Ask any athlete about their dietary requirements for safe & productive training and they are unlikely to think of Magnesium. Protein, iron, carbs…. But probably not one of the most essential of minerals, Magnesium.
Magnesium is vital for many 100’s of reactions in the body, including production of energy & normal heart function. When our levels are less than optimumthis can lead to reduced athletic performance, tiredness, less energy to train and also poor post exercise recovery. Magnesium deficiencies have also been associated with migraines, PMT, heart palpitations and constipation.
Magnesium is used up faster through sweating, and it can often be the mineral responsible for cramps and heat stroke, so it is easy to see why athletes in particular need to make sure they are getting enough.
Magnesium was once so readily found in our diet, but declining soil quality has lowered the natural levels in many of our foods. Add to this our excessive sugar intake, increased consumption of alcohol, and our reliance on over processed foods – all of which can hamper our absorption of Magnesium, and it means that for many our intake of this essential mineral is declining.
In particular, if your eating habits sound like the following, you may well be low in Magnesium:
· You eat white flour products instead of wholemeal
· You eat green leafy vegetables infrequently
· You don’t eat nuts & seeds (salted peanuts aren't a health food!)
· You consume sugary foods and drinks frequently
· You drink alcohol regularly
So where can we find food sources of Magnesium?
Great sources of Magnesium are green leafy vegetables, pulses & beans, nuts & seeds & whole grains. Why not add the following to your diet this week?
· Pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds
· Almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashew nuts
· Brown Rice, rye or buckwheat
· Wholemeal bread
· Spinach, watercress, kale, broccoli, rocket
· Pinto, kidney, cannellini, aduki beans
· Baked Potato
· Natural Yoghurt, milk