Why Do We Need Magnesium in Our Diet?

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Your heart, kidneys and muscles need magnesium to function well. Magnesium makes up important structural components of your teeth and bones. It also helps maintain a balance of various nutrients, including calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin D and copper. In addition, the mineral helps your body produce energy and activate enzymes. Getting the recommended amount of magnesium -- 310 to 320 milligrams for adult women and 400 to 420 milligrams for adult men -- through your diet can help you achieve vibrant health.

Helps Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes over 2 million fractures every year in the United States, reports a study published in the April 2009 issue of “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.” The study says inadequate dietary intake of magnesium may increase the risk factor for osteoporosis. Few studies suggest that eating magnesium-rich foods regularly might improve bone mineral density in women, especially in elderly and postmenopausal women, states the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Benefits Your Blood Pressure

Consistently eating magnesium-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products is tied to lower blood pressure, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Besides magnesium, these foods contain ample amounts of calcium and potassium that play key roles in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Foods such as banana, avocado, dried apricots and dark green, leafy vegetables are high in magnesium. According to the UMMC, a large clinical study involving more than 8,500 women showed an inverse relationship between a higher intake of magnesium and the risk of high blood pressure in women.

Protects Your Heart

Magnesium helps keep your heart in good condition. A review published in the February 2008 issue of “Current Opinion in Lipidology” found that increased magnesium intake causes a modest decrease in the risk for cardiovascular disease. In a study published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in February 2011, women who increased magnesium intake in their diet experienced a lower risk of sudden cardiac death.

Wards Off Diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes often deal with low magnesium levels in their blood, points out the UMMC. It further states that a large clinical study enrolling 2,000 people concluded that adding foods high in magnesium to the diet may help tackle this chronic disease. A September 2000 study reported in the “American Journal of Public Health” suggested that swapping refined grains for whole grains -- which are also good sources of magnesium -- may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus in U.S. women. To get enough magnesium, incorporate nuts, beans, peas, soy products and whole grains such as millet and brown rice into your everyday meals.