Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

Here’s what to know about magnesium . . .

Products containing magnesium

Products containing magnesium

  • Magnesium is a really important mineral that our body needs for more than 300 enzyme systems that control muscle, nerve, bone, protein, DNA, glucose, and energy metabolism.
  • About 99% of total body magnesium is located in bone, muscles, and soft tissues.  For this reason a blood test of magnesium level won’t necessarily detect if we have low magnesium levels.
  • The recommended daily intake of magnesium varies by age and gender, but 400 mg is a good round number for adults. The kidneys work to keep balance of magnesium, along with potassium and sodium.
  • Substances like alcohol, many over-the-counter and prescription drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors (meds such as Nexium, Prilosec or omeprazole), can lower body magnesium levels.
  • Magnesium deficiency can contribute to health problems such as constipation, muscle spasms,  arrhythmias, hypertension, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, seizures, leg cramps, restless legs syndrome, kidney stones, myocardial infarction, headaches, premenstrual syndrome, fibromyalgia, chest pain, osteoporosis, altitude sickness, diabetes, fatty liver disease and fatigue.
  • Processed foods are stripped of most of their natural magnesium.  In general, dark green leafy veggies, beans, nuts and seeds are best sources of magnesium.
  • Since magnesium is eliminated by the kidneys, if you have kidney function below normal be sure to check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements as too much can be dangerous as well.
  • Top magnesium foods, with 25 mg magnesium or more per serving, are listed in order with best sources first:
    Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, Pumpkin Seeds, Summer Squash, Turnip Greens, Soybeans, Sesame Seeds, Black Beans, Quinoa, Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, Navy Beans, Tempeh, Buckwheat, Pinto Beans, Brown Rice, Barley, Lima Beans, Millet, Kidney Beans, Oats, Tofu, Almonds, Rye, Wheat, Papaya, Flaxseeds, Green Peas, Tuna, Scallops, Collard Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Raspberries, Winter Squash, Cabbage, Asparagus, Kale.

Please share any food ideas or recipes you have to get your daily magnesium!

Favorite Recipe Share: Bourbon Chicken

This recipe has become one of my family’s favorites since finding in online a few years ago. You can find it online at this link also.


    • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1 -2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
    • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup apple juice
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Remove chicken.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
  5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

You can serve it with rice or for a lower carb dinner serve with a salad instead!

I do make a few adjustments: I leave out the red pepper flakes only because we prefer the taste without. I also use lite soy sauce to reduce sodium, and try to use fresh garlic and ginger instead of powder.

Most of the ingredients are healthy. You might not be aware that ginger is an anti-inflammatory food that can help reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis if used regularly.  It also can help prevent cancer and is good in tea when you have cold or flu. sliced ginger root

As always the whole food version is always more effective than a supplement. The root doesn’t necessarily look pretty but has a nice aroma and flavor!

You can buy ginger root in the produce section and then just peel it and chop or mince to and add to your recipe! Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Store unpeeled in the freezer and it will keep for up to six months.

Please share your favorite healthy recipes in the comments!


My New Favorite Probiotic for a Strong Immune System

How many of these probiotic foods have you had in the past few days?

Buttermilk    Yogurt    Cottage Cheese   Kefir   Sauerkraut    Pickled beets

I usually try to eat yogurt at least twice a week to get the good bacteria,  but recently I have discovered Kefir. It’s like a yogurt smoothie that taste’s a little sweet but still tart and has twice the live active cultures as my favorite yogurt!


What are probiotics? Probiotics are fermented foods that resupply the good bacteria in your digestive tract.  Prebiotics are the foods that feed the good bacteria. Continue reading

3 of My Favorite Fall Foods

Do you find it challenging to eat healthy this time of year?

As the weather turns cool I seem to crave heavier foods and more carbs like fresh baked warm cookies! But if you are like me you can’t make those too often and still fit into your favorite jeans. So I thought I would share 3 of my favorite fall foods that are a little more waistline friendly. Continue reading

You Get Two A’s for Adding Oregano to Your Diet

Well today was the last day of school for my teenagers so I guess my brain is thinking report cards and grades.

If you have oregano growing in your garden you get an A for antibacterial and an A for antioxidant. These are two health benefits of adding this herb to your favorite dishes.

Oregano is also an excellent source of vitamin K, and a good source of fiber, iron, manganese, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3.

If you have never grown oregano it is one of the easiest herbs to grow. In fact, most herbs do well in poor soil and do not require much attention to survive.

This picture is my oregano that I planted from seed last year. I was happy to see it survived the Minnesota winter and came back this year. Now I need to start adding it to my meals to get my antioxidants.

When cooking with fresh oregano add toward the end of cooking as it may lose flavor easily if cooked too long. If you are using dried oregano add that at beginning of cooking to allow flavor to blend with other ingredients. If a recipe calls for dried oregano you probably want to use twice that amount of fresh chopped oregano leaves. Of course the amount really depends on what taste you prefer.

Oregano tastes great added to pizza sauce, omelets, frittatas, garlic bread, or salad greens.

Here are some more ideas for recipes using fresh oregano.  Or try Food Network's Feta, Black Olive & Oregano Salad.

When the fresh tomatoes are ready I think I will try the original garlic bread, bruschetta!

Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Fresh Oregano    (from The Joy of Cooking)

Place on grill or under broiler 8 thick slices crusty firm Italian bread or other country-style bread.

