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holistic

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Magnesium is a mineral we should be paying more attention to! It is part of over 300 biochemical reactions and the fourth most abundant mineral in our body, with 65% of it in our bones and teeth and 35% in our brain, hearth, blood, and cells. But many of us can have low magnesium levels, and this can lead to many common symptoms.

Causes of deficiency

-Intake of coffee, alcohol, smoking
-Long term use of diuretics               
-Birth control pills
-Poor nutrition
-Diarrhea, dehydration                                  
-Hyperthyroid           
-Kidney disease – Since the kidneys are regulators of magnesium homeostasis
-Celiac and IBD (due to impaired absorption of minerals)
-Antibiotics                           
-Stress
-Sweating                                          
-Exercise

As you can see, many things affect magnesium absorption. Food processing in itself reduces magnesium, up to 80% in milling of wheat for example. Phytic acid and oxalic acid found in many greens and grains also reduce magnesium. Absorption also depends on stomach acid level, diet, and our bodily requirements.

Effects of Low Magnesium

Many of us can have any of the following symptoms, but don’t always connect this to magnesium deficiency:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Nausea, GI disorders, constipation
  • Muscle cramps, especially in the legs at night, restless legs
  • Excessive body odour
  • Hypersensitivity to noise, startle reactions
  • Cravings for chocolate
  • Poor coordination
  • Insomnia, hyperactivity, irritability
  • Poor memory

Sources of Magnesium

  • Seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Green beans
  • Spinach and other leafy greens – Magnesium is at the centre of the chlorophyll molecule which is the green pigment found in green vegetables.
  • Figs
  • Avocados
  • Lemons, grapefruit
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts
  • Apples, bananas
  • Soybeans
  • Seafood
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains – wheat germ and bran, millet, brown rice

Bones

Our society focuses a lot on Calcium for bone health, but magnesium is also very important. Studies have shown that excessive calcium intake, as well as phosphorus, iron, copper, and zinc will lower magnesium absorption. Since 65% of our magnesium is in our bones, it is important for bone and teeth health. It has a structural role for bones, as well as being essential to osteoblasts and osteoclasts (bone cells), and needed for ATP (energy) formation in cells. Magnesium also is required by enzymes that metabolize vitamin D, which is crucial for bone health. Studies show that restricting magnesium intake results in osteoporosis!

Cardiovascular health

Magnesium relaxes smooth muscles found around blood vessels, reducing artery spasms and keeping heart rhythm regular. It also dilates blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. It works with calcium to regulate muscle tone of the heart. It is a cofactor to many enzymes, it is needed for ATP production (cellular energy), regulates ion channels, myocardial contraction, vascular tone, and thrombosis. Magnesium taurate is one form of magnesium specifically for improving cardiac function, contraction, and reducing blood pressure.

Muscles

Magnesium regulates muscle contractions and is a muscle relaxant. It is a great supplement for restless legs, muscle spasms, cramps, and sore muscles. It is also useful for PMS cramps and athletes who suffer from cramps. One form of magnesium: magnesium bisglycinate is a very well absorbed form. Another form, magnesium sulfate, is found in Epsom Salts, and is beneficial as a bath for muscle relaxation.

Digestive Tract

Due to its relaxant function on smooth muscles around the digestive tract, it can cause loose stools especially in the Magnesium Citrate form. It is helpful when you have constipation. Magnesium also activates enzymes involved in metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Relaxation and Nervous System

Magnesium is an anti-stress mineral, popular as a supplement before bed to calm, relax, and help you sleep. It is a natural muscle relaxant. Deficiency of magnesium results in neurological symptoms, as magnesium is important for nervous system health. In terms of supplements, it was shown that Magnesium threonate actually enters the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) and brain, and has effects on learning and memory and is neuroprotective.

To get more magnesium in your diet, Consicous Health has many plenty of foods/recipes with magnesium-rich foods! Check out Cacao, Kale Salad, or Zucchini Noodles

 

References:

Sara Castiglioni et al. Magnesium and Osteoporosis: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Directions. Nutrients. 2013 Aug; 5(8): 3022–3033.

Tangvoraphonkchai K, Davenport A. Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2018 May;25(3):251-260.

Jan Philipp Schuchardt and Andreas Hahn. Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium-An Update. Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2017 Nov; 13(4): 260–278.

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Courtesy of Laura Navrotski

Fenugreek Sprouts for your Salad

Making your own fenugreek sprouts is easy and a tasty addition to any salad! Fenugreek seeds are used as a spice but are actually legumes that can be sprouted like other legumes. Sprouting increases the nutrient content as well as digestibility of the legume. You can use these sprouts raw in salads. You can add up to one cup at a time, depending on your taste. For safety reasons, ensure that you store the sprouts in a safe container in the fridge for a few days.

Fenugreek Nutrients

-Iron – 1 cup provides about 8mg of iron

-Fibre – 100g of seeds provides 25g fibre. In fact, fenugreek is used as a food stabilizer and emulsifying agent due to its fibre, protein, and gum content. Seeds contain insoluble and soluble fibre and the gum portion contains galactose and mannose which are associated with its blood sugar lowering effect.

-Protein – 100g of fenugreek seeds contain 23g protein

-B vitamins, folate

-Many minerals such as calcium, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper

But keep in mind that sprouting the seeds will alter or increase the content of many of these nutrients.

Studies have shown that fenugreek has these benefits:

Promoting milk production while breastfeeding

-Helps with PMS symptoms by balancing hormones

-Lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides

-Helps with digestion and gas, including colic

-Antioxidant and lowers lipid peroxidation which is a factor involved in atherosclerosis

-Helps with inflammation and asthma

Ayurveda

Pungent and bitter. Warming. Balances kapha and vata doshas.

How to Sprout Fenugreek Seeds

  1. Obtain a desired amount of fenugreek seeds (can be purchased in bulk or packaged), you could start with 1/4 cup
  2. Choose a good sized mason jar with a wide lid. Remove the lid, and place a mesh or cheesecloth or muslin cloth over the mouth of the lid, secure tightly with an elastic band.
  3. Place the seeds in the jar, fill with water, secure the mesh on top and leave for 12 hours (or overnight).
  4. After 12 hours, remove the water, rinse carefully under running water, and pour out all the water (through the cloth). Once the water is emptied, place the jar horizontally (or at a little bit of an angle on a plate). You can keep it on the kitchen counter, not in direct sunlight, but not in the dark either
  5. Twice a day (once in the morning, once before bed) rinse the jar under water, through the cloth. Place back on the plate.
  6. After 2 days, sprouts will show. However, leave the sprouts to grow longer, for up to a week.
  7. At the end, remove the sprouts and store in a container in the fridge.

 

Reference:

Sajad Ahmad, WaniPradyumanKumar. Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences. 2016

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