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Magnesium and Your Body

Five magnesium packed recipes that are good for your taste buds as well as your health

BY LAURA LEE LABELLE

According to population studies, there's a good chance you are not getting as much magnesium as your body needs. Less than 30% of U.S. adults get the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium and nearly 20% only get half of what they need to remain healthy.

Some key signs of deficiency are cramping, poor sleep, high blood pressure, poor kidney function and chronic pain. Most notably, many of these conditions can become serious if left unaddressed, and for an athlete, these symptoms can contribute to poor and reduced performance.

As a cofactor for more than 300 enzyme systems and biomechanical reactions, magnesium is necessary for the production of energy and the regulation of many bodily systems. As such it is fundamental in protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation and control, energy metabolism as well as the production of the antioxidant glutathione.

Though it's found naturally in many foods, there are several contributing factors as to why we are not getting sufficient magnesium.

With the industrial revolution and the rise of factory farming, we have seen our food's nutritional value fall by almost 80% since the 1950's. Our reduced magnesium consumption is a result of over-farmed soil, overprocessed food, and changes in our diets like the excessive consumption of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Also worth consideration is the consumption of carbonated drinks which may contain phosphates that bind with magnesium and render it unavailable to the body. If your diet contains a high amount of processed sugar and/ or caffeinated beverages, you are causing your kidneys to excrete extra magnesium. Other factors that lead to magnesium depletion can be stress, excessive alcohol consumption and even the use of calcium supplements that do not include magnesium for optimal calcium absorption.

Despite these challenges, there are solutions: couple quality supplementation to balance magnesium levels while eating whole, non-processed organic foods that are rich in magnesium. The top ten magnesium rich foods include: spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocado, dark chocolate and bananas.

Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds

Seasoned pumpkin seeds add a fl avor boost and crunch kick to salads and soups or make a great snack on their own.

Ingredients:

12 oz raw pumpkin seeds
2 TBS lime juice
1 TBS olive oil
2 tsp fine pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rub oil all over the top of a cookie sheet. In a bowl mix all other ingredients. Spread on the cookie sheet and toast till golden. Cool and serve.

Warm Spinach Salad

This simple warm spinach salad is ready to go in no time. The mushrooms not only add extra fl avor but are also a great source of magnesium.

Ingredients:

10 ounce bag fresh spinach leaves ready to serve spinach or (cleaned and dried)
5 TBS olive oil, divided
4 large shallots sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
2 TBS seasoned rice vinegar
1 TBS Dijon
3 hard boiled eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Place spinach in a serving bowl. In a medium saute pan put in 2 Tbs oil and saute shallots and mushrooms. When mushrooms and shallots are soft and cooked through add mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper and remaining oil. Warm for a minute and pour over spinach. Toss salad and garnish with feta cheese and quartered eggs

Banana Snack

Spice up this lunch box staple with almond butter, coco nibs, and golden flax for added flavor and magnesium.

Ingredients:

1 large banana
2 TBS raw almond butter
1 TBS coco nibs
2 tsp golden flax

Peel banana and place on a plate, slather with almond butter, sprinkle with coco nibs and flax and enjoy.

Apple Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

1 head butter lettuce, shredded
3 Belgian endives, cut crosswise into ribbons
1 large crisp apple, peeled and cubed
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced (or dried dill)

Dressing:

Juice of one large lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a small bowl (or Hammer Blender Bottle) and mix well.

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing, gently toss, and serve.

Black Bean Salad

Ingredients:

(2) 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2/3 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced (or as desired)
3 TBS olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
1 TBS cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

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