What about magnesium?

Photo by Juan José Valencia Antía

As a mother, I’m constantly quizzed about my son’s milk intake and whether or not he gets enough calcium, but it’s very rare to hear much from the NHS or other mainstream nutrition experts about other vitamins, minerals and enzymes, with the exception of vitamin D.

So why is magnesium so important?

Magnesium is a very important mineral, used in the fluid between cells, and is required for muscles and nerves to function normally, for bone growth, for heart function and for the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins. In other words, without magnesium, your muscles wouldn’t be able to retract after they contract when you flex them, your body couldn’t convert your breakfast omelette into energy, your heart wouldn’t beat properly and your bones wouldn’t get stronger after doing any kind of weight bearing exercise.

Getting enough magnesium

Luckily, with a real food diet, it’s relatively easy to make sure that you and your child get enough magnesium. It’s plentiful in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, avocado, seafood, nuts & seeds such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, flaxseed & pecans, berries & other fruit and meat.  According to the NHS, women need 270mg a day and men need 300mg a day. Children between 1 and 4 years old need 80mg a day and go up to 130mg a day between 4 and 8 years of age.

What does this look like in real terms?

Food                                                                                                                     Magnesium Content

1 medium banana 32mg
1 cup cooked spinach 157mg
1 avocado 58mg
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds 14mg
6 medium strawberries 9mg
1 kiwi 13mg
1 large baked potato 90mg

If you aim to eat the rainbow most days, it should be fairly easy to get the daily requirement of magnesium without needing to resort to a supplement.

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