Mar 22, 2017

Why Magnesium is important and how you can obtain it from plant-based sources?


As I had written sometime back, migraine and I go a long way. While reading up about migraine, I learned that increasing magnesium intake can reduce migraine attacks. So I started researching about the importance of magnesium and its sources. Though we all understand that calcium and iron are important for our physical wellbeing, there are other minerals that are equally important for various body functions.

Essential minerals that our body requires are divided into major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals). Magnesium falls under the category of major minerals.

Magnesium helps
- to maintain the normal functioning of nerves and muscles
- to keep the bones strong
- to maintain a steady heart rate
- to improve immunity
- to regulate blood glucose levels
- to prevent and manage lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
- in the production of energy and protein synthesis
- in regulating body temperature
- in the treatment of migraine, insomnia, depression, anxiety and panic attacks

Recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium:

4 - 8 years => 130 mg/day

Boys 9 - 13 years => 240 mg/day
Boys 14 - 18 years => 410 mg/day

Girls 9 - 13 years => 240 mg/day
Girls 14 - 18 years  => 360 mg/day

Men, 19 - 30 years => 400 mg/day
Men, > 30 years => 420 mg/day

Women, 19 - 30 years => 310 mg/day
Women, > 30 years => 320 mg/day


Sources Magnesium per 100 gms


Grains/Cereals
Amaranth seeds, pale brown 270 mg
Ragi 146 mg
Maize, dry 145 mg
Jowar 133 mg
Wheat flour, atta 125 mg
Bajra 124 mg
Varagu 122 mg
Rice, raw, brown 94 mg
Samai 91 mg


Legumes/Pulses
Cowpea (brown and white) 213 mg
Moth bean 205 mg
Green gram, whole 198 mg
Black gram, whole 190 mg
Black gram, dal 173 mg
Field bean, brown 173 mg
Rajma, red 173 mg
Bengal gram, whole 160 mg
Horsegram 152 mg


Green leafy vegetables
Amaranth leaves, green 194 mg
Curry leaves 182 mg
Amaranth leaves, red 177 mg
Basella leaves 153 mg
Beet greens  120 mg
Mint leaves 110 mg
Drumstick leaves 97 mg
Spinach 87 mg
Coriander leaves 73 mg


Vegetables
Cluster beans 82 mg
Ladiesfinger 66 mg
Water chestnut 57 mg
Ginger 55 mg


Fruits
Tamarind, pulp 83 mg
Dates, pale brown 74 mg
Banana, ripe, poovam 44 mg


Spices and Condiments
Cumin seeds 442 mg
Poppy seeds 393 mg
Coriander seeds 343 mg
Cloves 334 mg
Cardamom, green 330 mg
Cardamom, black 286 mg
Ajwain (Omum) 273 mg
Turmeric powder 260 mg
Chillies, red 231 mg
Pepper 196 mg
Pipali (long pepper) 189 mg
Fenugreek seeds 167 mg
Asafoetida 96 mg


Nuts&Seeds
Sunflower seeds 413 mg
Till / Sesame seeds, black 390 mg
Till / Sesame seeds, white 372 mg
Till / Sesame seeds, brown 328 mg
Almonds 318 mg
Cashewnuts 307 mg
Mustard seeds 266 mg
Walnuts 180 mg


Jaggery 115 mg


1) Most of the legumes/pulses we use in Indian cooking on a daily basis contain adequate amounts of magnesium
2) Magnesium is present in very less quantity in vegetables and fruits. Including greens in your daily diet will provide the required intake
3) When compared with the list of calcium-rich and iron-rich plant sources that I had compiled earlier, there are many common sources that are good in magnesium as well - curry leaves, mint leaves, ragi, cowpeas, till seeds etc
4) It is no wonder that our age-old home remedy for migraine attacks include chewing cloves or drinking a glass of warm jeera water. Both cloves and cumin seeds are rich in magnesium
5) Maize can be incorporated in the form of home-made popcorn using minimal oil and salt

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