Summer of 2019 is already upon us and I’ve been keeping an eye on new health, wellness, and self-care trends. In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to find personal self-love and mindfulness-cloaked rituals that help balance and amplify our inner happiness.
While 2019 may still be young, there is already a ritual that’s stealing headlines: magnesium bathing!
Magnesium is an essential mineral with over 600 biochemical reactions throughout the body. This enigmatic mineral has been attributed to various health benefits such as a boost in energy, healthier blood sugar, and stronger bones. While magnesium is consumed via plant-based foods — such as green leafy veggies, nuts, and seeds — an incredibly powerful way to infuse your body with a dose of magnesium is through skin absorption.
Enter the practice of magnesium bathing!
There are various health benefits linked to magnesium-bathing such as relieving muscular aches and pains, reducing anxiety, and even improving sleep. Plus, as a high percentage of people are magnesium deficient, magnesium bathing is a natural and relaxing way to get the dose you need!
You may not give magnesium a second thought, yet, for your body, it’s an essential component for important bodily operations such as “regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.” In fact, magnesium is the “fourth most abundant mineral in the body” and is found naturally in plants and animals, the sea, the earth, as well as humans.
Yet, while you can consume this mineral naturally, humans generally are slightly magnesium deficient. Luckily, magnesium is also available in a dietary supplement form such as this non-GMO, gluten and sugar-free, vegan Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Whole Food Magnesium 421.5g Powder or this non-GMO, gluten and soy free, vegan NATURELO Magnesium Glycinate Supplement. Magnesium can also be consumed via fortified cereals and food items.
Magnesium for Your Body
How does magnesium accomplish all of these tasks?
Magnesium is a helper molecule, also called a cofactor, which means they aid enzymes in biochemical reactions. In fact, magnesium is a component in 300 biochemical reactions. Some of the most important of these biochemical reactions include converting food into energy, contracting and relaxing muscles, forming proteins, and the maintenance and regulation of neurotransmitters, “which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.” One of the most important roles of magnesium is in your bones! It’s estimated that about “60 percent of the magnesium in your body is found in bone,” and the rest resides in “muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood.” Magnesium plays an integral role in the “structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione,” which, among other things, protects cells from oxidative damage.
How Much and Where to Find Magnesium
The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for magnesium are dependent on age, sex, and if a woman is either pregnant or lactating. For instance, a man between the age of 19 and 50 years of age should aim for between 400 and 420 milligrams of magnesium daily. A woman on the other hand in that same age range should consume between 310 to 320 milligrams. If that woman is pregnant, she should aim for 350 to 360, but if that woman is lactating, she should return to normal levels of around 310 to 320.
If you consume too much magnesium, referred to as a magnesium overdose, it can lead to hypermagnesemia, when there is “too much magnesium in your blood.” Generally, hypermagnesemia occurs in those with chronic kidney disease and is incredibly rare. On the other hand, a magnesium deficiency has been linked to “diseases such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, hereditary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.”
Therefore, it’s incredibly important to monitor dietary supplemental changes with your doctor or nutritionist!
Magnesium is one of the best minerals to consume via your diet due to the fact that 30 to 40 percent of dietary magnesium is generally absorbed by the body. Plus, it’s naturally present in most plant-based foods including “green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains,” as well as foods that contain dietary fiber and fortified foods, including breakfast cereals.
With that said, magnesium is also absorbed via the skin. As the body’s largest organ, the skin has an “amazing ability to absorb, filter toxins, and deliver nutrients to the body.” Many people have turned to magnesium-rich lotions and creams to rub directly on tight and aching muscles or to help relieve anxiety. Another great way to absorb magnesium is via magnesium-bathing!
What is Magnesium Bathing?
Many of us separate nutritional health from self-care. Yet, providing your body with proper nutrition is an essential part of caring for your body. Proper nutrition has been linked to lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as healthy weight, higher levels of energy, and better quality of life.
So, why not intermingle nutritional supplementation with self-care routines? This is where magnesium bathing comes into play.
Epsom Salts versus Magnesium Flakes
A magnesium bath is super easy to prepare!
