Did you know that it’s not only calcium that has a vital role in bone health…magnesium is also a key player! More than half the body’s magnesium is found in the bones, where it helps in the development and maintenance of bone. Much of the rest of the mineral is found in the muscles and soft tissues, with only 1% in the extracellular fluid. Bone magnesium serves as a reservoir for magnesium to ensure normal magnesium blood concentrations.
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions such as synthesis of our genetic material (DNA/RNA) and proteins, in cell growth and reproduction, and in energy production and storage. Magnesium is important for the formation of the body’s main energy compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Our cells need ATP for all their processes.
The Primary Sources of Magnesium
Nuts, legumes, whole grains, dark green vegetables, and seafood.
Bioavailability of Magnesium
Magnesium absorption will decrease in diets with low intakes of protein. As with calcium, foods high in fiber that contain phytic acid will also decrease absorption of magnesium.
Risks Related to Inadequate or Excess Intake of Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency in healthy individuals who are consuming a balanced diet is quite rare because magnesium is abundant in both plant and animal foods and the kidneys are able to limit urinary excretion of magnesium when intake is low. Severe magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) can impede vitamin D and calcium homeostasis. Certain individuals are more susceptible to magnesium deficiency, especially those with gastrointestinal or renal disorders, those suffering from chronic alcoholism, and older people. Magnesium toxicity is rare. The upper limit of magnesium can only be exceeded with non-food sources such as supplements or magnesium salts.
Incorporate magnesium into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and finely diced
1 large carrot, grated
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
100g red lentils
2 tbsp tomato purée
300ml vegetable stock
100g fresh breadcrumbs
150g mixed nuts such as walnuts, peacans, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
3 large eggs
100g mature cheddar, grated
handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the tomato sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 sprig rosemary
Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas 4. Line the base and sides of a 1.5 litre loaf tin with parchment paper.
Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion and celery for about 5 mins until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a further 10 mins.
Stir in the red pepper and grated carrot and cook for about 3 mins then add the oregano and paprika and cook for just a minute.
Add the red lentils and tomato purée and cook for about 1 min, then add the vegetable stock and simmer over a very gentle heat until all the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is fairly dry. This should take about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Finally, stir in the breadcrumbs, nuts, eggs, cheese and parsley and a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Stir to mix well then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and press down the surface. Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins, then remove the foil and bake for a further 20 mins until firm when pressed gently.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil very gently then add the garlic slices and rosemary sprig and heat without colouring. Pour in the passata and add a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Simmer gently for just 15 mins.
Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for about 10 mins then turn out onto a serving board or plate. Remove the baking paper and cut into slices and serve with a little of the tomato sauce.
To make a vegan nut roast, use an extra tbsp of oil in place of butter and 3 tbsp egg replacer. Bake your nut roast for 1 hour. The loaf will still be soft in the middle after cooking. It can be cooked in advance and then chilled, sliced and reheated to make it easier to serve.
*Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food