Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Reuters Health said that a research on studies spanning 45 years revealed that there is a decrease in stroke incidence among people on a magnesium-rich diet.
Quoting the article: "For every extra 100 milligrams of magnesium a person ate per day, their risk of an ischemic stroke -- the most common kind, typically caused by a blood clot -- fell by nine percent.... The U.S. recommends men and women over age 31 eat 420 and 320 mg/d of magnesium, respectively."
The researchers, however, admitted that they could not ascertain whether there are other factors that influenced the result of the studies that they evaluated. But doctors and dieticians agree that a diet low on sodium and high on potassium and magnesium is highly recommended.
"It's again the diet per se, not any one individual component of the diet," the article quoted Dr. Larry Goldstein of the stroke center of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
So, what are foods rich in magnesium? Surprisingly, a typical Filipino diet contains a significant amount of magnesium, which makes supplements unnecessary. Here are a few that can easily be sourced:
Soya in the form of tofu or soy milk contains a significant amount of magnesium. A cup (252 gms) of firm tofu contains 146 mg of magnesium, while a cup (248 gms) of regular tofu has 74 mg. Soy milk also has magnesium, estimated at 61.3 mg for every 245 gm cup. Usually tofu is cooked with a variety of vegetables or when fried, it would have approximately 12 mg of magnesium for every piece of 13 gms. Tofu and soy milk are found in supermarkets and grocery stores.
Cucumbers are a great source of magnesium, aside from the fact that they are also my favorite fruit or vegetable, however you wish to classify them. A typical 8 1/4 inch (301 gms) cucumber, raw and unpeeled, contains 39.1 mg of magnesium, and if you peel it (280 gms), the magnesium content would decrease to only 33.6 mg. Now, if you eat it with tomato (red, raw, unpeeled, and medium sized with a 2 3/5 inch diameter) that would be an additional 13.5 mg of magnesium. A medium-sized green tomato (123 gms), on the other hand, contains 12.3 mg of magnesium. So, if you are thinking of tossing some salads on the side, these two would be great. Just add some lemon juice and a dash of salt and your good to go. Cucumbers and tomatoes can be found in every vegetable stand.
Nuts and seeds are not just great for snacking but they are also an excellent source of this heart-healthy mineral, magnesium. A cup (137 gms) of dry roasted mixed nuts (with peanuts) contains 308 mg of magnesium, while a cup (142 gms) of oil roasted mixed nuts (also with peanuts) contain 334 mg. Coconut, which is a very common ingredient in Filipino cooking is also a significant source of magnesium. A cup (226 gms) of canned coconut milk contains 104 mg of magnesium, while that of raw coconut milk (240 gms) has 88.8 mg. Refreshing coconut water, on the other hand, contains 60 mg of magnesium for every 240 gm cup. The amount of magnesium may vary per product so check the nutrition labels.
Rice. A typical Filipino diet requires a cup of medium-grain white rice. This contains approximately 24.2 mg of magnesium for a cup of 186 gms. Brown rice on the other hand contains 84.8 mg of magnesium for a cup of 195 gms, so if you are serious with your magnesium intake try using brown rice. Long grain rice also contains less amount of magnesium, at 19 mg for every cup (158 gms). The best source of organic rice that I know is that from the Farmer's Development Center, who get's their supply from the farmer groups in Central Visayas that they helped build and strengthen. FARDEC rice can be bought from the Philippine Fair Trade Shop along Jones Avenue in Cebu City.
Coffee, and by that I don't mean the instant kind. Try brewing your own cup of coffee by simply boiling fresh coffee grounds. You would not only be getting a good cup of coffee but you would also be getting at least 7.1 mg of magnesium for every cup (8 fluid oz). Decaffeinated coffee would give us more magnesium since caffeine has a draining effect on magnesium. A cup of decaffeinated brewed coffee would contain 11 .9 mg of magnesium. The best coffee that I've had here in the Philippines is that sold at the Philippine Fair Trade Shop. They have Arengga brand coffee, sourced sustainably from the mountains of the Philippines and guided by strict fair trade principles. The rare Coffee Alamid (made from coffee beans found in the feces of Philippine civet cats) can also be bought here.
Magnesium is an essential mineral and it can easily be sourced from a variety of food, most importantly from green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits, and grains.
Do you get enough magnesium? How do you make sure you get your vegetables?
(Source: Reuters Health/Manila Bulletin, Nutritiondata.self.com, Diet and Fitness Today, USDA
| Photo credit: Main image source, Soy milk - soymilknutritionfacts.com, cucumber - Sandeepa on Life,
nuts - healthmango.com, rice - thenibble.com, coffee - chronoscoffee.com)