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5 Surprising Ways Magnesium Benefits Your Body

By Maria Cook

Magnesium, a naturally-occurring mineral common in foods such as nuts, fish, seeds, dark chocolate, and leafy green vegetables is essential for human health. Yet, because magnesium isn't talked about as often as other essential minerals, such as calcium and sodium, many people may not realize its importance, or understand the health benefits this mineral can have. 

In fact, up to 90% of people may be suffering from symptoms of magnesium deficiencies without even realizing it. Luckily, getting enough magnesium is simple, and completely worth the effort! Here are five ways that magnesium benefits your body. 

1. Magnesium is important for heart health.

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It's no secret, heart disease is a killer. In fact, it continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Forming heart-healthy habits is important for those seeking to avoid heart disease. In addition to an active lifestyle, a diet of low-cholesterol, high-fiber foods is recommended to prevent heart disease, along with minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 

According to one study, adding 100 milligrams of magnesium per day to one's diet was associated with an eight percent reduced risk of stroke. Given how common magnesium is, increasing your magnesium intake is a simple way to help reduce your risk of heart disease. 

2. Getting enough magnesium may lead to better sleep.

Melatonin, the sleep regulating hormone known for its ability to make us drowsy, is tied to our body's magnesium content. When we don't have enough magnesium, the hormone doesn't function properly. This is part of the reason that insomnia is a common sign of magnesium deficiency

Heightened stress and anxiety, which are enough on their own to keep one up at night, are also signs of a deficiency. When your body has enough magnesium, it is better able to regulate its stress and sleep hormones, making it far easier to get a good night's sleep. 

3. Consuming magnesium may improve your flexibility.

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Magnesium is known to loosen tight muscles, allowing them to properly relax. This is why muscle tightness, spasms, and cramps are a common side effect of magnesium deficiency. Lactic acid, which occurs naturally in muscles, builds up without a proper amount of magnesium, resulting in pain and reduced flexibility. 

Healthy levels of magnesium keep muscles relaxed and in prime shape for stretching. It can also help with a common and painful side effect of menstruation, uterine cramps. Magnesium is present in some supplements and medications used to relieve such pain.