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What to Eat and Why It’s Healthy

What to Eat and Why It’s Healthy


Eating magnesium-rich foods is an easy want to boost your overall health. Magnesium is a mineral that supports nerve and muscle function, the immune system, strong bones, blood pressure regulation, and more.

Though magnesium is readily found in foods like vegetables, grains, beans, and seafood, data suggest that most adults in the United States don’t meet the daily requirement of this nutrient.

This article discusses food and beverages high in magnesium, tips on incorporating more magnesium into your diet, and when to consider supplements.

Helen Camacaro / Getty Images


Magnesium-Rich Food Sources

It’s recommended that adults get between 310 and 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily. Fortunately, magnesium is found in a variety of different foods.

Here are some of the top sources with the amount of magnesium you can get in an estimated serving size:

  • Seeds: Pumpkin (1 oz for 156 mg) or chia seeds (1oz 111 mg)
  • Nuts: Almonds (1 oz for 80 mg) and cashews (1oz for 74 mg)
  • Greens: Spinach (.5 cup boiled for 78 mg)
  • Beans: Black beans (.5 cup cooked for 60 mg)
  • Soy products: Soy milk (1 cup boiled for 61 mg) or edamame (.5 cup shelled for 50 mg)
  • Protein: Peanut butter, smooth (2 Tbsp for 49 mg)
  • Grains: Brown rice (.5 cup cooked for 42 mg)
  • Seafood: Salmon (3 oz cooked for 26 mg)
  • Dairy products: Yogurt (8 oz plain for 42 mg) and milk (1 cup for 24–27 mg)
  • Fruits: Avocados (.5 cup for 22 mg) and bananas (1 medium for 32 mg)

Reasons to Pay Attention to Magnesium Intake

The organs in your body need magnesium to function properly. But estimates suggest that roughly 60% of adults in the United States don’t consume enough of this vital nutrient.

Though it’s rare, if you have a chronic magnesium deficiency, it’s possible to experience symptoms such as:

What’s the Best Way to Get Magnesium: With Food or Supplements?

The best way to get magnesium depends on several factors, like age, diet, and health. Most healthy adults should be able to get enough magnesium from their diet alone, while others may require a magnesium supplement to help boost nutrient levels.

If you’re looking into supplementation, keep in mind that there are different forms of magnesium supplements, including:

Check with a healthcare provider before introducing any new supplements into your routine.

In the United States, supplements and vitamins are not regulated the same way that medications are. They don’t go through an approval process with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety or effectiveness before being put on the shelves.

How to Improve Magnesium Absorption

A little less than half of the magnesium you may consume in your diet is absorbed by the body.

Certain medical conditions and medications can reduce magnesium absorption, which means it’s harder for your body to maintain adequate levels of the mineral. The following individuals are also at higher risk for problems with magnesium absorption:

To help improve the way your body absorbs magnesium, experts may recommend:

  • Avoiding taking a zinc supplement at the same time, as this may interfere with magnesium absorption
  • Trying a magnesium supplement in powder form, as versions that dissolve in liquid tend to absorb better in the body
  • Getting enough (but not too much) vitamin D and calcium, as these nutrients work hand in hand with magnesium absorption

Beverages High in Magnesium

In addition to consuming magnesium from food sources, some drinks can offer similar benefits, including:

  • Soy milk
  • Tap, mineral, or bottled water (though this varies by brand and water source)
  • Orange juice

Magnesium-Forward Meal Ideas

To incorporate more magnesium into your diet, experts recommend the following options:

Risk of Too Much Magnesium

It’s also possible to consume too much magnesium. In milder cases, like taking too much of a magnesium supplement, you might experience side effects like stomach cramping or diarrhea.

But if magnesium is consumed in extremely large doses, there’s a risk of developing magnesium toxicity, meaning that the levels of the nutrient in your bloodstream are dangerously high. While rare, magnesium toxicity can lead to low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat and even be life-threatening.

Summary

Magnesium is a mineral that your body needs to function. It’s found in various foods, like vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and dairy. However, many adults in the United States don’t get enough of this nutrient in their daily diet.

Experts recommend making some simple adjustments to your diet to boost magnesium levels. Check with a healthcare provider before adding a magnesium supplement to ensure the quality and dosing are right for you.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Workinger JL, Doyle RP, Bortz J. Challenges in the diagnosis of magnesium statusNutrients. 2018;10(9):1202. doi:10.3390/nu10091202

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  8. Sleep Foundation. Using Magnesium for Better Sleep.

  9. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What you need to know about dietary supplements

  10. Gröber U. Magnesium and drugs. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Apr 28;20(9):2094. doi:10.3390/ijms20092094

  11. Dai Q, Shrubsole MJ, Ness RM, Schlundt D, Cai Q et al. The relation of magnesium and calcium intakes and a genetic polymorphism in the magnesium transporter to colorectal neoplasia risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;86(3):743-51. doi:10.1093/ajcn/86.3.743

  12. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Soy milk.

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By Cristina Mutchler

Mutchler is an award-winning journalist specializing in health and wellness content. She is based in Illinois.



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