Parents used to tell their children to eat their green beans, when at the dinner table, knowing that the vegetable was in the best interest of their kids. Popeye professed the amazing effects of mineral fortified spinach; while his character exemplified muscle strength and an overall healthy physique. Of course, there are many reasons to eat our vegetables, especially green ones. In particular, one of those reasons is the importance of magnesium.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and it is essential in at least 300 biochemical reactions. Over half of the total amount of this mineral is found within the body’s bones; while the other half predominantly resides within the cells of soft tissues and organs. Only a small trace (approximately 1%) of magnesium is found in the blood, though the body works hard to maintain constant blood levels of this element as well.

So why is magnesium such an important ingredient we should all be conscious of getting enough of? Amongst the plethora of biochemical reactions that magnesium is a part of, this mineral is necessary to maintain normal muscle function (Popeye was right to recommend the magnesium-rich spinach he thrives off of) as well as nerve function; keep heart rate/rhythm steady and regular; it supports a healthy immune system; and is one of the necessary components to help keep bones strong. Blood sugar levels, blood pressure, energy metabolism, and protein synthesis are all fluctuant vitals that are in part regulated by magnesium also. An exciting revelation for many migraine sufferers: magnesium has now been linked to possibly reducing the frequency of migraines. Another heroic sign of magnesium are the beneficial results it displays in athletes. A new study has proven that magnesium supplementation positively influences the performance of training athletes by increasing the erythrocyte and hemoglobin levels. Magnesium increases the level of oxygen to the blood which then increases the amount of anabolic nutrients being delivered to working muscles. Magnesium is also known for being an adrenal enhancement which enhances certain hormones and increases the ever important REM stages of sleep.

There is endless evidence to document the pertinent need for magnesium. Some of the biological processes are minimal, while others are quite apparent and directly affective. It has been suggested that magnesium be taken as a supplement on top of increasing your daily intake of the natural mineral. Some foods to double up on include: nuts, lentils, legumes, spinach and other green vegetables(magnesium is found in chlorophyll), fish, and fruit. Halibut, almonds, cashews, spinach, cereal (shredded wheat), oatmeal, potatoes, peanut butter, yogurt, brown rice, bran flakes, lentils, avocado, kidney beans, chocolate/chocolate milk, and bananas are all great ways to add magnesium to your diet, respectively. In order for supplements to work efficiently, they should be taken with calcium. On average, most humans only consume about 60-70% of the recommended daily allowance, and on top of that; things such as stress and caffeine deplete the mineral.

When considering over 300 biochemical processes need magnesium to function properly, consider the importance of getting your daily dosage. Do what it takes. Eat a banana with peanut butter instead of a cookie for your next snack. Swallow a supplement. And for goodness sake, listen to Popeye.