x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Food for Thought: Pay attention to magnesium

Magnesium is responsible for relaxing and calming the muscles, and so without an adequate intake our body can feel uncomfortable and stiff.

Almonds and other nuts are a great source of magnesium. iStockphoto
Almonds and other nuts are a great source of magnesium. iStockphoto

If your body feels tight and achy, regardless of whether you have been to the gym or not, then according to research you could be suffering from a deficiency of the mineral magnesium.

Magnesium is responsible for relaxing and calming the muscles and so without adequate intake our body can begin to feel really uncomfortable and stiff. If you are going to the gym and struggling with the side effects of a "no pain no gain" approach, magnesium has been shown to actively relax the muscles, which in turn helps to relieve the tension and tight feeling.

The effects are further aided by its topical application and magnesium is now available as a spray. Studies have shown that when applied to tight areas of your body, the discomfort is reduced. You can get the same results with epsom salts: add them to your bath and soak for 20 minutes for relief from tightness. These salts are essentially magnesium and absorption through the skin is very effective.

Interestingly, magnesium has also been shown to improve flexibility, so if you are struggling with bending, magnesium could benefit you. In fact, gymnasts and yogis alike use magnesium for this very reason. On a more serious note, we need to remember that our heart is also a muscle, and for our health and well-being this very important muscle needs to be relaxed and comfortable. It is no surprise then that a deficiency in magnesium has also been noted as one of the main causation factors in high blood pressure and stress, with studies showing magnesium to have beneficial effects in both cases. Excellent food sources according to the World's Healthiest Foods website include avocados, sesame seeds, nuts, dark leafy greens, raw cacao and pumpkin seeds.

Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to www.BeUtifulYou.com