By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef
Did you know that anxiety disorders affect at least 18 to 30 percent of American adults and that an estimated 43 percent of North Americans take mood-altering prescriptions on a regular basis?
Our uncontrolled stress levels in this country are leading to lots of costly trips to the doctor, more side effects from questionable ingredients and a lower quality of life overall. Getting outside and spending time in outdoor environments can work wonders for reducing anxiety, but nature has other ways of helping us chill out, too.
Why the Body Needs Magnesium
Of all the minerals that naturally exist in our world, magnesium has the greatest power to help us calm down and relax. Magnesium assists the body with everything from nerve function and blood sugar levels to blood pressure, making protein and regulating muscle. The National Institutes of Health suggest that adults should get between 300-400 mg of magnesium per day, depending on gender and life stage. Without enough magnesium in your body, you may become weak, get muscle cramps, feel nauseous and even experience personality changes over time.
How Magnesium Promotes Calm
Magnesium has been studied quite a bit lately because of its promising role in fighting depression and improving mental health. Sometimes referred to as “nature’s Valium,” eating more magnesium-rich foods is a great way to make your body more resilient to anxiety when stressful situations come up. This is because magnesium stimulates the brain’s GABA receptors, which help the body calm down and relax. Researchers have also found that magnesium reduces stress hormones in the body, decreases bodily inflammation that leads to stress and helps stabilize blood sugar for proper brain functioning. Magnesium is no miracle drug, but it’s definitely one of the best tools to de-stress in a healthy way without putting chemicals or other unwanted ingredients in your body.
How to Get Magnesium from Food
Fortunately, there are lots of delicious foods that naturally contain magnesium and that are easy to find at your local grocery store or Farmers’ Market. Some of the best foods that contain magnesium are green leafy vegetables like spinach, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. To get your “chill out” on, try eating more almonds, black beans, peanut butter and avocados for a boost in your daily magnesium intake.
As you know, superfoods are ultra-dense in nutrients and can really pack a punch with the health benefits they offer. For example, Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs and Cacao Powder are ultra-condensed forms of magnesium that positively impact brain health and mood. In fact, just 2.5 tablespoons of cacao powder offers 25 percent of your RDA of magnesium, making it one of the richest sources of the mineral on the planet. Add that to a smoothie with other magnesium-rich foods like almond butter, spinach and chia seeds, and you’ll benefit from a wonderful whole-food form of calm-enhancing magnesium, antioxidants and other nutrients in an easy and convenient way.
So, now that you know all about the super benefits of this powerhouse superfood, are you ready to start using it? Read "Our 8 Favorite Ways to Use Cacao" for some helpful tips to get you going.