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Magnesium is So Underrated! Here’s A List of Foods For You To Boost Your Magnesium Intake!

Magnesium is So Underrated! Here’s A List of Foods For You To Boost Your Magnesium Intake!

Getting the right amount of nutrients into our body is important for healthy functioning. One of the most essential of these nutrients is magnesium because it goes towards many different functions within the body.

Therefore without enough magnesium, we can quickly start to feel ill both physically and mentally. Around 80 percent of us have a magnesium deficiency without even realising it – and the problem is that the majority of magnesium is stored in the bones not in the blood, so a deficiency can’t be detected on a normal blood test.

The Importance of Magnesium in Our Diet

Magnesium isn’t something we think about in terms of our health but scientific research [1] has found that there are almost 3751 magnesium ‘binding sites’ within the body meaning our bodies rely on optimal magnesium levels more than previously thought.

Because of this, magnesium is essential for many functions within the body including: blood sugar control, nerve function, the regulation of blood pressure, metabolism, protein synthesis and neurotransmitter release which helps keep strong signals between neurons and other cells in the body. Therefore maintaining an optimal level of magnesium, especially through our diet, is extremely important if we want to stay healthy.

The Best Foods for Magnesium Intake

Magnesium deficiencies can be caused by a number of factors and lifestyle choices. These include consumption of antibiotics, excess alcohol, excess sugar in the diet, consuming less than the recommended amount of daily fruit and vegetable servings and any digestion problems where nutrients from foods aren’t absorbed properly.

But if you feel none of these apply to you, then your diet could just be lacking in enough magnesium. There are many foods you can include that will help up your magnesium levels and make a noticeable difference to your health.

1. Avocados

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    Avocados are easy to incorporate into your diet and packed full of magnesium. Although high in fat, they contain monounsaturated fats which help lower bad cholesterol.

    1 average avocado: 58 mg of magnesium

    2. Bananas

      As well as potassium, bananas are another great source of magnesium. Getting a banana in to your daily breakfast, snack or post-exercise fuel will add to your magnesium levels.

      1 medium banana (118g): 32mg magnesium

      3. Mackerel

        Mackerel is an oily fish containing essential omega-3 fatty acids along with protein and B vitamins. It’s also pretty high in magnesium so buying well-sourced, fresh fillets will help your health in a number of ways.

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        1 (85g) fillet: 82mg magnesium

        4. Dark Leafy Greens

          Dark leafy greens such as swiss chard and kale give a good daily dose of magnesium. However, spinach is especially good because it contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, folate, vitamin E, C, B6, iron, protein and calcium.

          180g cooked spinach: 157mg magnesium

          5. Nuts and Seeds

            Snacking on nuts and seeds is probably the best way to get your full magnesium intake but be aware that more than a handful a day is not recommended due to their high fat content. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of magnesium but nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts, cashews and pine nuts all contain high levels of magnesium.

            Pumpkin seeds (28g): 150mg magnesium

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            6. Whole Grains

              Whole grains are best known for their fibre content but they also contain essential minerals including iron, selenium and, of course, magnesium. Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat are all good sources of whole grains and contain a good amount of magnesium.

              195g cooked brown rice: 86mg magnesium

              7. Dark Chocolate

                This will make any chocolate lover happy – dark chocolate is a pretty good source of magnesium but remember to eat it in moderation!

                1 square of dark chocolate (29g): 95mg magnesium

                8. Yoghurt

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                  Plain non-fat yoghurt (i.e. not the flavoured yoghurts that are high in sugar) can be an addition to your daily diet in order to get a bit more magnesium. Adding slices of banana and grated dark chocolate can make a great breakfast or dessert.

                  245g yoghurt: 47mg magnesium

                  9. Dried Fruit

                    Dried fruit, especially figs, can contain good amounts of magnesium. Like nuts or seeds you can snack on these during the day. Dried prunes, apricots, dates and raisins are also good.

                    75g of dried figs: 51mg magnesium

                    10. Beans and Lentils

                      Beans and lentils are a good all-round source of vitamins and minerals. On average they contain high amounts of dietary fibre, iron, protein, vitamin B1, zinc and potassium. Soy beans (or edamame beans) are particularly high in magnesium and a great addition to your daily veg intake or a snack.

                      172g (cooked) soy beans: 148mg magnesium

                      Featured photo credit: kkolosov via pixabay.com

                      Reference

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                      Jenny Marchal

                      Freelance Writer

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                      Last Updated on October 23, 2018

                      Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

                      Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

                      My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

                      Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

                      The Neural Knitwork Project

                      In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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                      While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

                      The knitting and neural connection

                      The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

                      More mental health benefits from knitting

                      Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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                      “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

                      Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

                      Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

                      She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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                      “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

                      The dopamine effect on our happiness

                      Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

                      There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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                      “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

                      If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

                      Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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