Founder, Instructor, Personal Trainer AND Nutritional Expert Katie O’Connor is a pretty knowledgable voice in all things health. Here she gives us one quick and easy way to improve our general well being.
Walking down the vitamin aisle at the health food store reminds me of the skincare section in any department store: hundreds of beautifully packages bottles, promising youth, health and happiness…with a hefty price tag! The supplement world is a minefield of conflicting messages. Some experts swear we can get all we need from a health balanced diet. Other experts swear we need certain supplements to be healthy.
I do believe that we could get all the vitamins and minerals that we need from food. Afterall, our ancestors 100 years ago didn’t have a local Wholefoods to stock up on their supplements and they survived. However, with increasingly busy lives and food that is less nutrient rich than it was in the past (more on that later), I’m still a big fan of some nutritional ‘insurance’ in the form of supplementation.
Today, I want to focus on Magnesium. I may sound like I’m preaching, but I believe adding a magnesium supplement to your diet is probably the best, easiest thing you could do to improve your health today. Magnesium regulates over 300 enzyme functions in our body, affecting our electrolyte balance, metabolism and many other biochemical reactions. Having sufficient magnesium levels can help our health in many ways, including better sleep, increased energy, improved mood, stronger muscles, reduced muscle soreness after exercise, improved flexibility, improved performance under stress, and stronger bones. It can also help prevent disease and repair ailments including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, period pain, chronic pain, asthma, migraines, and constipation. And that is not even an exhaustive list!
Our bodies cannot manufacture magnesium so we need to continually supply it to the body. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles often deplete magnesium stores faster than they are replenished. Coffee, alcohol, black tea, soy, and many prescription drugs are all culprits. Good food sources of magnesium include seaweed, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and avocados. Magnesium is scarcer in our modern food supply than it was historically because much of the magnesium is farmed out of the soil. You will get more magnesium from organic food, but you still may need to supplement.
I take a magnesium supplement each morning in powder form. If you opt to supplement magnesium, look for Magnesium Glycinate. This form provides the highest absorption and bioavailability. You may come across Magnesium Oxidate, which is the cheapest form, but your body will only absorb about 4%. It does work as an effective laxative, however if that’s what you’re going for! You can also absorb magnesium through your skin. Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate) baths and foot soaks are great for this, or you can apply magnesium oil topically for absorption. Try it out and I think you’ll feel the benefits to your body in a matter of weeks. Enjoy!