As nutritionists, we are always banging on about the importance vitamins and minerals in the diet. So, over the next few months we at Naturally Nutritious will be highlighting our favourite nutrients (yes, we have favourites). We’ll tell you why we love them so much and which foods will give you the most nutrients, plus a few easy tips on how to include them in your diet today!
What does it do?
We begin with Magnesium. A mineral that is involved in over 300 essential bodily functions. Responsible for brain and nerve function, muscle contractions, energy metabolism, bone density and is an important component of breast milk (to name but a few). So basically, what we are trying to say is that Magnesium is kind of like the 'Madonna' of minerals, it’s a classic and it does a bit of everything.
How much do you need?
Magnesium is so potent that your body can do some pretty amazing things with the tiniest amount. The Recommended Dietary Intake (*RDI) is the amount needed for optimal health, per day.
Magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is naturally found in small amounts in almost all fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein-rich foods such as legumes and nuts. So, if like us, you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, you’ll most certainly meet the RDI.
But, to get the best bang for your buck, these foods below have the highest amounts of magnesium.
Whole grains and cereals
· Barley, wild rice, brown rice, or any grain that hasn’t been overly processed and still has the germ/husk attached
· Dark leafy greens like kale, rainbow chard and silver beet
· Avocados (we love avos!) and legumes like black beans
Meat and Meat alternatives
· Some seafoods are very high in magnesium, especially mussels, oysters, and mackerel fish
· Tofu is a great alternative source too
The fun stuff
Dark chocolate (Yes, I know….I can’t believe it either) the darker the better!
Nuts & Seeds
· Almonds and peanuts, even better with the skin-on and un-roasted
· Pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)
· Dried figs
Who is at risk of deficiency?
· In a nutshell, it’s easy to become deficient if your diet is limited in variety and does not contain many fresh wholesome foods
· Easy fix! Eat up, I mean… chocolate, guys! Not to mention the multitude of other amazing nutrients that these foods also provide, like fibre, good fats (nuts), iron, essential amino acids, and antioxidants galore. The list is long and impressive!
How to include Magnesium-rich foods?
Here are some fantastic recipes that showcase these Madonna-like Magnesium rich ingredients
· Pumpkin seeds, almonds and peanuts make for a great daily snack. Just 30g/day, a small handful, will provide about 70% of the magnesium RDI
· Plus, snacking on nuts throughout the day has also been shown to help with weight management
Lunch & dinner
· Give oysters a try, eat them fresh with a slice of lemon! Mussels are fantastic additions to a paella! Mackeral is great pan fried with a side of Best ever healthy sweet potato fries!
· Opt for wholegrain breads, brown rice, or make a barley stew or add to wintery soups
· Dark leafy greens are packed with good nutrition and so super easy to incorporate into almost any meal. Wash them well, chop them up and watch them wilt away in pasta dishes, soups, stews, stir fries, frittatas - you name it!
· Avocado is great in salads, spread on toast or try making our Green Smoothie
· Double up on magnesium by snacking on dark chocolate covered almonds and peanuts! YUM
· Or try our Three-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse featuring tofu!
· Get your magnesium fix with using black rice in our Orange and Vanilla Black Rice Pudding recipe
Magensium (2014). Retrieved from https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/magnesium
Bes-Rastrollo M, et al. (2009). Prospective study of nut consumption, long-term weight change, and obesity risk in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89:1913–9.