Magnesium is a critical mineral needed for a variety of normal health functions. Headaches, insomnia, irregularity, moodiness, fatigue, general sadness or a lack of motivation, and even cramps or joint pain are said to be caused by a lack of magnesium. The critical mineral is found abundantly in plants and it’s also the first that’s depleted by stress, fatigue, or too much calcium in the body. Calcium and magnesium both compete for your attention and if one is out of balance, the other is as well. This may be one reason why excess dairy in a person’s diet leads them to experience more muscle fatigue, inflammation, nervousness or anxiety, and can even lead to constipation or worse, osteoporosis. Dairy milk has been found to actually deplete calcium from the bones, along with other critical minerals such as magnesium.
Luckily, magnesium is found in so many delicious plant foods. Animal foods have little to no magnesium at all. Fill up your plate with more magnesium-rich foods that also happen to be high in plant-based calcium. This is the best way to give your body what it needs through your diet without needing a supplement, though some people find they do best with both.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are packed with both magnesium and calcium. They help bring a sense of calm to the body and can help keep your digestive system humming, along with relieving joint pain and inflammation since they’re so rich in chlorophyll. Make a delicious salad, perhaps a green monster smoothie, or use leafy greens like collards to make yummy wraps.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds, specifically almond, cashew, hemp, chia, pumpkin, and sunflower, all have especially high levels of magnesium, along with iron, B vitamins, protein, and healthy fats. A little goes a long way, so add some raw almond butter or a few cashews to your next smoothie or bowl of oats. Or perhaps make some amazing raw vegan energy bars that include several of these ingredients and more.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains are all rich in magnesium, along with potassium, fiber, complex carbs, and protein. Whole grains help your body feel more energized all throughout the day. Be sure to choose 100 percent whole grains versus whole grain products like bread and tortillas. Make a hot bowl of millet porridge or try this protein-packed vegan salad with quinoa.
Bananas are a great source of magnesium and other energizing vitamins such as vitamin B6. I find that the combination of magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6 and natural sugars found in bananas offers the perfect remedy for stress, fatigue, insomnia, and more. With all these amazing banana recipes to try, you’re sure to never run out of options!
Believe it or not, coffee is extremely high in magnesium along with B vitamins. It’s one of the best beverages to get yourself going early on in the day. Decaf may offer some of the same nutritional benefits as regular coffee, but depending on the brew, regular is usually a better source of nutrients. Be sure to choose organic coffee when you can and enjoy your java without a bit of guilt!
The richest source of magnesium in the world is cacao. Oh, how awesome it is to have another reason to love chocolate, right? Cacao is rich in magnesium, iron, B vitamins, protein, fiber, and tons of other nutrients your body loves. If you need a natural pick-me-up, cacao is your best bet! Have some brewed cacao beans in place of coffee or just have a square of dark chocolate. The best option is raw cacao, either in the form of nibs or powder, which contains more antioxidants than any food, along with red wine and green tea. Try out some of these cacao recipes for more inspiration.
Embrace these magnesium rich foods and you’ll feel better in no time at all. You can see it’s actually quite easy to fit these foods into your day since they’re easy to find and enjoyed by many.