The 4th most abundant mineral in your body, magnesium is often overlooked and underestimated. The truth is that this mineral plays an incredibly important role in your overall health, impacting everything from metabolic health to the formation of bones and teeth.
Despite its high level of importance, an increasing number of Americans are being diagnosed as being deficient in magnesium, resulting in many health problems and complications.
“Some observational surveys have associated higher blood levels of magnesium with lower risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, some dietary surveys have suggested that a higher magnesium intake may reduce the risk of having a stroke. There is also evidence that low body stores of magnesium increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which may increase the risk of complications after a heart attack. These studies suggest that consuming recommended amounts of magnesium may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system.”
Why is Magnesium So Important for Your Heart Health?
A 2013 Harvard report indicates that magnesium may reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%! Studying the data from 313,041 people, the researchers were able to investigate the link between magnesium levels in the body and the potential risk of suffering from heart disease.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian told the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that this study provided the “most robust evidence to date of the associations between circulating and dietary magnesium across their usual physiologic ranges and [cardiovascular disease] risk.”
Another study, published in the journal ‘Circulation,’ suggests that magnesium not only helps to keep our heart’s healthy, but can even work to help heal an already ailing heart. The lead author of the study, C. Noel Bairey Merz, explained that the study revealed that by providing magnesium supplements to heart disease patients they were able to enable the patients to exercise for longer periods of time while protecting the heart from the stresses associated with exercise. They also found that magnesium worked to encourage the blood vessels to open up more efficiently, providing the body with more blood when required.
While magnesium supplements are available over-the counter in the United States, Merz cautions Americans that they may not be able to get the same benefits as those experienced by patients in other areas of the world, saying: “The product we used is from Germany, where supplements of this kind are regulated and quality is monitored. Because this is not the case in the U.S., it is impossible to know what you are getting in a supplement, or even whether it contains any magnesium at all.” It is recommended that patients looking to use magnesium supplements as part of their plan to manage and treat heart disease do so after discussions with a medical professional.
Magnesium and Our Diets
While there are a number of supplements available, magnesium levels can be effectively increased through optimizing our diets. In an interview with Medicinenet.com Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a New York City cardiologist advised,
“As clinicians, we need to stress the importance of a well-balanced meal, not only for all the cholesterol lowering and sugar-modulating benefits but for ensuring an adequate amount of magnesium in the blood. Checking magnesium levels as part of a screening for heart health may become an essential part of prevention and for treatment of blood pressure.”
Dark green leafy vegetables are packed with magnesium. Whether you choose to make a salad or juice your greens, increase the consumption of the following foods in order to boost your magnesium levels:
- Swiss Chard
- Turnip Greens
- Beet Greens
- Collard Greens
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Romaine Lettuce