We don’t always like admitting our toilet problems but when it comes to constipation, chances are you’ve experienced this condition more than once. This is because it’s a hugely common problem affecting adults and children of all ages.
But what causes constipation? We’re often led to believe it’s solely down to lack of fibre in the diet and while this a major cause, there are other factors that can cause this – sometimes painful – condition.
Surprisingly, constipation is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. A Japanese study  looked at 3,835 female students, 26.2% of whom suffered from constipation. They found that together with low-fibre, lack of magnesium was a high factor in their bouts of constipation.
Why Is Magnesium So Important?
Magnesium may not be on the forefront of our minds when it comes to our health, but amazingly this mineral is involved in over 300 different reactions in the body. It’s therefore essential that we get enough of the recommended daily intake of magnesium to promote optimum health.
Besides constipation, a lack of magnesium can cause insomnia, anxiety and depression, irritability, fatigue, muscle pain, insulin resistance, gut disorders plus many more.
In other words, it helps the heart, muscles, and immune system function properly. It’s so central to the workings of the body that not getting enough can cause underlying symptoms that we often put down to other factors and over half of us aren’t getting enough magnesium on daily basis.
Insufficient Awareness on Magnesium Intake
Despite it being so important to many functional processes in the body, many people actually have a magnesium deficiency without realising.
Magnesium isn’t easily absorbed by the digestive track and can be even more difficult to absorb if you already have a deficiency in vitamin D or even a number of other conditions. We are very conscious of fats and sugars in our diet but often don’t consider whether we eat the sort of foods that can be high in magnesium.
And while magnesium supplements can give us a boost, knowing what foods contain the highest amounts of magnesium is the best way to deal with conditions including constipation.
10 Foods High in Magnesium
It’s recommended that adult men get 400mg of magnesium a day (420mg for men aged over 30) while women ideally get around 310mg (increased to 320mg once over 30).
By eating the right foods, you should get the right amount of magnesium through your diet so which foods are the best to consume?
105mg per 1/4 cup: Almonds are not only rich in vitamin E, high in protein and omega-3 fats but they pack a punch when it comes to magnesium. It’s ideal not to eat too many but add them as a small snack or to a meal will boost your magnesium intake.
33mg in one medium banana: Bananas are more well-known for their high potassium levels but if you eat a good amount of them you’ll be happy to know they contain some magnesium. You can find some healthy banana recipes here  to get more into your diet.
57.6 mg per 1 cup cooked: Oatmeal is twice as good for constipation as it’s high in fibre as well as magnesium. Make it with skimmed milk that contains vitamin D (which helps to absorb magnesium) and you’ve got a good boost every morning for breakfast.
128mg per 1/4 cup: Although these need to be eaten in moderation, just a quarter of a cup will get you 25-30% of your daily magnesium intake. They’re also full of calcium and can help fight bad cholesterol.
Dark Leafy Greens
157mg per 1 cup (steamed): Dark leafy greens especially spinach is extremely high in magnesium. The best thing is spinach is so versatile you can add it to your breakfast, lunch and dinner to get most of your daily intake. Try these recipes  to spice up your spinach.
89mg per 1/4 cup: Cashews are high in fat so you need to watch how much you eat in a day but getting a handful as a snack will provide you with a good dose of magnesium. Not only that but a serving provides a good amount of iron, folate and vitamin K.
51 mg per ½ cup cooked: You can’t really eat too much broccoli and while it contains fibre, it also has more vitamin C than an orange. It’s best to steam it to preserve as many of the vitamins and minerals as possible that get destroyed during the boiling process.
33 mg per 1 ear of corn: Adding corn to your daily meals will also boost your magnesium intake. It’s also a whole grain so high in fibre for good bowel movements as well as a good source of vitamin C and B. Resist the salt and butter though instead opting for olive oil or a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
48 mg per 1 cup: Peas often get overlooked but they are a great source of magnesium. Find some interesting ways to use your peas here.
101mg in 1 ounce: The best thing about sesame seeds is that you can add them to almost anything whether sprinkled on a salad, on top of salmon or mixed into sauces. It’s high in zinc and vitamin B6 but will get your magnesium levels soaring.
|||^||The National Center of Biotechnology Information: Association between dietary fiber, water and magnesium intake and functional constipation among young Japanese women|
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