Most of us aren’t getting enough magnesium, yet it is such a vital nutrient that your cells can’t function without it. Magnesium plays a role in the more than 300 enzymes in your body, which do everything from producing energy and contracting muscles to keeping your bones and heart healthy. Even more importantly in terms of anti-aging, magnesium is crucial for your skin. When levels of magnesium in your body get too low, your skin loses fatty acids, which can reduce moisture and elasticity. Magnesium even plays a role in collagen formation and reducing acne, so without enough on board, your skin will undoubtedly suffer.
Guidelines recommend 400 milligrams (mg) a day for men aged nineteen to thirty, and 420 mg for men thirty-one and over, while women aged nineteen to thirty should get 310 mg a day and 320 mg if they’re thirty-one or older. However, data indicates that men are only getting about 350 mg a day and women about 260 mg a day. If you’re among that group, you could be missing out on valuable health benefits.
One study revealed that folks eating the highest amount of magnesium had a 10 percent lower heart disease risk, 12 percent lower stroke risk, and 26 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, versus folks eating the least amount. Just eating an extra 100 mg per day could even reduce diabetes risk by 19 percent and stroke by 7 percent. Magnesium has also been shown to improve sleep. Plus, by eating enough magnesium, you will help your body maintain its collagen production, preventing wrinkles and skin sagging.
Get your magnesium intake through food versus supplements. Good sources include dry-roasted almonds (80 mg in one ounce), boiled spinach (78 mg in 1/2 cup), plain soy milk (61 mg in 1 cup), cooked black beans (60 mg in 1/2 cup), and smooth peanut butter (49 mg in 2 tablespoons).
Like most Americans, you probably have some canned food in your pantry. But here’s a good reason to reconsider them: some cans contain the dangerous chemical BPA (bisphenol A), which is why you should limit or better yet, eliminate canned foods from your grocery list. BPA is considered a hormone disruptor and has been associated with numerous health conditions including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and reproductive issues.
In one study that tested nearly 200 food cans on grocery store shelves, two out of three tested positive for BPA. Those who ate just one canned food in the past day had roughly 24 percent higher concentrations of BPA in their urine versus those who hadn’t eaten canned food. That concentration of BPA increased by 54 percent with just two or more foods from cans. Another study found that eating canned soup and pasta resulted in higher BPA concentrations in urine than other foods, 229 percent for soup and 70 percent for pasta. Canned fruits and veggies, on the other hand, had 41 percent higher concentrations of BPA.
Researchers are still trying to determine the health consequences of BPA—and perhaps other chemicals that are replacing BPA, so don’t assume “BPA-free” means “healthy”—but it’s safe to say that the less canned food you eat, the better. Instead, opt for foods packaged in glass containers or fresh, unpackaged food as much as possible.