many individuals since they are hard for the human body to break down.
Easy-to-digest sources of magnesium to add to your diet
Below are some easy-to-digest, magnesium-rich foods that you can add to your menus quite easily and reap the benefits this mineral holds. Since it is depleted fairly quickly in the body during times of mental and physical stress, be sure you eat magnesium-rich foods on a regular basis.
This leafy green is packed with protein, calcium, magnesium and many vitamins. It’s also one of the best greens to eat raw since its fibers are quite easy for the body to break down. Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked, however, and both are great options that your body will benefit from. Spinach actually contains more magnesium (and protein) than any other green, though all are a fairly good source.
These seeds are packed with nutritional goodness starring iron, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium. Chia seeds contain roughly 23 percent of your daily magnesium needs in two tablespoons, which is around 95 milligrams. These seeds can be enjoyed raw, cooked, ground or whole. Do note, however, that if you eat them whole, they should be mixed into something or mixed into a liquid since they are quite fibrous and swell up during the digestive process.
Hemp seeds and raw hemp protein powder are both great sources of magnesium. The hemp plant is a fantastic source of nutrition, including protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids in the form of GLA fats, iron, zinc and potassium. Hemp seeds contain roughly 45 percent of your daily magnesium needs in just three tablespoons, making them the highest source among raw nuts and seeds. This is one of the reasons hemp is known as a beneficial food for mood, heart, digestive and blood sugar health.
Cacao (all forms)
Though it is derived from a bean, raw cacao is unique in its ability to digest fairly easily in the body. Touted as the highest source of magnesium in the world, the cacao bean is also higher in antioxidants than all other superfoods you may be familiar with. While it does contain caffeine, the other nutrients within cacao — including magnesium — make it an extremely calming, naturally energizing plant to enjoy whenever possible. It will also benefit your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Choose raw cacao nibs, powder, or unprocessed cocoa powder to reap the most benefits.
One seed that is getting a bit more attention for its stellar nutritional profile is the mighty pumpkin seed! Pumpkin seeds contain more magnesium than spinach with 48 percent of your daily needs in just half a cup! They beat all other seeds aside from hemp and chia in their magnesium content. These seeds are also extremely high in chlorophyll, zinc, iron, and potassium, making them one of the most alkalizing seeds available. Enjoy pumpkin seeds raw when you can, and look for those that are bright green in color, not muddy brown. The greener the seed, the fresher and richer in nutrients it will be.
Other fantastic sources of magnesium to include in your diet are raw almonds, bananas, kale, Swiss chard, cashews, quinoa, yogurt, oats, broccoli, sesame seeds (or tahini) and sunflower seeds. These are also great sources of fiber, amino acids and other minerals that will benefit your blood sugar levels further.
To take care of your blood sugar, first be sure to avoid refined sugars, grains, and processed foods. Then add in magnesium-rich foods to your diet and your blood sugar health will improve quite easily — especially when eaten in conjunction with a diet rich in enough protein, healthy fats and fiber from natural sources.
What are some delicious ways we might be able to combine these foods for a magnesium-rich meal?
—The Alternative Daily