Stress and low levels of magnesium can play a role in the onset of heart disease, so getting enough of this essential mineral may help both your heart and your stress levels.
Magnesium is the relaxation mineral, says Dr. Mark Hyman,
director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and a best-selling author. Muscle cramps, irritability, anxiety, or tension that causes unexplained symptoms are signs of magnesium deficiency.
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Hyman recalls using intravenous magnesium for emergency room patients suffering from irregular heartbeat and pregnant women experiencing high blood pressure or seizures. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions in all the body’s tissues.
Magnesium deficiency is more responsible for heart disease than harmful cholesterol and saturated fat, according to researchers who spent a decade analyzing studies going back more than 70 years.
Dr. Andrea Rosanoff of the Center for Magnesium Education & Research LLC in Pahoa, Hawaii, led the study and tells Today's Geriatric Medicine
, "Common risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome are all associated with low nutritional magnesium status or low magnesium dietary intakes."
Stress may contribute to risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the American Heart Association points out
. People often drink alcohol excessively or smoke cigarettes because of stress. They may also overeat or became physically inactive as a result of stress.
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Research suggests increased magnesium intake may lower the risk of heart disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center
. Eating plenty of fruits and green leafy vegetables, which are rich sources of magnesium, could help lower blood pressure.
Other food sources of magnesium include whole grains, legumes, tofu, wheat bran, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, black walnuts, soybean flour, oatmeal, shredded wheat, baked potatoes, and chocolate.
Basil, sage, coriander, fennel seed, cumin seed, dried mustard, and marjoram are among the herbs and spices that provide magnesium.
Magnesium supplements that are easily absorbed into the body include magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, and magnesium gluconate, but talk to your doctor about adding these to your diet before you start taking them.
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