Grill or broil, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from the heat and rub the surface with 2 large cloves garlic, halved. Brush with 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

Top each slice with shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz total). Broil just until the cheese is bubbling. Top with diced fresh tomatoes (about 1 large tomato total) and chopped fresh oregano (about 2 tablespoons total).

Enjoy Eating Oregano!

Diabetes and Vitamin D: You Might Be Deficient if. . .

We can all probably relate to one of more of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck . . ." jokes.

Although not nearly as much fun, we can also relate to low vitamin D if you look at the 25 reasons below associated with Vitamin D deficiency. A few months ago I did a post on the ABC's of diabetes . Now let's learn about D.

Continue reading

3 Ways to Add Immune Boosting Romaine to Your Diabetes Defense

Cold and flu season is definitely here. Along with hand washing, adequate sleep, and stress management, eating well is more important to keep your immune system strong.  Romaine lettuce beats all other lettuce varieties when it comes to immune-boosting nutrients. It's a great source of vitamin B1, B2, C and folic acid. All of these are important for keeping your immune system strong enough to fight off cold and flu viruses.

How does Romaine help fight diabetes? Well the low calorie content make it a great food for weight loss. Just remember to go easy on the salad dressing.

The most common way we tend to eat Romaine lettuce is in Ceasar salad. But you can make any other salad variety, add Romaine to your sandwich, or make a wrap!

Here's a couple recipes to get you started. Both are low calorie and contain other immune-boosting foods as well. I encourage you to share any other ways you enjoy meals with Romaine!

Walnut Romaine Salad

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chili is a recipe loaded with diabetes fighting ingredients!

Chili is one of my favorite cold weather foods. Besides tasting great and warming you up on a cold day, almost every ingredient in chili has health benefits. Here is my family’s favorite recipe. It’s easy and good for you too!

  • 1 lb lean ground beef, browned and drained
  • 2 cans kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans tomatoes
  • 1 medium to large onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste

My favorite way to cook chili is in the crock pot and often I do soups overnight because I cook the ground beef, onions and garlic and then throw everything in the crock pot while I am cooking another dinner. That way I cook two meals at once. When I get up in the morning I turn it off, let it cool and before I go out the door put it in the fridge. All that’s left is to heat it up for supper in the evening!

The health benefits of chili for diabetes are numerous. Kidney beans are one of the best food sources of fiber providing almost half our daily requirement. Even though the beans are carbohydrate the fiber slows down the blood sugar rise after the meal. Kidney beans also have 57% of our daily need for folate, which lowers homocysteine levels and 20% of our need for magnesium, a natural blood pressure medicine.

Chili powder, ground from red chili peppers, contains capsaicin, which fights inflammation, reduces insulin needs and helps lower blood sugars.

If you go easy on the salt and choose lean ground beef, every other ingredient in chili will help you fight diabetes in one way or another.  If you are watching your weight, 1 small to medium bowl of chili will provide about 500 calories. My problem is that I love bread with my chili, which puts me well over my weight control portion.

The great thing about making chili and other soups is that you can add and subtract ingredients to your liking and create your own favorite recipe. If you have a favorite chili recipe please share!

Blueberries Make an Excellent Snack Choice for Fighting Diabetes

Here's my afternoon snack today: organic vanilla yogurt with blueberries and banana. All for just over 200 calories! Blueberries are in season so enjoy some soon with the tasty recipe ideas below and let the antioxidants and anti-inflammatories go to work helping you fight diabetes!

Take a look at the powerful health benefits you get . . .  

  • 38% more antioxidants than wine to protect your heart
  • low calorie and high fiber to help with weight loss
  • help protect the brain from dementia and Alzheimers
  • good source of soluble fiber pectin to help lower cholesterol
  • reducing inflammation in digestive system
  • same compound found in cranberries that helps prevent urinary tract infections


1 cup of blueberries is about 80 calories, 1 carb choice and 4 grams fiber. Also an excellent source of vitamin C and E.

So grab some blueberries at your local farmers market or grocer, whip up a smoothie or parfait, or try the recipes below!  . . . . and share your favorites with me too!!!

Fruit S'mores recipe

Blueberry Cheesecake for Calorie Counters 

Blueberry Tart with Walnut Crust

Enjoy Patriotic Strawberry Recipes While Getting Powerful Nutrients!

Strawberries are one of the top 20 antioxidant fruits and veggies -  great for keeping our brain healthy and preventing cancer.  Better yet, they taste great and are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. If you're counting calories, one cup is only 50 calories! 

One of my favorite meals during strawberry season is grilled chicken breast cut up into a green salad with sliced almonds and a little drizzle of salad dressing.  

For a fun patriotic dessert make July 4th Flag Fruit Pizza!  (I use pre-made sugar cookie dough when I'm in a hurry.)

Or try this low calorie Strawberry Smoothie Recipe: 1 cup ripe strawberries, 1 banana, 1-2 tbsp honey, 1/2 cup yogurt vanilla or plain, 1/2 cup ice and 1/2 cup water. You can also add a tablespoon of ground flax seed for omega-3 if you like. I like to save my too-ripe bananas in freezer and use in place of ice for smoothies. Just remember the key to weight control with smoothies is keeping the portion to an 8 oz glass, unless this is your meal.

If you're looking for more information on buying, storing, or freezing strawberries check out this  Strawberry Hints & Tips Guide . You'll also find some great recipes such as Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate!