Magnesium is an essential mineral for human health. More than 300 enzymes in the body contain magnesium and thus it is important for several metabolic functions. It is vital for the contraction and relaxation of muscles, involved in the synthesis of protein, supports calcium in bone formation and plays a role in regulating the blood pressure are the few from many to mention. The recommended daily requirements of magnesium for adult women and men are 310 and 400 mg respectively. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women need 360 to 400 mg daily. But, only few get their required magnesium from their food. Almost no one takes so much of magnesium from the diet. Therefore, it is important to know the foods rich in magnesium.

Try to include magnesium rich foods daily in your diet. The foods rich in magnesium include:

• Halibut
• Tuna
• Pumpkin and squash seeds
• Beans, black
• Beans, kidney
• Beans, Lima
• Beans, navy
• Beans, Pinto
• Soy beans
• Okra
• Groundnuts
• Almonds
• Brazil nuts
• Cashew nuts
• Pine nuts
• Walnut
• Coconut
• Banana
• Rockfish
• Scallop
• Oysters
• Soy milk
• Tofu
• Barley
• Brown rice
• Oat bran
• Buckwheat
• Wholegrain wheat
• Corn meal
• Broccoli
• Artichokes
• Beet, green
• Chickpeas
• Cowpeas
• Peas, frozen
• Lentils
• Figs, dried
• Prunes
• Yogurt, low fat
• Sweet potatoes
• Potatoes
• Tomato paste

Meat, egg and milk contain only less magnesium.
If you think you are not getting enough magnesium from food you can go for supplements. You must consult with your doctor before taking it because the following points must be considered:

• Excess magnesium has side effects
• Interferes with many medicines, can decrease or increase their effects

People with heart or kidney disease should not take magnesium supplements except under their doctor’s supervision. Be careful with children and do not give them magnesium supplements without doctor’s prescription.

If you have muscle cramps it is not always the magnesium deficiency. Low dehydration can also cause muscle cramps. It is better to drink a glass of water and wait for few minutes. 90% get immediate relief.

If you want to test your magnesium status in your blood ask your clinical laboratory to estimate the magnesium level in the red blood cells. The blood plasma has always the normal level as it is compensated regularly from the red blood cells if there is loss or deficiency. Thus the plasma level is useless.