More and more people are affected by dementia. That is why it is good to know that we can reduce the risk of dementia with nutrition. Magnesium in food in particular ensures this, but potassium and calcium are also important. Recent research in which 6000 participants were monitored shows that the amount of magnesium you consume every day plays a major role for our brain. I’m going to explain it below.
Study in Japan on magnesium and dementia (2012)
UK study on magnesium and dementia (2023)
Below you will also find an overview of foods that contain a lot of magnesium.
What Does Magnesium Do?
Magnesium is important for many parts of our body. Like our brains. For example, magnesium helps us to process information properly and with a good memory. In addition, it plays a role in nerve transmission, your muscles, bones and teeth and the release of energy in body cells.
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 processes in our body.
How do you notice a magnesium deficiency?
If you eat a healthy and varied diet, the chance of a magnesium deficiency is very small. However, if you have a poor diet, suffer from type 2 diabetes or have many intestinal problems, you may have some symptoms of a magnesium deficiency. Incidentally, the symptoms below can also be related to other factors.
Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency:
- muscle cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- fatigue and weakness
- cardiac arrhythmias
A magnesium deficiency is difficult to detect in blood. This is because only 1% of magnesium in your body can be found in the blood. Half is in bones and teeth. And furthermore, magnesium comes back in tissue, muscles and organs.
An excessively high magnesium level in the blood does indicate kidney problems, hormonal problems, dehydration and a high magnesium intake.
An excess of magnesium can lead to fatigue, intestinal complaints and diarrhea. This happens, for example, if you eat healthy and also take high-dose magnesium supplements. Getting more magnesium from food will not easily cause problems.
Magnesium and reducing the risk of dementia
It is recommended to get about 350 mg of magnesium daily. However, if you increase this to 550 mg per day, the risk of dementia decreases by 37%, according to the 1000 people who were followed during this study. Incidentally, the effect is greatest in women. This is mainly due to the influence of estrogen (hormones).
There are a number of explanations why magnesium is good for our brains as we age. For example, magnesium is said to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the body.
Our blood vitamin D levels also decrease as we age. This also ensures that magnesium is absorbed less well. We then need more for better health.
People who received more magnesium through food had a younger brain than people who did not, an MRI study showed.
Which foods contain a lot of magnesium?
- Cashew nuts (292 mg per 100 grams) Please note, these nuts also contain a lot of calories.
- Almonds (268 mg per 100 grams)
- Quinoa (197 mg per 100 grams)
- Brown rice (160 mg per 100 grams)
- Walnuts (158 mg per 100 grams)
- Buckwheat and spelled flour (150 mg per 100 grams)
- Dark chocolate > 70% (100 mg per 100 grams)
- Whole wheat bread (82 mg per 100 grams – 1 slice is about 35 grams)
- Spinach (79 mg per 100 grams) (a portion of cooked spinach quickly provides about 157 mg!)
- Black beans (70 mg per 100 grams)
- Avocado (average 58 mg)
- Bananas (average 37 mg)
- Kale (34 mg per 100 grams)
- Dried apricots (32 mg per 100 grams)
- Salmon (30 mg per 100 grams)
- Oatmeal (26 mg per 100 grams)
- Broccoli (21 mg per 100 grams)
- Figs (17 mg per 100 grams)
In pips and seeds you will also find a lot of magnesium, but of course you often eat less of it. It is a good idea to regularly add seeds and kernels to certain meals. Think of a salad or yogurt.
This way you also get a lot of good nutrients unnoticed. Not just magnesium!
Not all at once, but all day long!
If you take in a lot of magnesium at once, you will not absorb it all properly. It is better to get magnesium at several times during the day. This works fine by eating healthy and varied. Be cautious about taking extra magnesium supplements if you have a healthy diet.
Together with Vanessa I am the owner of this website Good food Healthy living. I myself struggled with my health and weight for a while and I was looking for more information. Actually, this website started as a great search for what could be right for me. How could I feel healthier and fitter? I’ve been reading a lot about this. Vanessa already knew a lot about nutrition and often told me about it. We thought it was fun to share, that’s why we started this blog. This website is our passion. All information is supplementary, not a replacement for regular medicine!