I was pleased to see TV show ‘The Project’ recently talk about research that showed if you crave chocolate you need magnesium. So true! It’s a question I ask all my patients.
- Magnesium creates energy and stabilises our blood sugar levels preventing sugar cravings. That alone is a lifesaver, but there’s more…
- It also helps our mood and hormone balance.
- When we’re stressed we need more of it.
- If it’s low our muscles can be tired or ache during or after exercise.
Do you eat a diet high in refined grains? (i.e.Weetbix, Special K, Cocoa Pops, most bread, pasta, rice, biscuits and cakes) If so, your need for magnesium is even higher. Make sure what you’re choosing to eat is as unprocessed as possible. I’ve yet to see a Nutrigrain (50% sugar) tree!
This is why organic rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa and corn fresh off the cob are good sources. So are dark leafy greens like spinach along with sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, white beans (great in soups and homemade baked beans), avocado, banana and dark chocolate.
Unfortunately, when you’re stressed, constantly rushing or wound up you can’t eat enough magnesium in your food to supply the body with energy.
Go back to what your grandmother or great grandmother would’ve been eating. Not many packets in those days. The biggest mistake I see people make is thinking that just because it can be bought in the supermarket means it must be okay. The same goes for Gluten Free. Have you actually read some of the labels and noticed that sometimes out of the thirty ingredients only five are actually food? The rest are preservatives, colours and flavours.
Our levels of magnesium start dropping around 2.30 – 3 in the afternoon triggering a slump in energy and mood and sugar or chocolate craving. Imagine trying to be on the ball at work, coping with the kids or resisting the lolly jar when you’re feeling like that?
If you do crave chocolate it’s a classic sign you are magnesium deficient. Have you ever struggled with this?
Not all supplements are created equal. The supermarket, chemist and health food store often have low dose, cheap supplements. The higher therapeutic doses required to treat deficiencies are usually only available to trained naturopaths. So don’t be caught wasting money on supplements that may not work.
When a supplement is prescribed specifically for you you’ll know the dose you’re given is what you really need. I don’t recommend self-prescribing either because you may not know about interactions with other supplements and medications or that taking it at a certain time of the day is essential for it to work.
Tip: if you get a twitchy eye you need magnesium!
Michelle Kirby is a Naturopath and Energy Restoration Specialist at the Canberra Wellness Centre