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Magnesium - Benefits, Food Sources and Signs of Deficiency

Magnesium, vitally essential to good health, is an important mineral that is used by the body on a daily basis. More than three hundred biochemical body processes use magnesium to complete their job.

Magnesium is a key ingredient to the formula of a healthy immune system. In addition, appropriate magnesium levels maintain good muscle and nerve function throughout the body. Accordingly, bones are kept strong through the absorption of sufficient levels of magnesium. Magnesium, which is used in protein synthesis, helps to maintain normal blood pressure and a steady heart rhythm. In turn, energy levels, as well as sugar levels, are kept at a balance.

Magnesium is found in the human body in the bones, body tissues, organs, and blood. The bones contain over fifty percent of the body's magnesium, while the blood contains one percent.

Spinach is a Good Food Source of MagnesiumEating a healthy diet is important, because magnesium is found in many natural foods. Generally, the daily required minimum level of this mineral can be achieved with a diet based in a variety of foods, including dark, green leafy vegetables, legumes, a select variety of nuts, including cashews, peanuts, and almonds, and unrefined grains.

Good sources of magnesium include, but are not limited to halibut, spinach, soybeans, unrefined bran, wheat, oatmeal, nuts, brown rice, black-eyed peas and yogurt. Lower food sources of magnesium include, but are not limited to pinto and kidney beans, lentils, avocado, bananas, raisins, and chocolate milk. Additionally, hard water, water that is rich in minerals, may provide a minimal amount of magnesium.

Since magnesium is excreted by the kidneys and absorbed by the small intestines, overall good health is important to the assimilation of magnesium in the body. Currently, studies are investigating a possible link between insufficient magnesium intake and diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Although rarely seen, severe deficiencies in magnesium intakes result in several side effects or symptoms. Nausea, reduced energy levels, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures may result from the body's inability to absorb magnesium or improper diet. Usually, this only occurs in people who have a gastrointestinal disease.

Minor deficiencies are more common and generally occur in elderly people from all ethnic backgrounds. In these cases, an oral supplement can often alleviate the deficiency. The more severe cases are treated with intravenous supplementation.

While magnesium does not keep the body healthy all by itself, it remains a crucial feature in any diet. Remember that a healthy immune system may protect you from a variety of illnesses and strive to eat a varied diet rich in magnesium.

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