Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral that helps keep your body in good working order. Its especially important for protein and bone synthesis (growing a new little human), energy production (keeping a tired mama-to-be going) and the active transport of calcium and magnesium across cell membranes (nerve impulse movement and muscle contraction) - all processes that are critically important every day and especially when pregnant or in the forth trimester. It also is heavily involved in the menstrual cycle. Levels fluctuate as hormone levels in the body change during the month.
It's easy to see why then that so many women end up deficient in this critical substance. Cue the chocolate cravings! Chocolate isn't the richest source of the mineral but it's one of the most addictive. Eating it also releases a lot of dopamine, the feel good chemical and neurotransmitter, and contains a lot of soothing sugar.
During pregnancy, small amounts of good quality chocolate (75% cocoa solids or more) are fine but it would be better to eat more of other foods that are rich in it, gaining other health benefits at the same time. All good pregnancy multivitamins should contain some but a top up from food sources will help you feel better in pregnancy and may even help labour progress more smoothly.
Top 10 food sources of magnesium
- Dark leafy greens - spinach, spring greens, kale and chard
- Nuts and seeds - pumpkin, sesame, brazil nuts and almonds
- Fish - mackerel, pollock and tuna
- Beans and lentils - soy beans (edamame), cannellini beans, black eyed beans and kidney beans
- Whole grains - brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta and oats
- Dairy - plain yoghurt and swiss cheese
- Dried fruit - figs, prunes, apricots and dates
- Dark chocolate
Reference: "Office Of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium". Ods.od.nih.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Apr. 2017. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/