Magnesium: The Natural Anti-Depressant and Stress Reliever

Magnesium

If there is one supplement that we should all consider adding to our health regime it would be magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is found in each and every cell (the most important and basic structural, functional, and biological unit of all known living organisms) of the body.

Magnesium takes part in over 300 internal reactions that help us to function at our best. This is one heck of a mineral! It supports the nervous system and brain functioning by regulating hormones known as neurotransmitters (messengers – our happy hormones). But as you will soon read, there are many other important roles that magnesium plays in the body.

Australian Health Surveys have found that many Aussies consume below the recommended daily intake of magnesium in their diet. This can be attributed to more than just poor dietary intake. The foods that we consume which, in their most pure form should be high in magnesium, are often stripped of their mineral content in processing. For example, grains should contain an abundance of magnesium, however, in the milling process of white rice, pastas and breads this magnesium is removed, along with fibre and other minerals. Therefore, without the inclusion of wholegrain foods in the diet we are depriving ourselves of important nutrients.

Other dietary and lifestyle factors can reduce our absorption and deplete our body’s magnesium levels. High levels of calcium, sodium or salt, caffeine (black tea, coffee, energy drinks and pre-workout/caffeine supplements), alcohol and loss of minerals through sweating can all impact how much magnesium our body obtains. Stress that lasts for long periods of time or frequent stressors, can also play a role in the depletion of magnesium.

Did you know?

Stress accelerates the release of our fight-or-flight hormones cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenaline. This process alone can lead to rapid magnesium depletion, with the result being increased transportation of intracellular magnesium out of the cell to be removed from the body.

Another neurotransmitter glutamate is known to be excitatory. Magnesium plays a role in reducing the release of glutamate, therefore reducing hyperexcitability of neurons (the basic working unit of the brain that transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells) allowing us to relax and remain calm. Magnesium also enhances the conversion of glutamate to GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which works to calm a hypersensitive nervous system, such as that which presents in anxiety.

When we experience magnesium deficiency, the above mentioned processes can not take place and there becomes no reprieve for the excitation leaving us exhausted.

Depression and magnesium

It is thought that magnesium may help improve depression severity by the reduction of excitatory and fight or flight hormones cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone. This incredible mineral has even demonstrated the ability to act on the blood brain barrier and reduce the aforementioned stress hormones from accessing the brain.

Other benefits of magnesium

Magnesium has shown promise in:

  • regulating blood glucose 
  • protein synthesis
  • enhanced muscle and nerve function and recovery
  • increasing energy production
  • maintaining electrolyte balance
  • reducing oxidative damage
  • prevention of osteoporosis
  • regulating blood pressure
  • and more…

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Body fatigue
  • PMS/Menopausal symptoms
  • Poor sleep
  • Anxiety/ Inability to cope with stress/ Depression
  • Brain fog/confusion
  • Irritability
  • Cramping/Muscle twitches
  • Restlessness
  • Osteoporosis

Speak with your Nutritionist or Health Practitioner to see if magnesium may benefit you. Contact Danielle at Beta Me Nutrition

Tuna – Salmons Greatest Rival

Tuna

 

Salmon seems to receive all of the accolades when it comes to health benefits.

But the humble tuna puts up a pretty good fight for nutritional profile.

Let’s see why it measures up!

Heart Healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL). This reduces the negative impact cholesterol has on the arteries and allows the heart to do its job, pumping blood around the body.

Reduces Pain and Inflammation

The healthy fats found in Tuna have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation, particularly muscular, joint and arthritic pain but can also include headaches and migraines.

Helps to Lower Blood Pressure

Tuna contains beneficial levels of potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte which supports healthy blood pressure. Teamed up with anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids and blood can flow freely and without resistance around the body.

Supports a Healthy Immune System

Zinc and Vitamin C are important antioxidant nutrients in a healthy immune system.

Weight Management

The reduction and management of inflammation, along with the clean protein found in tuna sets the body up for a healthy metabolism. Tuna is low in saturated fats and is therefore a healthy option over red meats, which are rich in saturated fat.

Bone Health

Rich in B vitamins, Tuna is a great supporter of bone health, making the bones stronger, more durable and less likely to break or fracture.

Sexy Skin

The mix of protein, omega-3, B vitamins, zinc and Vitamin C is the perfect recipe for glowing, radiant skin. Free of acne, dry patches and wrinkles.

Enhanced Energy Production

Protein and B Vitamins provide sustained energy to support you throughout the day, stress and all.

Sweet Gold – Sweet Potato

Sweet potato fries

Sweet Gold – Sweet Potato

Household favourite, sweet potato is more than just a delicious addition to any meal or sweet treat. The golden root vegetable holds an abundance of phytonutrients. From its skin, deep into its sweet flesh.

It holds the phytochemical antioxidant anthocyanin within its skin, responsible for its ability to reduce oxidative damage and increase the absorption of the all-important vitamin A.  Prevention of oxidative damage has been shown to reduce carcinogenic activities, inflammation and fight fatigue.

There has also been research demonstrating great promise in its ability to address alcoholic fatty liver and cholesterol induced atherosclerosis, what a powerhouse!

Sweet potato around the world

In Asian countries such as Japan, sweet potatoes are praised for their benefits in the treatment of diabetes and some cancers. Sweet potatoes have also been used in some countries to encourage weight loss and in support of hormonal replacement therapies, awarding to the vegetables phytoestrogen content.

What have we learnt?

Sweet potato is utilised around the world as a dietary support for:

What else is sweet potato good for?

  • The bright golden/orange colour of the humble sweet potato gives us clues as to its high antioxidant content, specifically beta-carotene. Antioxidants are essential for the healthy function of almost every system in our body, including the repair of new skin cells for a beautiful, glowing complexion.
  • The skins and flesh of sweet potatoes are also fantastic sources of fibre and complex carbohydrates which help to sustain energy, keep us feeling fuller for longer and regulate bowel motions.
  • Apart from vitamin A, sweet potatoes are rich in other vitamins and minerals that sustain our energy levels ensure a healthy nervous system.

A versatile gift from nature

Sweet potatoes can be prepared and enjoyed in many ways. Its versatility lends itself to both sweet and savoury meals.

Some examples include:

Sweet potato savoury muffins

Vegetable Lasagne (layer baked sweet potato in place of pasta)

Sweet potato brownies

Sweet potato fish cakes

Vegetable burger patties

Baked sweet potato chips or wedges

Warming sweet potato soups

Stuffed sweet potato

Sweet potato bubble and squeak mini hash browns