Ever wondered why does your muscle ache, or becomes numb? You might not be meeting the required RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for very vital mineral “magnesium.’’ It is an essential mineral for overall good health, helps maintain normal muscle, nerve function, steady heart rhythm, healthy immune system, and also keeps bones strong. It also helps in regulating blood sugar levels.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur. Severe magnesium deficiency can also result in low levels of calcium in the blood.

The RDA for magnesium is 350 milligrams per day and its rich sources are green vegetables like spinach, legumes, beans, peas, 1 cup almonds, seeds, cashews, legumes, peanuts, walnuts, oats, figs etc.

The best sources of this mineral is in cocoa powder, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, all bran and mixed nuts. You could also get your daily magnesium supply from brown rice, soy beans, shredded wheat and plain popcorn.

Selected food sources of magnesium are listed below:

FOODMilligrams (mg)%DV*
Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces9020
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce8020
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce7520
Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup7520
Spinach, frozen, cooked, ½ cup7520
Nuts, mixed, dry roasted, 1 ounce6515
Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 rectangular biscuits5515
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, prepared w/ water, 1 cup5515
Potato, baked w/ skin, 1 medium5015
Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce5015
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 Tablespoons5015
Wheat Bran, crude, 2 Tablespoons4510
Black-eyed Peas, cooked, ½ cup4510
Yogurt, plain, skim milk, 8 fluid ounces4510
Bran Flakes, ½ cup4010
Vegetarian Baked Beans, ½ cup4010
Rice, brown, long-grained, cooked, ½ cup4010
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup358
Avocado, California, ½ cup pureed358
Kidney Beans, canned, ½ cup358
Pinto Beans, cooked, ½ cup358
Wheat Germ, crude, 2 Tablespoons358
Chocolate milk, 1 cup338
Banana, raw, 1 medium308
Milk Chocolate candy bar, 1.5 ounce bar288
Milk, reduced fat (2%) or fat free, 1 cup278
Bread, whole wheat, commercially prepared, 1 slice256
Raisins, seedless, ½ cup packed256
Whole Milk, 1 cup246
Chocolate Pudding, 4 ounce ready-to-eat portion246

*DV = Daily Value. DVs are reference numbers developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers determine if a food contains a lot or a little of a specific nutrient. The DV for magnesium is 400 milligrams (mg).
Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bones. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels for magnesium constant. It is  a very essential mineral for carrying out various bodily process and maintaining an overall health but one must also not forget that excess of a it can show reverse ill effects. Likewise, an overdose of Magnesium has been correlated with diarrhea and abdominal cramping and in severe overdose it can also cause kidney failure. Remember moderation is the keyword to good health.