Magnesium Deficient? Have Chocolate!
What is magnesium? Basically, it’s been called the Master Mineral.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “This critical mineral is actually responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues — but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.”
Unfortunately, we don’t usually have enough of it. In fact, 80% of those tested are magnesium deficient.
Here’s why magnesium is so important:
It supports your heart health
It increases your cellular energy production
It regulates blood sugar and glucose levels
It calms anxiety; relaxes your muscles and helps you sleep deeply (I can’t talk enough about this—when I supplement with magnesium at night I literally pass out)
So you basically need magnesium for the most important body functions to operate smoothly. That’s why when you don’t have enough of it, the first symptoms you’ll have are continuous fatigue and poor sleep.
Your heart is responsible for a lot. It delivers your blood to every part of your body and your blood carries oxygen and nutrition to your cells so that they can carry out the very important business of generating energy to keep you alive. But your heart needs enough magnesium to do this. When magnesium levels are low, your heart and blood circulation slow down and so do you. And then your heart has to work a lot harder.
The other major reason magnesium is so important is that your body can’t absorb calcium without it. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your body basically can’t put calcium to good use—and we all know how important calcium is.
What ends up happening is you have all this “extra” calcium floating around your body, waiting for magnesium to help it go where it needs to go. But since there isn’t enough magnesium, the calcium ends up collecting in areas where it really doesn’t have a lot of use—like your arteries (clogging them), or collecting where it might be needed, like your joints, hips, knees, but without the ability to be properly absorbed, these areas become imbalanced calcium collection points (ironically) which result in aches, pains, and arthritis, to name a few.
So what causes a magnesium deficiency?
Sugar (It takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolize a single glucose molecule)
Consumption of produce from depleted soil
Consumption of foods high in phytic acid (grains, beans, legumes)
How do you know if you’re deficient?
- Inability to sleep or insomnia
- Sensitivity to noise
- Mental disturbances
- Anxiety, depression or restlessness
- Muscle soreness or spasms
- Infertility or PMS
- High levels of stress
- Heart “flutters” or palpitations
- Fatigue or unusual tiredness
- Coldness in extremities
- Fuzzy brain or difficulty concentrating
- Allergies and sensitivities
- Lack of appetite
- Back pain
- Body odor
- Bad short term memory
- Poor coordination
- Insulin resistance
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Frequent cavities or poor dental health
- Gut disorders
- Kidney stones
- Thyroid problems
- Restless leg syndrome
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
If you have five or more of these symptoms, you need to raise your magnesium levels:
Up your intake of high-magnesium foods such as leafy greens, sea vegetables and kelp (or my favorite –chocolate — see recipe below)
Reduce your intake of sugar, caffeine, processed foods
Take Epsom salt baths
Supplement. The best way to absorb and make use of magnesium is with a topically applied magnesium oil. Apply it all over your body daily after your shower and/or workout. At bedtime, apply it on the bottoms of your feet for an uninterrupted night of sleep. The first few times that you use it, you might feel a tingly sensation – that’s fine and is relative to your deficiency – so the more tingling you experience, the more deficient you are. As you continue to use the oil and rebuild up your magnesium levels, this tingling will subside.
In Egypt, you can get magnesium oil from Dr. Hani’s natural pharmacy.
And of course, CHOCOLATE!
What Is Cacao?
Long enjoyed for its invigorating properties in South America, and grown in tropical areas, cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. Beans grow on trees, and referred to as “food of the gods,” raw cacao benefits a wide range of cardiovascular issues.
The dark chocolate antioxidants and abundant amounts of magnesium and other phytochemicals can balance blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, scrub away arterial plaque, and promote general health by reversing heart disease. (Raw) chocolate bars are known as a great remedy for many menstruation issues women can get. It is also confirmed as an aphrodisiac for both genders.
All in Moderation
While it may be tempting to run out and gorge on this superfood treat, adding a few tablespoons of raw cacao powder or cacao nibs to your morning smoothie may be all that you can tolerate. Here’s why: Raw cacao, for all its wonderful properties, contains theobromine, a bitter alkaloid with caffeine-like properties. If you are sensitive to theobromine, you may feel jittery, high or on-edge, so best to begin by indulging in moderation!
A Delicious Treat : Chocolate Avocado Pudding
For a quick and nutritious dessert that highlights this ancient superfood, mix 2 ripe avocados, ¼ cup raw cacao powder, a splash of raw honey or maple syrup, a few tablespoons coconut oil, a splash of vanilla and cinnamon to a high-speed blender and whir until you achieve a smooth consistency. Chock full of goodness, this pudding lets you have your chocolate and eat it too!
Dana Dinnawi is an Integrative Nutrition health coach specializing in empowering women to improve their health and family life. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied more than one hundred dietary theories and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. She can be reached through her website and Facebook page.