Illustration of Magnesium-Rich Peanut Butter Cacao Cups

The Benefits of Magnesium

The Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium may not be the first mineral you think of when it comes to supporting the health of your skin; however, it may be the missing link you need. Magnesium is recognised for its use in reducing muscle spasms, relieving cramps and aiding sleep, but did you know that the mineral also has the ability to reduce skin inflammation and improve overall skin tone and texture? This article will give you a deep dive into the benefits of magnesium and how you can easily incorporate it into your everyday routine.

Magnesium is utilised in over 320 different biochemical processes throughout the body and plays an important role in maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, supporting a healthy immune system, controlling a steady heartbeat, maintaining bone strength, balancing blood pressure and blood glucose levels and aiding in making protein, energy and DNA.

When it comes to skin health magnesium works wonders. The benefits of magnesium plays a role in increasing skin hydration, increasing skin permeability, barrier repair and facilitating skin proliferation and epidermal differentiation to reduce inflammation. The benefits of magnesium are endless; many don’t realise that the mineral plays a role in reducing cortisol, one of the body’s stress hormones. What does this have to do with skin health? Well, skin mast cells are activated by stress, and in turn they additionally produce stress hormones and inflammatory factors leading to a vicious cycle of stress-induced inflammatory events. Mast cells have been implicated in numerous skin conditions including acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and pruritus (itchy, dry skin); therefore by reducing stress levels in the body you are inadvertently supporting healthier, more glowing skin.

Signs of a magnesium deficiency

Unfortunately, it is believed that the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk of magnesium deficiency due to chronic diseases, medications and decreased levels of magnesium in food caused by erosion, pesticide and chemical use and other soil contaminations. Some signs of
a magnesium deficiency include:

• Loss of appetite
• Nausea and vomiting
• Fatigue and weakness
• Shaking
• Pins and needles
• Muscle spasms
• Restless legs
• Hyperexcitability
• Sleepiness
• Insomnia
• Anxiety
• Abnormal heart rhythms
• Premenstrual disorder

Certain conditions can increase the need for magnesium such as:

• Alcoholism
• Poorly controlled diabetes
• Malabsorption (eg Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease, short bowel syndrome, Whipple’s disease)
• Endocrine causes (eg aldosteronism, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism)
• Renal disease (eg chronic renal failure, dialysis, Gitelman syndrome)
• Medication use following use of antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, diuretics and proton pump inhibitors

How much magnesium should you be having each day?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults 19–51+ years is 400–420g daily for men and 310–320g for women. Pregnancy requires about 350–360g daily and lactation 310–320g.

11 magnesium-rich foods

  1. 100g cacao (499g magnesium)
  2. 30g pumpkin seeds (156g magnesium)
  3. 30g chia seeds (111g magnesium)
  4. 30g almonds (80g magnesium)
  5. ½ cup boiled spinach (78g magnesium)
  6. 30g cashews (74g magnesium)
  7. ¼ cup peanuts (63g magnesium)
  8.  1 cup soymilk (61g magnesium)
  9. 1 cup cooked oatmeal (6g magnesium)
  10. 1 cup avocado, cubed (44g magnesium)
  11. ½ cup cooked brown rice (42g magnesium)

If you experience any of the above deficiency signs or symptoms it may be a good idea to also include a good-quality magnesium supplement in addition to a varied diet. I recommend taking 150–300mg a day.

Magnesium-Rich Peanut Butter Cacao Cups

Makes 10 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 heaped tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp organic cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp organic peanut butter (read the label and look for 100 per cent crushed peanuts)
  • A few pinches Celtic sea salt

Method:

  1. Bring a small amount of water to boil on the stove. Over the saucepan, place a heatproof bowl and add 1½ tbsp coconut oil and allow to melt.
  2. Add 1 tbsp cacao and ½ tbsp coconut sugar and stir until combined.
  3. Remove from heat and spoon mixture into chocolate mould/ice tray/cupcake cases until each is half full.
  4. Place in the freezer and let sit for 15 mins.
  5. Remove from the freezer and add a dollop of peanut butter on top of each base.
  6. Repeat above steps.
  7. When combined, pour the mixture on top until the peanut butter is covered.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt on top of each cup.
  9. Place back in the freezer for 20 mins or until set.
  10. Allow 5 mins before serving so they melt a little.
  11. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Illustration Getty Images

Ema Taylor

Ema Taylor

Ema Taylor is a naturopath, clinical nutritionist and certified fertility awareness educator. For more, visit emataylor.com or @emataylornaturopathy on Instagram.

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