Periods don’t have to be so painful, and increased period pain often points to a nutrient deficiency. Thankfully, these days we’re learning more about exercising and eating for our cycles, and selecting nutrients for the different phases. All of this does indeed contribute to a more balanced and healthier body in general, but there’s a certain mineral that can immensely relieve period cramps, if not eliminate them altogether, as well as help remedy hormonal disorders, sleep problems, and signs of early aging!
There are many nutrient deficiencies that can imbalance the cycle and contribute to increased period pains and cramps, not to mention other contingent health problems, but there is one mineral that is so important and beneficial, and which most people are actually deficient in: magnesium. Magnesium is extremely important for several body functions, provides many health benefits, and can help to substantially decrease period cramps and PMS migraines. An important hormonal nutrient and one that limits free radical damage, magnesium contributes to hormone balancing, which in turn will relieve period pains and cramps, benefit the skin, promote quality sleep, and prevent signs of early aging. Magnesium can be taken in supplement form in tablet or capsule, or via diet nutrition.
Magnesium is actually one of the most essential nutrients for hormonal balance. It also helps alleviate period pain, PMS migraines, and regulates estrogen and progesterone levels. Magnesium has been shown to balance blood sugar, metabolism, the stress response of adrenaline and cortisol, as well as thyroid function. It’s also beneficial for hormonal imbalances that result in hair loss, weight gain, low energy, insomnia, low progesterone and menstrual period irregularity. Making magnesium intake a priority can help reverse these health issues.
Magnesium contributes to hormone balancing, which in turn will relieve period pains and cramps.
With busy schedules and lots of screen time, most of us could do with better sleep! Magnesium helps calm the nervous system, which will give you better sleep and happier hormones. A remedy against insomnia and sleep apnea, Healthline says it will not only get you to sleep but it will induce deeper and better-quality sleep at night. Quality sleep is a major factor in period symptoms, metabolism, weight management and cortisol production, so magnesium directly targets these functions. Also, it’s better for your long-term health than popping the nightly melatonin (every adult’s excuse to eat gummies for bedtime) and comes without any of the groggy side effects, dependency, or memory health risks.
Muscle, Nerves, and Energy
According to Mayo Clinic, magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle and nerve function and energy production. In addition to relieving symptoms of PMS and period cramps, magnesium has been shown to normalize blood pressure, prevent cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke. It also has therapeutic benefits for conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraines, type II diabetes, and aging. Yeah, this mineral is pretty cool! It also relaxes nerves and blood vessels, which calms the nervous system yet allows better circulation of energy; this comes in handy during menstruation when the lymphatics and circulation tend to get sluggish. Especially after the improved sleep, magnesium will contribute to increased and stabilized energy throughout the day.
Magnesium helps improve nutrient absorption during digestion, improves digestive function, and contributes to overall gut health. Magnesium also relieves constipation by relaxing the muscles and binding water molecules in the gut to intestinal waste, making those No. 2s a whole lot easier and healthier! Good gut health contributes to consistent energy and hormonal balance. Studies from the National Library of Medicine show that the gut biota itself affects hormone levels, including progesterone, and if your gut gets congested, then that bogs up your whole lymphatic/circulation system, resulting in low energy and hormonal imbalance.
When someone is dehydrated (many nursing mothers experience this) and then gets constipated, many health experts will say to increase dietary fiber, which is actually very unhelpful advice because fiber will worsen the constipation. Consistent hydration – sipping water/medicinal liquids such as herbal tea or lemon juice with water – combined with magnesium supplements (best form for constipation for most people) is a gentle and sure remedy against constipation. To loosen constipation congestion, it’s safe to take a half or whole extra of the suggested serving. Warning: Though magnesium is not a drug and does not have drug side effects, it does have laxative properties and too much will cause loose bowels or diarrhea (but that’s usually with quite a bit more than the suggested serving size).
