November 19, 2014 by Johanna Burani
Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element in the earth’s crust, accounting for 13% of our planet’s mass. It’s been used in aerospace construction since World War I, is present in today’s cars, beverage cans, golf clubs, fishing reels and even firework sparklers. Who knew?
Magnesium is also found in the human body. It helps all living cells communicate with each other enhancing nerve cell function, assisting in the conversion of glucose into cell energy and promoting glucose storage in the liver and muscles if it’s not needed right away. It participates in the biochemical reactions of more than 300 enzymes involved in ceaseless metabolic activities, including insulin secretion and cellular insulin sensitivity. Who knew?
Some researchers knew. One group in Nuthetal, Germany conducted a meta-analysis of 8 studies (271,869 adults followed over a period of 4-18 years). They found that the people who ate the most magnesium-rich foods lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 23% when compared to those with the least magnesium intake.
It is believed that an elevated concentration of glucose entering the kidneys promotes an increased loss of magnesium in the urine. This, in turn, impairs insulin secretion and action, and worsens diabetes control. Consuming more magnesium can help restore this important balance. (The current RDA for men over 30 is 420 mg/day, and 320 mg/day for women over 30.)
This is good news because magnesium is abundant in our food supply: in oats, leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard, in nuts like almonds and cashews, in dried beans, and in seafood. The other piece of good news is that these foods can all be found at the low end of the glycemic index.
Here are a few magnesium-rich recipes from my website: