Magnesium to Better Manage Stress

Ellen Kanner

Posted Sept 3, 2012

We live in stressful times. Heart disease, diabetes and sky-high blood pressure are your obvious baddies. Then there's low-level anxiety, insomnia, brain fog, muscle cramps, road rage and other signs of irritability.

Reduce stress, we're told. Good luck with that. And if you can't, at least increase your magnesium intake.

Magnesium is your anti-stress trace mineral. We need it for everything, from relaxing our muscles to soothing our nerves. Magnesium is like DSL - it keeps everything running smoothly and is a must for quieting inflammation, your body's natural reaction to stress.

The RDA for magnesium is 420 milligrams for men, 320 for women. The bad news is, many of us are magnesium-deficient. The good news is, you can have a blast getting all the magnesium your body needs.

Magnesium does not want you to stress. It wants you to have a good time. It cleverly positions itself in the foods you crave. Dark chocolate is magnesium-rich, with more than 100 milligrams per ounce. Almonds are another magnesium goldmine, with 84 milligrams per ounce. Though seriously yummy, chocolate and nuts are also prime sources for calories and fat.

No stress; magnesium is also in spinach and other leafy greens, whole grains, whole soy products like tofu and tempeh, legumes and fruit like summer favorites watermelon, avocado, mango and figs.

Magnesium to your heart's delight with a bowl of guacamole, black beans, a salad of fresh figs, almonds and spinach, and OK, some dark chocolate. See? Summertime living can be easy, after all.

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ALMOND COOKIES

These almond-rich treats are high in magnesium, Chinese in origin, but untraditional, being lardless. You can purchase blanched almonds or, to make your own, cover whole, raw almonds with boiling water, and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain. Pinch almonds between your fingers, and skins will slip off.

1/2 cup vegan margarine or unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 tablespoon almond butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons amaretto

2/3 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)

2/3 cup unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

24 blanched almonds

Beat the margarine, almond butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in amaretto and almond flour. Sift together flour and baking powder; stir into margarine mixture until just combined. Dough will be slightly sticky.

On a lightly floured surface, form into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap well in foil and refrigerate until well-chilled, 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice dough into 1/2-inch thick rounds and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Gently press a blanched almond into the center of each. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are just turning golden.

Remove from oven. Cookies come out quite tender but firm up as they cool. Makes 2 dozen.

Per cookie: 97 calories (57 percent from fat), 6.4 g fat (0.9 g saturated, 1.6 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 1.4 g protein, 9.4 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fiber, 69 mg sodium.

(Ellen Kanner writes about vegetarian concerns. She blogs at www.edgyveggie1.blogspot.com; email her at ellen@ellen-ink.com)

©2012 The Miami Herald Distributed by Mclatchy-Tribune News Service.
 
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