Because it’s an ion that limits damage done to the cells by free radicals, magnesium fights signs of aging. Magnesium also enhances natural skin hydration and stimulates natural collagen production in the body, which shows results on the skin. Many people who get wrinkles and signs of early aging are often deficient in magnesium.
Many people who get wrinkles and signs of early aging are often deficient in magnesium.
What To Eat
Magnesium-rich foods include dark chocolate (surprised?), oatmeal, chia and pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, whole grains, and legumes (which is why peanut butter has high amounts). Magnesium is also found in produce such as avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, bananas, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, and grapefruit.
Below are some healthy meal ideas for increasing magnesium-rich foods in your diet (remember, if you have digestive problems or food sensitivities with certain foods then it’s better to swap it for a magnesium supplement). Feel free to mix in any other additions for more color and variety!
Soaked oatmeal or overnight oats with chia seeds, peanut or almond butter, and banana.
Eggs (scrambled or omelet-style) with spinach/avocado, and cantaloupe and/or grapefruit.
Almond or cashew-based yogurt with raspberries/blackberries/kiwi and sliced almonds.
No-bake protein bites: 1 cup quick oats, ½ cup almond or peanut butter (or PB2 powder for lower calorie), ½-1 cup dark chocolate chips, 1 scoop plain or vanilla collagen powder, raw honey, and/or mashed banana.
Baked salmon with avocado or guacamole and brown rice or quinoa.
Baked or grilled chicken breast with sautéed or steamed spinach and sweet potato (steamed, air-fried, or baked is best).
Magnesium cream is a nectar of the gods to tense or sore muscles! You can apply magnesium cream/oil to sore muscles and tender skin to relieve tension and soothe tender skin. Apply to facial areas and neck for migraine pain, and to the lower back and stomach for period aches/cramps. You can get magnesium lotion, cream, or oil on Amazon here. If you’re feeling crafty, here are some DIY recipes on Pinterest to explore!
Which Kind Does What?
Lots of people get confused about which kind of magnesium they should take because there are a few different types out there. Healthline gives a few examples:
Magnesium citrate (found in citrus fruits) is one of the most common and is used in case of deficiency to raise low magnesium levels in the body, for calming the nervous system and quality sleep, as well as constipation (due to its laxative qualities).
Magnesium oxide can be taken to aid digestion and relieve digestive problems (heartburn, constipation). It also helps to relieve migraines.
Magnesium chloride is a good multi-purpose magnesium supplement for the above uses. It’s also used in lotions and creams to relieve sore, tense muscles.
Magnesium lactate is a gentler form that’s more easily digested by most people (helpful for those who have to ingest large quantities of magnesium or who cannot tolerate other forms). This form of magnesium may also help alleviate stress and anxiety.
Magnesium malate includes malic acid and is another gentler form of easily digested magnesium to replenish deficiency. It has less of a laxative effect than the others.
Magnesium glycinate includes the amino acid glycine, which naturally occurs in protein-rich foods. This form is easily absorbed and may reduce tension, stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
One of my favorite supplement brands is Nature’s Sunshine Products. I like their Magnesium Complex, which contains multiple forms of magnesium for a multi-purpose dosage. You can buy their magnesium here, or on Amazon here. Another good-quality brand is Bluebonnet, and you can buy their store’s magnesium here, or on Amazon here. Of course, health food stores like Whole Foods also have magnesium.
Magnesium is a natural element and a necessary nutrient for our body. It’s also one of the most essential nutrients for hormonal balance. When we’re low in magnesium, that starts a whole domino effect of deficiency issues, which can result in more health problems (not to mention beauty complications – I’m sure we all want to keep our hair and age gracefully). So many health and hormonal issues could be remedied by simply taking magnesium supplements and increasing magnesium-rich foods. Basically, magnesium helps you perform better, sleep better, cycle better, age better, and look better on the inside as well as the outside, and who doesn't want those results?
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