Do You Crave Chocolate?
If you find yourself craving chocolate, what your body may actually be craving is magnesium and here’s why.
Magnesium is a stress reliever. It’s vital for muscle relaxation and without it our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction. Without going into too much science, when we are chronically stressed, mentally or physically in that fight or flight response, magnesium is what is used by our cells to help burn sugar for energy. One of its many roles is to support the production and action of insulin in the body, helping to balance out our blood sugar levels. The magnesium eventually ends up being eliminated from the body in urine.
As it plays a major role in our blood sugar levels, it’s common for some Diabetics to be deficient in magnesium.
Chronic stress and holding tension in our muscles actually depletes our bodies of magnesium and the more stressed we are, the greater the loss of magnesium. Without sufficient magnesium levels in our bodies being replaced, our nerve cells become excitable and over-reactive which makes you hypersensitive to stress even when you have left the stressful environment.
It’s a vicious cycle as the more depleted your magnesium levels are to begin with, the more reactive you are to stress. The more reactive you are to stress, the lower your magnesium levels drop.
Typical signs that you may be suffering from magnesium deficiency include;
Painful muscle spasms
Fibromyalgia (tiredness, listlessness, fatigue)
Eye twitches, or involuntary eye movements.
Here's a list of 8 foods that are rich in magnesium.
Dark Leafy Greens – Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens
Nuts & Seeds – Squash Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Cashew Nuts, Pine Nuts, Mixed Nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Walnuts.
Fish – Mackerel, Pollock, Turbot, Tuna at and most others fishes at 8% of your daily allowance.
Beans and Lentils - Soy Beans, White Beans, French Beans, Black-eyed Peas, Kidney Beans Chickpeas and Pinto Beans.
Whole Grains - Brown Rice, Quinoa, Millet, Bulgur, Buckwheat, Wild Rice, Whole Wheat Pasta, Barley and Oats.
Fruits and Vegetables – Avocados, Bananas, Figs, Prunes, Apricots, Dates and Raisins.
Dairy Products – Milk, Cheese, Yogurt.
And last but not least Dark Chocolate, yay!! Yes, you can still eat chocolate but dark chocolate would be a better choice as 1 square of dark chocolate (29g) gives you 95mg of magnesium which is around 35% of your daily allowance, but remember chocolate still has a much higher calorific content then the other foods mentioned above.
The amount of magnesium you need is 300mg a day for men and 270mg a day for women (NHS Choices 2015). You should be able to get all the magnesium you need from your daily diet but you can also take magnesium in supplement form as magnesium citrate which is easier to absorb than the cheaper magnesium oxide.
But do bear in mind what you are drinking with your magnesium-rich foods as dark fizzy drinks contain phosphates which bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, making it unavailable to the body. So even if you’re being good and eating a balanced diet, by drinking dark fizzy drinks with your meals you are actually flushing magnesium out of your system.
So DO fill your diet with as much magnesium rich foods as possible, as it’s all healthy and not only will it help to buffer your stress response but it will help to keep your chocolate cravings in check, saving your waistline.
The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your GP. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this article. The opinions expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author.
Adelaide Brooks is a Certified Personal Trainer with a Degree in Sports and Exercise Science and a Masters in Psychology. She has over 15 years experience as a health trainer in the medical and fitness industry.
If you would like to book a body transformation training session with Adelaide please take a look at the services page.