Do you LOVE dark chocolate? Like, do you think about it all day? Is it a food that you always have in your house and you reach for it constantly? What I if I told you that your love of dark chocolate may in fact be a sign of a nutrient deficiency? Your body may be reaching for chocolate because it’s high in a very important mineral…magnesium. Magnesium is an unsung hero in our health. We tend to concentrate on getting enough calcium in our diet and supplements, but we forget about this very important mineral. Actually, calcium and magnesium are “brothers”. They’re 2 minerals that like to hang out together and are absorbed best together. If you’re low in this mineral you may not be absorbing your calcium supplement as well.
In the US, magnesium deficiency is incredibly high. Research shows that 48% of Americans aren’t getting enough in their diet and some health experts feel it’s closer to 80%. So, there’s a good chance you’re already deficient, and here are some signs your body is asking for an extra hit of magnesium;
- Dark chocolate cravings – With 95 mg of magnesium in each square of dark chocolate, your body is literally saying “I could use some more of that”. I rarely say no to such a request. Milk chocolate lovers—sadly, it contains much less.
- Tense muscles – In the body, calcium’s big job is to contract muscles and magnesium relaxes muscles. This is why they’re so prevalent in our bones—our heart is a muscle and it’s important to have lots of these minerals on hand. Low levels become a “relaxation problem”. Our muscles contract better than they relax, causing tight, tense muscles.
- Low energy/high stress – Magnesium helps to give our body energy, and we use extra when we’re under lots of stress.
- Trouble sleeping – Magnesium does a wonderful job at relaxing our muscles so we can sleep deeper. It can also help to relax restless legs.
Do these symptoms sound familiar to you? If so, you’re a good candidate for a supplement to get your levels up. I’m sorry to say, dark chocolate alone won’t do it (I’ve tried). Not all supplements are alike, absorbency (otherwise known as bioavailability) can differ greatly between different forms of magnesium. And your digestion plays a HUGE role in the absorption of all minerals. If you have any digestive issues, like IBS or GERD, then your ability to absorb may be impaired. Even stress can reduce our ability to absorb. Because of these issues, my favorite mag. supplement is Salus Magnesium (US/CA). This is a food-based liquid solution that allows 98% of the magnesium to be available for absorption. That’s the best you can get! 1 – 2 capfuls is all you may need to get your level up.
Enjoy some extra magnesium and feel the ahhhhhhh of your muscles relaxing. And don’t worry, you’ll still like chocolate. You just won’t be dreaming of it as much!
About the author: Lisa Kilgour
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), Founder of LisaKilgour.com, and A faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.