Magnesium is an essential mineral necessary for proper functioning and maintenance of the body. It is vital that you get adequate amounts of magnesium daily to support health and prevent deficiency. Fortunately, magnesium is naturally abundant in a variety of foods such as grains, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Consult a registered dietitian for your specific vitamin and other nutritional requirements.
All bones, cells and organs in the body require magnesium for proper functioning and maintenance. The mineral is required for the contraction and relaxation of muscles and nerve function. It also necessary for the production of enzymes and other proteins in the body. Magnesium is an essential mineral because it cannot be made in your body and must be abundant in your diet. Magnesium deficiency is rare in the United States. Individuals most at risk for deficiency include those with gastrointestinal disorders, burn victims or patients just out of surgery. Common symptoms associated with deficiency include insomnia, rapid heartbeat, numbness and muscle weakness.
According to the Institute of Medicine, men require 400 to 420 mg of magnesium daily while women require 310 to 320 mg. Pregnant or lactating women require slightly greater amounts, approximately 310 to 400 mg, per day. Children require 80 to 240 mg daily, while adolescents require 360 to 410 mg of magnesium. Individuals using certain medications or who have chronic absorption problems might require higher amounts of magnesium daily. Consult your health care provider or registered dietitian for specific requirements based on your activity level or condition.
Green leafy vegetables are rich sources of magnesium. Some examples include Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens and broccoli. A half cup of cooked spinach provides 75 mg of magnesium, or 20 percent of the Recommended Daily Value, or RDA. Significant sources of magnesium can also be found in various legumes, nuts and seeds, such as flaxseed, peas, lentils, beans, cashews and almonds. One ounce of dry-roasted cashews provides 75 mg of magnesium. Other sources of magnesium include fruits and whole grains. One medium-size banana provides 30 mg of magnesium.
Do not rely solely on one food source for your daily magnesium intake. You can ensure adequate intake of magnesium by consuming a balanced diet that incorporates various legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and 8 to 10 servings of whole grains. Magnesium can also be taken as a dietary supplement. Ask your health care provider if you need to take a daily multivitamin formula with magnesium to help ensure intake.