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!

How All or None Thinking Makes You Feel Like a Diet Failure

Here’s how  – We decide to lose weight or get control of diabetes and we say to ourselves:

I have to eat better. I’ll start a healthy diet tomorrow.  I will get rid of all the bad foods and just eat what’s good for me.

Thinking of food as good or bad all of the time is an all-or-none mindset. We think of our eating as right or wrong. When we are following the rules we are good. But if we stop the diet we have failed and we feel like a bad person.
If we are always trying to follow someone else’s diet or food rules, we never really get in touch with our hunger or our reasons for eating. We don’t discover the foods we actually enjoy. Continue reading

Is Drinking Sugar Soda as Bad as Smoking?

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

I read an interesting research study that found drinking sugar soda on a regular basis could lead to the premature aging of immune cells, leaving the body more susceptible to chronic disease like diabetes. And they compared it to the way smoking increases our risk of disease, by damaging tissues, causing inflammation and insulin resistance.
We always say that eating or drinking sugar does not cause diabetes but maybe we as health care professionals will need to re-evaluate that answer.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes you might be thinking “How bad can it be to have a soda now and then?”    In my experience teaching and coaching on diabetes, I have seen many people bring their blood sugars down to normal or near normal just by weaning off regular soda.  Plus you are also likely to get healthier teeth, more energy and easier weight control.
How much is too much sugar? The American Heart Association guidelines for added sugar consumption recommend women get no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar, or about 6 teaspoons. That’s only slightly more than a half of a 12 ounce can!  For men, they recommend no more than 9 teaspoons. Continue reading

5 Step Food Fix to Help You Get Control of Diabetes

Once you have made up your mind to change your diet to get control of diabetes, try these meal-by-meal tips to get started on better blood sugar control.

  • Stop drinking sugar.

You can get a dramatic drop in blood sugar, lose weight and feel better by stopping all soda pop, juice and other drinks with added sugar. Eventually you can add some 100% juice back in small amounts but to start it is best to avoid completely. You can temporarily transition to diet drinks but the best alternative would be to drink water, even if you need to flavor it with frozen fruit or a little juice. Water is necessary for all the functions our bodies need to maintain, especially blood sugar control. Continue reading

Grapes: Good or Bad for Diabetes?

grapesI get this question a lot. Many people have been told grapes are too high in sugar and if you have diabetes you should not eat them.

Grapes are actually very heart healthy and have a low glycemic index, in the 43-53 range. One serving is about 15-20 grapes, a small handful. The equal amount of carbohydrate in grape juice would be about 1/3 cup. Continue reading

10 Foods You Can Mix & Match to Make Fast Healthy Meals

Between our jobs, cleaning house for the holidays and shopping for gifts, not only do we run out of time to enjoy the spirit of the season but we run out of time to cook and plan our meals.

Try this list of foods to save yourself from the high carb, high fat fast food lane this holiday season . . . and just maybe save a few extra pounds around the waistline as well! Continue reading

4 Ways to Get Your Mind Set to Fight Diabetes

Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you chances are it will burn very briefly.”    Stephen Covey

Free image courtesy of

This quote sums it up. The motivation for lifestyle change has to be yours.  You want to change not because your doctor tells you  . . . not because your family or friends want you to . . . but because there is something that matters to you enough to make you want to change your life!

If you are searching for the motivation to get healthier and fight diabetes I hope that you find some tips to inspire you and help you find the spark that lights your fire! Continue reading

Controlling Diabetes is Like Taking a Road Trip

You Need to Map Your Destination

When you take a road trip you need to figure out the best way to get there right? I was going to say you need to get out the map but now we just pull out our GPS and let it guide the way. Too bad managing diabetes and weight control is not that easy!

Knowing your targets for blood sugar control is like knowing your destination for a trip. The road we travel to get to that destination may be paved with a food plan, exercise plan and maybe medication. Continue reading

What You Don’t Know About Diabetes CAN Hurt You

I often hear people refer to Type 1 Diabetes as “the really bad diabetes” because people have to take insulin with type 1 diabetes. However, did you know that with Type 2 diabetes blood sugars start to go higher than normal up to 10 years before you are diagnosed?


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The Inflammation-Diabetes Connection

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s reaction to infection or injury. Classic signs of inflammation are redness, swelling and pain. Living in Minnesota the example I think of is a mosquito bite, where you feel very little pain but you get the annoying redness, swelling and itching. That’s an obvious inflammatory reaction that is temporary.

Ever had a sinus infection? If you go to the doctor you will be diagnosed with sinusitis. Any medical diagnosis that ends with “itis” means inflammation. So sinusitis simply means inflammation of the sinuses.

What does inflammation have to do with diabetes?

Diabetes and many chronic health problems are a condition of inflammation, but the scary part is that the inflammation is hidden, as Dr Mark Hyman describes it. This hidden inflammation can start way before you know you have diabetes. You feel no pain until it has caused complications that sometimes are not reversible. Continue reading