Magnesium is an important nutrient, and modern humans may be systematically low in it. In fact, according to Wellnessfx, some nutritionists and doctors believe that 56 percent of Americans may be deficient in magnesium. And one cause of this deficiency is our dietary choices.
Related: Are You Deficient in Magnesium?
“Magnesium is part of chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants, so green leafy vegetables are particularly high in magnesium,” states the wellness blog. “The average American consumes foods that are rich in energy and poor in micronutrients such as processed foods, sugar, sodas, and even meat.”
But even beyond what we don’t consume, there are some things that we do consume that may be making it difficult for us to absorb and maintain magnesium. One major culprit? Alcohol.
Studies on Alcohol Intake and Magnesium Deficiency
Though it’s infrequently discussed in wellness circles, the link between chronic alcohol consumption and magnesium deficiency is well-proven by science.
“Significant magnesium deficiency occurs in chronic alcoholism,” states a study found in the US National Library of Medicine.
Ancient Minerals explains how alcohol can disrupt your body’s magnesium levels.
“The effect of alcohol on magnesium levels is similar to the effect of diuretics: it lowers magnesium available to the cells by increasing the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys,” the site states. “Increased alcohol intake also contributes to decreased efficiency of the digestive system, as well as vitamin D deficiency, both of which can contribute to low magnesium levels.”
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?
This information may be interesting, but it’s clear that alcoholism — not the moderate consumption of an occasional glass of wine — is correlated with magnesium deficiency. How do you know how much alcohol is too much?
This is, of course, an elusive question. Different people can tolerate different levels of alcohol consumption. The CDC recommends just one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, and notes that 2 out of 3 adults consume upwards of this amount on a regular basis. Could this be one of the factors leading to widespread magnesium deficiency?
While there are no hard-and-fast answers to this question, you can try to determine whether or not you need to tone down your alcohol consumption by asking yourself a simple question: Do I feel tired all the time?
In addition to impacting your ability to sleep well, alcohol affects your magnesium levels, which also regulate tiredness and energy. If you are chronically fatigued and find that your sleep isn’t optimum, consider taking a break from the booze for a while.
Foods To Eat To Boost Your Magnesium Levels
Cutting out alcohol is the first step toward getting your magnesium levels back to a healthy level. In conjunction with this change in habit, consider eating the following magnesium-rich foods on a daily basis:
- Dark leafy greens
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains like oats, barley, whole-grain bread and brown rice
- Dark chocolate