Research into the role of magnesium in controlling high blood pressure and in preventing many other health conditions, reminds us just how important this mineral is in our diet and in our bodies.

Magnesium is necessary for nearly all biochemical processes in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps the bones strong, controls the heartbeat, and helps regulate blood pressure. It also controls blood sugar levels and helps sustain the body’s immune system.

The way it helps lower blood pressure is that it relaxes the blood vessels by preventing calcium build-up in cells. In fact, magnesium sulfate is used intravenously to reduce the blood pressure of pregnant women, who are experiencing elevated pressure during labor.

About half of the body’s magnesium is found in bone, the other inside cells of body tissues and organs. Researchers from the Department of Clinical Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found that diuretic-treated hypertensive women with low concentrations of serum magnesium (levels of magnesium in the blood; sMg), had higher blood pressure levels than those with normal concentrations of sMg. Those with intracellular magnesium (iMg) depletion might be prone to hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Recent studies have also found a lack of magnesium in the diet of modern Western countries compared to earlier generations due to food refining and modern fertilizers that contain no magnesium. A deficiency of magnesium due to poor dietary habits or using diuretics can cause many symptoms including weakness in the leg, an irregular heartbeat, poorly controlled hypertension and diabetes.

Don’t despair, there are many foods to choose from to boost your magnesium intake ― it is found in wheat germ, soybeans, oats, wheat bran, green leafy vegetables like spinach, whole grains, fish, corn, spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, and tea.

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