How Much You Need: 310 mg to 420 mg/day depending on age and gender
Why You Need It: Although our body is only 1 percent magnesium, it is second to potassium intracellularly, which means without it our bodies would not function properly.
What to Eat: When foods grown and picked from the soil are processed, magnesium can be removed substantially through the removal of outer layers like in refined wheat flour or white breads. Choose minimally processed whole foods like nuts, legumes, whole grains and leafy green vegetables. Try 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, ½ cup black eyed peas, or 1 slice of whole grain bread, which can account for 50 mg of magnesium. Larger amounts of magnesium can be found in sources such as hailbut and smaller amounts are found in milk, brown rice, chocolate and coffee.
Who is Susceptible: Deficiency is somewhat rare, but those with diseases related to fat malabsorption such as inflammatory bowel or pancreatic disease have increased magnesium losses because it’s absorbed through the small intestine, as well as the colon.
Expert Tip: Poor magnesium status or low intakes have been linked to hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus, which means these diseases can be accelerated if magnesium is not controlled. In pharmacological doses, vitamin D and protein have been shown to increase the retention of magnesium; however, excessive fiber can interfere with the absorption so be careful of consuming too much if you’re at risk.