Did you know that an adult heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood through your body every day? Or that it takes only 20 seconds for blood to circulate through the entire body? For a muscle the size of your fist, your heart has a pretty serious job, so it’s important to give your heart the nutrients it needs to thrive.
So how can you protect your heart this Valentine’s Day? With dark chocolate! You might already know the many health benefits of dark chocolate, but today I want to focus on its mineral content. In addition to powerful antioxidants, dark chocolate also provides a good amount of magnesium, a mineral that your body needs for many of its daily functions.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that acts as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes in the body. This means that magnesium helps our body perform many of its normal functions, like building proteins, maintaining muscle and nerve function, controlling your blood sugar, and regulating your blood pressure. Magnesium is also required in metabolism, bone development, DNA formation, and glutathione production. If you have trouble with muscle cramps, personality changes, fatigue, detoxification, or abnormal heart rhythms, you might benefit from increasing your daily dose of magnesium.
What causes a deficiency?
- Low dietary intakes
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Chronic diarrhea
- Malabsorption due to gluten or other food sensitivity
- Use of loop diuretics (Lasix, Bumex)
- Use of proton-pump inhibitors (Nexium, Prevacid)
- Use of certain antibiotics
Recommended Forms of Magnesium
This form is commonly used to relieve constipation by stimulating bowel movements.
This is a chelated form of magnesium that is not as strong as other forms, but it's more easily absorbed by the body. This is the form that I recommend for those who would like to supplement their daily intake of magnesium.
This is the form of magnesium more commonly known as Epsom salt. The sulfate helps draw toxins out of the body through the pores in the skin, allowing magnesium to then be absorbed.
Sources of magnesium
- Dark chocolate (75% or more cacao)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts)
- Epsom salt baths
Warm Lavender Bath Recipe
- 2 cups of Epsom salt (½ cup for children)
- 1-2 cups of baking soda
- 20 drops of lavender oil
1. Add ingredients to warm water and stir well.
2. Soak for 20 minutes to help draw out toxins.
3. If you have time, soak for an additional 20 minutes so that your body can absorb the magnesium.
This Valentine’s Day, treat yourself (and your Valentine) to a relaxing Warm Lavender Bath and a delicious bar of dark chocolate. Your heart will thank you.
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