FUEL: Magnesium

If you are an avid cyclist (or general fitness enthusiast) you have probably heard that if you experience cramps or muscular pain you should supplement with magnesium, right?

So what is magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, supporting a healthy immune system, and for building strong bones. It is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body: it also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

What depletes magnesium?

  • Sweating
  • Consumption of processed food
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Consumption of produce from depleted soil
  • Consumption of foods high in phytic acid
  • Additionally, drugs like birth control pills, hypertension medicine, diuretics, insulin, and certain antibiotics

Early signs of magnesium deficiency can include:

  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Muscle tension
  • Stress, nervousness and anxiety
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Insomnia

Eat this:

To boost magnesium in your diet include lots of green vegetables such as spinach (chlorophyll contains magnesium) beans and peas, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, and whole, unrefined grains such as brown rice. Refined grains are generally low in magnesium as during processing the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium in Australia is currently 320 mg/day for men and 270 mg/day for women. For cramps, you will also need to drink lots of water and check electrolyte balance: magnesium, potassium, calcium.

Make this:

Spicy spinach superfood salad


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ teaspn cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy!)
  • 1 teaspn crushed/grated ginger
  • 1 red or yellow capsicum
  • 1 large bunch English spinach, sliced
  • 10 shitake (or brown) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup chickpeas (or you can swap with cooked chicken)

Easy steps:

1. Heat oil in large pan

2. Add onion, garlic and spices cook for 1 min

3. Add mushrooms and capsicum cook 1 min

4. Add chickpeas and spinach, cook 1 min (it will wilt, but don’t cook for too long)

5. Enjoy! Maybe even sprinkle on some pepitas or sunflower seeds for an extra boost.

Salad Bonus Benefits:

Tumeric: highly anti-inflammatory

Shitake mushrooms: excellent promoter of cardiovascular and immune health

Spinach: nutrient dense, antioxidant rich, blood and cell detoxifier.


Ali Dear

Sports nutrition expert

Nutrilicious Life – Making nutritious food easy and delicious