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A magnesium deficiency is something you really want to avoid.
Being low on magnesium can put you at risk for conditions ranging from low thyroid, asthma and migraines to diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.
But a magnesium deficiency is notoriously hard to detect… until you’ve got one.
That’s because most of our magnesium is stored in our bones, undetectable by routine blood tests.
If you are generally healthy, you could have a magnesium deficiency and not even know it until things get serious.
In fact, about half of adults in the U.S. are living with a magnesium deficiency
Now, we can add yet another reason to make sure you have the magnesium your body — and your brain — need.
More magnesium makes brains younger
Scientists at the College of Health and Medicine at the Australian National University are telling us that getting more magnesium in our diet will keep our brains younger and help us avoid dementia as we age.
Their study of more than 6,000 cognitively healthy adults aged 40 to 73 showed that those who consumed more than 550mg of magnesium daily had a brain age about a year younger than those who had only 350mg of magnesium a day (considered the normal intake).
In the younger subjects, this difference was evident by the time they reached age 55.
“Our study shows a 41 percent increase in magnesium intake could lead to less age-related brain shrinkage, which is associated with better cognitive function and lower risk … of dementia in later life,” says lead author Dr. Khawlah Alateeq.
Magnesium counts at every age, especially for women
Female subjects in this study seemed to benefit even more than males from the neuroprotective effects of additional magnesium in their diets.
Considering that women make up about two-thirds of dementia cases, that’s not surprising.
But it’s clear we should all be paying attention to how much magnesium is in our diets.
The researchers say that a higher intake of magnesium in our diets from a younger age may safeguard against neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline by the time we reach our 40s.
It really is like an “insurance policy” against dementia.
LOTS of ways to get more magnesium
There’s nothing wrong with taking a daily magnesium supplement if you’re not sure you’re getting enough.
But foods rich in this mineral are abundant. They include:
- Black beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brussels sprouts
- Brown rice
- Low-fat yogurt
- Dried figs
- Dark chocolate
Some nuts and bananas on your yogurt? Brown rice and spinach with your dinner? The possibilities are endless! (Just be sure to rinse your rice first to cut down on heavy metals.)
Need some ideas to get you started?
Or, up your snack game with some almonds, cashews, dried figs and dark chocolate!
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Dietary magnesium intake is related to larger brain volumes and lower white matter lesions with notable sex differences European Journal of Nutrition