To begin, you’ll need to choose between Epsom salts or magnesium flakes. Epsom salt is created from magnesium sulfate, while magnesium flakes are made from magnesium chloride. While you can use magnesium flakes in a bath, it’s important to note that this form of magnesium is absorbed much easier (which is why it’s a preferred source for topical applications), therefore you’ll get a more potent dose. Epsom salts, on the other hand, are not “as easily absorbed and utilized in the body,” and is “also more rapidly excreted through the kidneys than magnesium chloride.” This means that the effects of an Epsom salt bath generally won’t last as long as that of a magnesium flake bath.
How do you choose? Speak with your doctor or nutritionist! Depending on your specific bodily needs, you may want to go with the lower “dose” of Epsom salt or higher “dose” of magnesium flakes.
Creating Your Magnesium Bath Recipe
First off, you’ll need to purchase either magnesium flakes or Epsom salts.
Try and find organic or naturally sourced magnesium such as this 6.5-pound jar of Omica Organics Magnesium Flakes by Brison for $24.95, this Essential Living, 6-pound bag of Pure Dead Sea Magnesium Bath Flakes for $26.97, this 5-pound bag of Epsom Salt by Sky Organics for $15.19, or this 5-pound bag of Pure Organic Ingredients Epsom Salt for $18.50.
Health Benefits of Magnesium Bathing
Magnesium bathing has a laundry list of health benefits including boosting skin hydration, helping to relieve skin conditions, — such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, or reactions to poison ivy — improving sleep, and even aiding in respiratory illnesses. Here are a few of the most highly researched and well-established health benefits of magnesium-bathing!
Relieving Muscle Aches, Joint Paint, and Headaches
Boosting your intake of magnesium, especially via direct infusion from magnesium bathing, increases anti-inflammatory agents — which helps decrease joint pain — and helps relieve muscles aches by providing the body with the necessary nutrition for neuromuscular transmission. Magnesium’s ability to fight pain extends to headaches too, especially migraines. A study performed with migraine sufferers supplemented 1 gram of magnesium in those in the midst of a migraine attack. The participants were “provided relief … more quickly and effectively than a common medication.”
As I’ve mentioned, magnesium plays an essential role in the regulation of neurotransmitters, making it important for proper brain function. On top of that, magnesium has been linked to mood control, in particular, “low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression.” A research analysis looked at over 8,000 people and “found that people under the age of 65 with the lowest magnesium intake had a 22% greater risk of depression.” In fact, researchers suggest that the low quality of magnesium-rich foods could possibly be linked to many different mood disorders and mental illnesses.
If you don’t suffer from poor circulatory issues, then most likely you haven’t thought about it much. Yet, healthy circulation is important for everyone. When we say circulation, we’re referring to the “blood flow through the arteries and veins.” Magnesium is one of those wonderful nutrients that play an important role in blood circulation by relaxing arteries, allowing them to expand and contract in a healthy and natural way.
Many of us just don’t have time to take a long luxurious bath every week. Yet, it’s still important to get the appropriate amount of magnesium. Enter plant-based foods! While it’s easy to infuse an entire meal with magnesium, let’s look at easy snacks to get that daily dose.
Nuts provide a great source of nutrients, including magnesium. In particular, almonds! In fact, one cup of raw almonds has a whopping 395 milligrams of magnesium. While consuming a handful of raw almonds is a great and easy snack, you can also get the same magnesium-dose via almond flour-based snacks such as these Easy Almond Tahini Cookies, these Cauliflower Rolls, or even these delicious and packable Chocolate Covered Peanut Brownie Bars.
Seeds, much like nuts, are a great source of magnesium and can be consumed raw. In particular, hemp seeds are one of the richest sources of magnesium, as well as a whole host of other nutrients. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds offer 60 percent of your daily recommended intake. Seeds are incredibly diverse ingredients, yet one of the easiest ways to snack on them is via smoothies such as this Memory Booster Chunky Monkey Shake, this Winter Citrus Smoothie, or in this Protein Rich Green Smoothie.
This plant-based staple also happens to be incredibly rich in magnesium. Just one serving of oats contains “nearly 300 milligrams” of magnesium, as well as a helping of “protein, fiber, [and] potassium.” Plus, oats can be used to make the most delightfully flavored, filling, and easy snack foods such as this Maple Crunch Granola, these Chocolate Pretzel Quinoa Bars, or these Caramel Pear Oat Squares.
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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