Do you crave chocolate? Whether it is chocolate kisses, candy bars, or chocolate chip cookies, your body is really craving a nutrient that it's missing.
Chocolate’s Little Secret
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., craving chocolate is an indication of a magnesium deficiency. Since chocolate is loaded with magnesium, you may not have enough of this vital mineral. Do you have any of the following: muscle spasms, leg cramps, PMS, migraines, osteoporosis, insomnia, or heart arrhythmias?
How could a mineral deficiency impact so many different problems? Magnesium is vital for the following functions in the body:
Muscles and Magnesium
The body uses magnesium to relax the muscles. When there is not enough, spasms can result. My father suffered with chronic leg cramps. He would regularly wake-up in the middle of the night in pain. Nothing seemed to work until his doctor suggested he take a magnesium supplement. When the magnesium level returned to normal, the leg cramps went away. This also works with muscle spasms of the back and shoulders.
A deficiency of magnesium also affects the smooth muscle tissue in the uterus. In women, the magnesium levels are lowest around menstruation. So, there is a biochemical reason why chocolate cravings are so strong with PMS. However, the sugar added to chocolate only makes matters worse. In The Miracle of Magnesium, Dr. Dean suggests there are better sources than chocolate. Whole foods like nuts, seeds, grains, and greens are the answer. When the magnesium levels return to normal, the cravings will stop.
Migraines and Magnesium
I have suffered with migraine headaches since childhood. The reason was two fold. First, a bad misalignment in my neck, which was the reason I became a Chiropractor.
The second reason was allergies to certain foods. When I would eat something I was allergic to, it caused a vasoconstriction reaction and a migraine would result. Magnesium relaxes the blood vessels and allows them to dilate, reducing the spasms and constrictions that cause migraines. For more information, read What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Migraines by Dr. Mauskop, M.D.
Osteoporosis and Magnesium
Everyone knows of the importance of calcium in preventing osteoporosis, but the real hero is magnesium. For the body to be able to absorb and use calcium, sufficient magnesium must be present. It is used to dissolve calcium in the blood and is required to form new bone. According to Susan Brown, PhD., director of the Osteoporosis Education Project in Syracuse, New York, “the use of calcium supplements in the face of magnesium deficiency can lead to deposits of calcium in the soft tissue such as the joints, promoting arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.”
Nervous System and Magnesium
Nerves require magnesium to send electrical transmissions to and from the brain. The brain and the heart have high concentrations of magnesium compared to other tissues of the body. According to Dr. Dean, it is no wonder why a deficiency in magnesium can result in insomnia and heart arrhythmias. It is interesting to note that the blood contains only 1% of the body’s magnesium. This is why a blood test can show a normal level of magnesium, but other tissues can be deficient.
What Foods Have Magnesium?
Pumpkin seeds, kelp, almonds, millet, baked or broiled halibut, black-strap cane molasses, and brewer’s yeast are some of the best sources of magnesium. In addition to eating whole foods, you may need a good magnesium supplement. To determine the best type of magnesium for your situation, I suggest reading Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book, The Miracle of Magnesium. It is easy to read and covers a variety of conditions that researchers have found respond well to magnesium.