Magnesium deficiency is so commonly overlooked, which is strange because it is essential for more than 300 different processes in the body with countless functions including heartbeat, muscle movement, and the production of hormones (like our weight-loss ones!). Chocolate is a major source of magnesium and it’s the most frequently craved food in the UK, so could it be that you are using it for self-medication because of dietary deficiencies? Magnesium is used in the regulation of glucose, insulin (both key for weight release) and the neurotransmitter dopamine (one of our feel-good hormones), therefore a deficiency can manifest in the form of intense sugar cravings, especially for chocolate!
Over the last 50 years, there’s been a general decline in the mineral content of our soil where our cereals and vegetables grow. Modern refining techniques have helped to strip magnesium from the food we eat, but even if you choose whole foods and unprocessed foods many of these don’t contain the levels of minerals that they once did. Have a look at these symptoms, do any apply to you? If so help is on hand!
- Muscle cramps and spasm
- Chocolate cravings
- Muscle cramps/ restless legs
- Cold hands & feet
- High blood pressure
- Headaches & migraine
- Heart burn & acid reflux
- Irregular heart beat/palpitations
Many of us find that increasing our magnesium intake can make chocolate cravings go away. Although the occasional piece of dark chocolate indulgence could help too! The darker the chocolate the more magnesium it contains, so at Slim for Good we recommended 85% chocolate which is low fructose and so much less addictive!
Eating other magnesium-rich foods can helps to keep your chocolate cravings under control and these include: dark leafy greens (particularly spinach), flax seeds, nuts, seeds, soy beans, avocados yoghurt/kefir, figs and bananas.
Because Magnesium is vital for everything from our nerves to our bones and immune system, you might want to consider a supplement particularly if you drink caffeinated drinks (tea/coffee/energy drinks) which are diuretics, and which can quickly deplete our mineral stores.
If you don’t want to take a supplement use Epson Salts or Magnesium Flakes in the bath and relax. (The Flakes are on offer in Revital http://www.revital.co.uk at the time of writing – contact me if you want to use the Slim for Good discount). If you’re going to spend money on a magnesium supplement, it would be best to pick a supplement that will give you the best results so these are recommended:
Magnesium citrate which is inexpensive and easily absorbed. It has a mild laxative effect so good if you suffer with constipation.
Magnesium taurate is the best choice for people with cardiovascular issues, as known to prevent arrhythmias and guard the heart from damage caused by heart attacks. Easily absorbed and it contains no laxative properties.
Magnesium malate is fantastic if you suffer from fatigue.
Magnesium glycinate is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium, and also the least likely to induce diarrhoea. It is the safest option for correcting a long-term deficiency.
If you are taking medications, just check with your chemist should there be any interactions particularly if you are taking any high blood pressure medication as magnesium can decrease blood pressure which might cause your blood pressure to go too low and if you take any muscle relaxants because magnesium relaxes muscles so it could increase the risk of side effects.