Magnesium is a mineral that serves as a substance in over 600 enzyme systems that control various biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, nerve and muscle function, glycemic control, and blood pressure regulation.
Related: What You Should Eat While on Your Period
Low magnesium levels usually do not result in any symptoms. However, extremely low magnesium levels can increase the risk of various chronic diseases. It also blocks receptors that primarily promote pain through the central nervous system, decreasing your hypersensitivity to pain. This is important for women’s quality of life during their periods.
Painful periods for women can affect their general well-being, productivity, and quality of life. Research shows that 45-95% of women regularly suffer from menstrual cramps. When you get menstrual cramps, you feel pain due to the contraction of the uterine muscles. Getting enough magnesium daily can prevent menstrual cramps by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and reducing prostaglandins that cause menstrual pain.
Keep reading to learn more details:
How Does Magnesium Help Relieve Period Cramping?
During the menstrual cycle, prostaglandins that build up in the uterus cut off the oxygen supply to the uterus. Because muscles require oxygen to function, depriving the uterine muscles of oxygen causes painful muscle contractions.
Magnesium affects the contraction and relaxation of uterine smooth muscle and may inhibit the production of prostaglandins or the inflammatory compounds that cause menstrual pain. Increasing the amount of magnesium you consume in your diet can help relieve symptoms associated with premenstrual syndromes (PMS), such as headaches, low blood sugar, dizziness, fluid retention, and sugar cravings.
How Do You Increase Your Magnesium Levels?
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for adult women is 310 mg/day. Experts recommend adopting a “food first” approach and meeting your daily magnesium needs by eating various foods loaded with nutrients. It is safe to get high magnesium levels naturally from the foods you eat a few weeks ahead of your period.
- If you're a fan of veggies, you can buy magnesium-rich vegetables like spinach, edamame, potatoes, tamarind, and okra. Whole grains like bran, wheat germ, and quinoa are also high in magnesium, or you can eat seeds and nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews to boost your magnesium levels.
- Some other items to add to your shopping cart include soy, cooked beans (black, lima, white, pinto, and chickpeas are ideal), yogurt, tempeh, cheese, tofu, and peanut butter. Add more pumpkin seeds and avocados to your lunch salad while skipping the saltier ingredients. Reduce your total salt consumption because this allows the magnesium you consume to prevent bloating caused by water retention.
- To satisfy your sugar cravings, eat magnesium-rich dark chocolate. Just be sure to avoid chocolate bars with too much sugar, as unchecked insulin levels can disrupt your hormones and promote inflammation.
- Eating whole foods is always best. Magnesium usually found in certain foods can be lost if they are refined or processed, so eating whole foods is the best way to enjoy the optimum benefits.
Supplementation can be helpful if it is difficult to meet your magnesium needs through diet alone. Research shows that magnesium levels improve when a supplement is added to the diet. If you decide to take magnesium supplements, be sure to take them only on the recommendation of a doctor or nutritionist because supplementation can result in negative side effects or negatively interact with other medications you might be taking.
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