Losing weight isn’t just about exercising regularly and cutting out junk food. If you really want to lose weight quickly (and healthily), maintaining a balanced, nutrient-dense diet is essential. Along with getting enough protein, carbs, and fiber, you also need to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function properly. And it turns out there’s a vital mineral that a lot of people underestimate: magnesium.
To learn more about the importance of magnesium in weight loss and how you can make sure you’re getting enough of it, we spoke to registered dietitian Catherine Gervacio, nutrition writer for Living.Fit, and the dietitian and nutritionist Krutika Nanavati of Clinicspots. Read on for all their expert reviews!
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While magnesium can sometimes trump minerals like iron, zinc, and potassium in the wellness conversation, experts agree that getting plenty of it is essential, especially when it’s it’s about losing weight. “Magnesium is very important for weight loss because it is involved in many bodily functions, including regulation of blood sugar, energy production and nerve function, among other things,” says Gervacio, adding that “one of the main goals of weight loss is to maintain or improve metabolism and magnesium is a necessary mineral for that.” Nanavati agrees, noting that “magnesium deficiency can make it difficult to lose weight for several reasons.”
One of the main things to keep in mind about magnesium is that it plays a major role in energy production and metabolism, which means that if you don’t get enough of it, you you might get tired and you might not even be able to burn enough calories to lose weight.
Another important role that magnesium plays in our body is blood sugar regulation, which means that, as Nanavati explains, “a deficiency can cause cravings for sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods.” And we all know that when you give in to those cravings, you’re much less likely to stay on track with your weight loss goals. In fact, to make matters worse, she points out that “a deficiency can lead to increased fat storage” since one of magnesium’s functions is to help the body store less fat. Overall, making sure you get enough of this mineral diet is a major key to weight loss.
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How to Prevent Magnesium Deficiency
Okay, now we know how important magnesium is for weight loss, but how can you make sure you’re getting enough of it in your diet? Nanavati suggests eating magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. If you’re worried about not eating enough of these foods, you can also add a magnesium supplement to the mix.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that calcium helps your body absorb and use magnesium, which means increasing your calcium intake is another great way to maintain your magnesium levels. “You can take a vitamin D supplement and get enough vitamin K in your diet,” Nanavati recommends. “Some sources of vitamin K include beef and chicken liver, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, soybeans, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.” I understood!
Other minerals that help your body absorb and use magnesium include phosphorus, copper, and zinc. “Some sources of phosphorus are fish, beef, chicken, pork, beans, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Copper can be found in liver, oysters, lobster, crab, whole grains, mushrooms, leafy greens, and avocados. Zinc can be found in beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains,” enumerates Nanavati.
Finally, Gervacio tells us that if you want to optimize your magnesium levels, “it’s best to reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption because they compete with magnesium absorption.” Instead, she recommends sipping on freshly squeezed juices and vegetable smoothies.
Ultimately, true magnesium deficiencies are quite rare and probably nothing to worry about. However, if weight loss is what you’re looking for, it certainly doesn’t hurt to increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods. Who knows, this might just be the push your body needs to reach your goal weight!
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