Heart conditions are among the most common health conditions affecting Australians today. Yet, they remain one of the trickiest health problems to manage (1).
Eating foods that are high in antioxidants, dietary fibre, and micronutrients can help lower blood pressure, thus keeping your heart healthier (8) . Part of having a healthy heart is also having the right intake of vitamin A, calcium, selenium, and iodine.
Magnesium is essential for heart health. Magnesium can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (9) and promote healthier heart muscles (7). Magnesium also helps convert food into energy and supports your overall wellbeing (2). Consuming the daily recommended dose of magnesium by incorporating both dietary supplement as well as the right foods in your diet could help you and your heart stay healthy.
Here are some options of magnesium-rich foods:
Fruits and veggies, particularly leafy greens, remain the healthiest food categories to gain nutrition from. These nutrients include vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, phosphorus, and folic acid (10). Some of these vegetables produce high intakes of magnesium as well as other nutrients and minerals when cooked.
Spinach, potato, okra, and edamame are some options of magnesium-rich fruits and veggies.
Trail mix is a good source of energy and a healthy on-the-go snack. Varieties of trail mix that contain magnesium-rich nuts can assist in glucose breakdown, making your body's energy-producing cycle much more productive (4). Nuts and seeds are also an excellent source of vitamins like vitamin E, B6, niacin, and folate which are good for the heart.
Dark chocolate is as healthy as it is delicious. It's very rich in magnesium, with 64 mg of magnesium in a 28-gram serving. Nuts like cashews, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are good snacks to have at home, at work, or during walks. While seeds are a good source of potassium, calcium, plant iron, and zinc (11).
Meat and poultry are great sources of protein, but do not provide sufficient magnesium. To increase magnesium intake consider other food sources like cheese, yogurts, and soy that provide both protein and magnesium (5).
If vegan or vegetarian, soy nuts, beans like lima and chickpeas, tofu, black eyed peas, and even peanut butter can easily be integrated into your daily diet to get sufficient protein and magnesium. Yogurt also contains calcium, zinc, and probiotics (12).
Most cereals, especially organic options, hold a good source of magnesium content (6). This not only makes the classic breakfast a preferred source of magnesium, but an option for quick energy boost.
Whole wheat bread, black beans bran cereal, cooked wheat germ, and cooked quinoa also contain magnesium.
Fish comes naturally packed with omega-3, vitamin D, and magnesium (7). Tuna and salmon are popular fish that can help to strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Consuming fish in meals at least twice a week is recommended by the Heart Foundation of Australia (1). This can boost your magnesium intake significantly and help maintain a healthy heart.
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Here are other areas that magnesium can help you with, plus other supplements that can benefit in different ways:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.