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Eat More Magnesium Foods and Youll Feel a Lot Better

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Let's talk about magnesium and why you may feel a lot better if you start eating more magnesium foods. Magnesium is an incredibly important nutrient. Unfortunately, it's not talked about a lot. An estimated 50-75% of people aren't getting the recommended daily intake of magnesium. This is a huge problem!

Not only is magnesium essential for numerous functions throughout the body, but it's also important for your energy levels and mental state. If you just don't feel quite right or you feel like you're out of energy, increasing magnesium might be the best place to start.

In this article, we are going to cover:

Man holding head in office | Eat More Magnesium Foods, and You'll Feel a Lot Better


What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral found in the sea, earth, plants, and animals. It is the second most crucial mineral after potassium and the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. You need both magnesium and potassium in pretty large quantities.

Magnesium is required in over 300 enzymes that cause numerous vital biochemical reactions throughout the body. 90% of this mineral is located in the muscles and bones. The rest is found in soft tissue, blood, and other fluids.

A key function of magnesium is maintaining the electrical charge in the cells. In fact, magnesium is found in every single cell in the body. Without it, your cells wouldn't be able to function.

Magnesium is essential for:

  • Muscle movement
  • Regulating the nervous system
  • Creating energy
  • Forming protein from amino acids
  • Repairing DNA and RNA
  • Regulating mood
  • Controlling blood sugar levels
  • Fighting inflammation

Magnesium also keeps the mineral levels balanced inside of cells. It can help reduce sodium and calcium inside the cells and increase potassium levels inside the cells. Without this careful balance, your cells wouldn’t be able to function at 100%.


Signs of a Magnesium Deficiency

If you go to the doctor, and you have a magnesium deficiency, it won't always show up in a blood test. This is because 99% of that magnesium is inside of the cell, not outside of the cell in the blood. Just because the test is normal, doesn't mean that you're in the clear.

There is something called a subclinical magnesium deficiency. This is where you might have enough magnesium to run the basic machinery in the body, but not the full amount necessary for optimal health and energy. This can cause a lot of low energy problems!

In more extreme cases, low magnesium has been known to cause:

  • Weak or brittle bones (osteoporosis)
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Twitches or tremors
  • Brain fog and other mental problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Heart arrhythmia or palpitations

Another symptom of subclinical magnesium deficiency is vascular calcification. This is when mineral deposits build up the walls of your veins and arteries. This can contribute to blocked arteries and cardiovascular issues.

Woman exhausted and sleeping on a desk with a book | Eat More Magnesium Foods, and You'll Feel a Lot Better


Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

There are two simple causes of low magnesium levels. If you notice that you're energy levels are low, you should take a look at your diet first. As I mentioned before, most people simply don't get enough magnesium in their diet. Here's why:

1. Consuming Too Many Refined Foods

Refined foods are a huge problem when it comes to magnesium. Not only are they stripped of all nutrients, including magnesium, but they also increase your need for magnesium. This includes bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, muffins, and sugar. Cut these out of your diet!

2. Not Consuming Enough Foods High in Magnesium

If you've already cut out the grains, sugars, and other refined foods, then the most likely cause of a magnesium deficiency is not consuming enough magnesium foods.

In the hunter-gatherer times, scientists believe estimate that their diets included over 600 mg of magnesium each day. Today, most people only include around 200 mg of magnesium in their diet. That's a massive difference!

1.5 cups of vegetables a day is the current average, which is far too low. You need at least 7 cups of vegetables a day to get all of the nutrients you need—including magnesium. 10 cups of vegetables would be ideal.

If you already cut back on refined foods and increased the amount of magnesium-rich foods in your diet, then there could be another situation happening. You could have low stomach acid. If your stomach isn’t acidic, your digestive system may not have the acidity it needs to fully break down and use magnesium. Digestive issues like bloating, indigestion, and heartburn could be a sign of a low stomach acidity situation. Apple cider vinegar is a great way to help acidify the stomach naturally.


The Best Keto-friendly Magnesium Foods

If you're on keto, what are the best magnesium foods to consume? Thankfully, a lot of magnesium-rich foods are compatible with the ketogenic diet. Here are some of the best ones that you should start including in your diet on a regular basis:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Chard
  • Avacado
  • Brazil nuts
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa and sugar-free)

Keep in mind that some grains, fruits, and legumes are rich in magnesium. However, they are also high in sugar and carbs. You'll want to avoid these if you're on a ketogenic diet since they can throw your body out of ketosis.

Woman making a salad with healthy magnesium foods | Eat More Magnesium Foods, and You'll Feel a Lot Better


Key Takeaways

Magnesium is an incredibly powerful mineral that is essential for numerous functions throughout the body. A ket function of magnesium is to maintain the electrical charge in your cells. With low magnesium, your cells won't have enough energy, which can leave you exhausted and fatigued.

The majority of people don't get enough magnesium in their diet. This is primarily because most people don’t consume enough vegetables. If you are low on magnesium, it may not show up in blood tests. This is because 99% of the magnesium is in your cells, not your blood.

There are two easy ways to help increase your magnesium levels. First, you need to cut back on refined foods. Refined foods like white sugar, white flour, and pasta are stripped of essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals like magnesium and potassium. Second, you need to increase your intake of magnesium foods. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fatty fish are excellent sources of magnesium.

If you don't feel quite right or you don't have enough energy, consider increasing your magnesium intake and reducing your consumption of refined foods for one week. I have a feeling that this will make a huge difference. Give it a try and see if these magnesium foods have an effect on your energy and mood.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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