The mineral magnesium is important for every organ in the body, particularly the heart, muscles, and kidneys. It also contributes to the composition of teeth and bones. Most importantly, magnesium activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels as well as copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.
Sources of Magnesium
Rich sources of magnesium include tofu, legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, wheat bran, Brazil nuts, soybean flour, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin and squash seeds, pine nuts, and black walnuts. Other good dietary sources of this mineral include peanuts, whole wheat flour, oat flour, beet greens, spinach, pistachio nuts, shredded wheat, bran cereals, oatmeal, bananas, and baked potatoes (with skin), chocolate, and cocoa powder.
Today, iodine deficiencies in developed countries are rare because table salt is supplemented with iodine and crops in developed countries are generally grown in iodine-rich soil. A deficiency of iodine can lead to hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels); symptoms of this condition include:
- weight gain,
- sensitivity to temperature changes.
In infants and children, hypothyroidism can impair physical and mental development.