What depletes magnesium?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

Refining and processing of food has been shown to significantly reduce the magnesium content by approximately 85%. This means that many of the foods we consume on a daily basis may not provide us with adequate amounts of this essential mineral.

One of the main reasons for this depletion is the removal of the outer layers of grains during the refining process. The bran and germ of grains are rich sources of magnesium, but they are often stripped away to improve the texture and shelf life of processed foods like white bread, pasta, and rice. As a result, these refined grains contain much lower levels of magnesium compared to their whole grain counterparts.

In addition to refining, cooking methods can also contribute to the loss of magnesium in our food. Boiling, in particular, has been found to cause significant loss of magnesium. When we cook magnesium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables or legumes in water for extended periods of time, some of the magnesium leaches out into the cooking water. If this water is discarded, as is often the case, we end up losing a substantial amount of magnesium along with it.

It is worth noting that not all cooking methods result in the same degree of magnesium loss. Steaming and baking, for example, have been found to be less detrimental to magnesium content compared to boiling. These methods help to retain more of the magnesium in the food, making it a better choice for preserving its nutritional value.

Furthermore, factors such as soil depletion and the use of certain fertilizers can also affect the magnesium content of our food. Intensive farming practices and the reliance on synthetic fertilizers can lead to a decrease in the magnesium levels in the soil. As a result, the crops grown in these soils may have lower magnesium content, further contributing to the overall depletion of magnesium in our diets.

The refining and processing of food, along with certain cooking methods, can significantly deplete the magnesium content. It is important to be mindful of these factors when considering our magnesium intake, and to incorporate magnesium-rich whole foods into our diets whenever possible.