Mighty Magnesium

Sara Dow is a ACE Certified Weight Management and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She is also a ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Small Group Trainer at the Y. Twice a month, her blog posts will feature nutrition education, a healthy recipe she has tried and loves, and tips to help you achieve your health goals, as well as answers centered around a nutrition question from a Y member.

Every cell in the body depends on magnesium to function. Yet, research suggests that up to 75% of US adults fall short of the recommended intake.   

Adequate magnesium is crucial to health due to its role in muscle and nerve function, energy production, bone health, heart health, and regulation of blood glucose levels. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, fatigue and weakness, altered heart rhythm, migraines, constipation, and bloating. 

Magnesium is abundant in plant-based foods, particularly green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Other sources include salmon, milk, and dark chocolate (at least 72% cacao). 

To learn more about magnesium deficiency and foods and medications that inhibit absorption, check out this article by a registered dietitian.

A Healthy Recipe…

Strawberry Spinach Salad by Sara Dow

Spinach, pumpkin seeds, and almonds are good sources of magnesium!


2 cups spinach leaves or mixed salad greens

1/2 cup sliced strawberries (or fresh blueberries) 

1 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1 Tbsp toasted almonds or walnuts 

1 Tbsp raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

This salad pairs nicely with balsamic vinegar or Panera’s poppy seed dressing sold at Metro Market.

How to Toast Nuts:

Toasted nuts add a crunch to your salad and enhance flavor due to aromatic oils released during the heating process.  To toast in the oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the nuts in a single layer. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, place your baking sheet in the center, and toast for 8-12 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes.  To toast in the microwave, spread 1/2 to 1 cup of nuts in a single layer on a microwave plate and toast in 1-minute increments (remember to stir!) for 3-8 minutes.  Nuts are done when lightly browned and fragrant.  Wait to chop your nuts after toasting since small pieces burn easily.

Nutrition Information:

Green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium which plays a role in over 300 enzyme processes in the body!  Strawberries are an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C known to boost the immune system.  Goat cheese provides calcium and vitamin D, critical nutrients for bone health. Almonds boast one of the highest magnesium levels, while walnuts provide high heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.  Pumpkin seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch with magnesium, zinc, iron, and protein.

Check out this Resource… 

Have you ever wondered how much calcium, iron, magnesium, or vitamin C your body needs to support optimum health?  This free Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) calculator from the USDA provides your personalized recommended intake for each vitamin and mineral as well as protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  It takes only a few seconds to enter your info and get your results!  Once you have this information, you can evaluate your diet for deficiencies and prioritize foods high in the nutrients you need.

About Sara Dow

Hi, I’m Sara and I am passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through the knowledge and practice of good nutrition.  

In 2018, I was inspired by the YMCA community to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a registered dietitian. I am now in my senior year, double majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics at Kansas State University.  I am excited to share with you what I am learning. 


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