Did you know that nutritional magnesium deficiency may have caused up to eight million sudden coronary deaths in the US between 1940 and 1994? This frightening estimate is based on census data and studies of similar deaths from magnesium deficiency conducted in other countries.
Globally, magnesium deficiency has reached epidemic proportions. In the US, the Dept. of Agriculture reported that only a quarter of 37,000 consumers they surveyed had a dietary magnesium intake that was equal to or exceeded the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - while 39% of those surveyed ingested less than 70% of the RDA.
Magnesium is a vital mineral that is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It regulates enzyme reactions, helps energy production, assists in transporting ions across cell membranes and more. In fact, every one of the body's organs requires magnesium to function properly.
Magnesium deficiencies can lead to anxiety, restless leg syndrome, nausea, muscle cramps, insomnia and other health problems. Although poor diets are partially to blame, the biggest reason for magnesium deficiency is ongoing soil erosion, which has significantly reduced the earth’s mineral content.
If you want to prevent or correct magnesium deficiency through your diet, here are four foods that have still retained their magnesium content:
- Kelp - sea vegetables remain the best source of many essential minerals. A cup of kelp contains approximately 121 milligrams of magnesium (30 percent of RDA). Kelp is also one of the best sources of iodine, another mineral in which many people are deficient.
- Blackstrap molasses - the roots of sugar cane grow deep into the soil, so it’s able to tap into nutrients that other plants cannot reach. This is the reason why organic blackstrap molasses - the treacle-like byproduct of sugar cane refinement - is so rich in essential minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Just one tablespoon of this dark, viscous molasses will provide you with 48 milligrams of easily digestible magnesium.
- Cacao - magnesium deficiencies often manifest as chronic chocolate cravings, because cacao beans are one of the most magnesium-rich foods in the world. One cup of powdered cacao beans contains a whopping 429 milligrams of magnesium, or just over 100 percent of RDA. That’s why cacao and cacao products make you feel relaxed and energized after eating them.
- Rice bran - rice bran is the world's greatest source of magnesium. Just one cup of this byproduct of the rice milling process contains 922 milligrams of magnesium, or more than twice the RDA. It is also unusually high in manganese, phosphorus, iron and the B vitamins. Like blackstrap molasses, rice bran is an excellent gluten-free nutrient supplement and can be added to cereals, soups, muffins, cakes and other baked goods. In fact, a lot of recipes that incorporate blackstrap molasses can also easily incorporate rice bran, providing you with a double dose of essential magnesium.
Given the many health problems associated with magnesium deficiency, why not add one or more of these nutritious foods to your diet today?