A magnesium deficiency can cause issues with muscle contraction, sleep, and energy production—sapping your performance.
Although magnesium is in many foods, research suggests that about half of Americans don’t consume enough of it in their diet. In other words, you may be unknowingly magnesium deficient, and that can be problematic since a magnesium deficiency can cause issues with muscle contraction, sleep, brain function, energy production, and may even increase your risk of death by heart disease.
But don’t panic just yet. With a few small diet tweaks, magnesium rich-foods can easily find their way into your meal plan.
Why Do Runners Need Magnesium?
Daily recommendations for magnesium are 320 milligrams for women and 420 milligrams for men. Since magnesium is mostly stored in the bones and tissue, it’s difficult to assess magnesium levels with a simple blood test. The best way to determine your magnesium status is to examine your dietary intake.
Magnesium is involved in energy metabolism and muscle contraction, which is important for runners, according to Chrissy Carroll, M.P.H., R.D.
“Because magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve function, when runners don’t get sufficient amounts, it could boost excitability of your nerve endings, causing your muscles to twitch, spasm, or cramp,” says Angie Asche, M.S., R.D.
There’s also some speculation that getting enough magnesium into your diet may reduce exercise-induced inflammation, Carroll adds. As a matter of fact, some research suggests that supplementing with magnesium may increase athletic performance. (However, the jury is still out on this finding.)
Lastly, all runners know that a good night’s rest is vital. And research on the elderly suggests that magnesium supplements may increase sleep quality. Once again, more research is needed, but it’s worth adding any of these ten foods to your diet to catch more zzz’s.
10 Foods With Magnesium
To boost your magnesium intake without the use of supplements, add these foods into your go-to meals. All of the numbers below are pulled from USDA nutrient database, and percentages are calculated based on a 420-milligram (mg) RDA (recommended dietary allowance).