Could optimizing our magnesium levels help with emotional overeating?
Stress in our bodies, whether physical or psychological, uses up our magnesium stores. And the more magnesium our body loses, the more stressed the system can become. It, like most things, is a cycle.
But look on the bright side! When magnesium stores within our bodies are optimal, we’re less stressed and potentially happier.
That’s because magnesium plays a role in our bodies’ production of serotonin. You know, that brain chemical that balances our mood out, helps create a feeling of calm and wellbeing.
What’s the point of all this?
Stress and Emotional Overeating
Well, when I ask women “what would you consider the reason for your desire to emotionally eat?” the most common answer I hear is “stress”.
And the thing about stress is that it’s darn near everywhere. At work, at home, the commute from work to home…
So we shouldn’t expect to work toward completely eliminating stressors in life in order to stop our patterns with overeating. That might just be a little too lofty of a goal, which could ultimately stress us out even more (see, another cycle).
Instead, what if we focused more on the concept that Green Mountain has long recommended – when it comes to self-care, front load on that stuff!
So consider adding ‘getting magnesium stores up to par’ to the list of self-care items so that when stress does come at us, were ready for it.
We’re able to dial it back, down regulate it and produce the stuff that helps us feel good again.
I’m not making the case that the likely reason we are driven to emotionally overeat or binge is due to a lack of magnesium within us, but I do believe that when it comes to working through the heat of the moment, every little bit helps. Stuff like sleeping, getting social, having a good laugh and focusing on our food intake, which includes our intake of magnesium.
You’ll find magnesium in lots of foods. It’s contained in the soil so things that grow there will have some.
Here’s a list of foods that are especially rich in magnesium:
- Cracked, intact and whole grains like oats, bran, brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, granola and grainy breads
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale
- Almonds, cashews and most other nuts
- Beans and legumes like kidney beans, soybeans and black beans
- Halibut is an animal source that’s rich in magnesium..
Magnesium for Relaxation & Falling Asleep
And when it comes to calming down, night-time is the right time. Magnesium has been shown to help people transition into sleep mode.
So if you’re typically hungry for a bedtime snack, consider eating foods rich in magnesium like a handful of cashews, then maybe wash those down with a hot cup of chamomile or valerian root tea. (Those teas also help unwind us and have been used for years to do so.)
Another nice benefit of magnesium: it relaxes us. Not just mentally but physically, too.
What’s a large muscle group that we often neglect that could use a little relaxing?
Our guts. They work on muscular propulsion so often a magnesium supplement can help with gut irregularity by relaxing those tensed out muscles that keep us from bowel regularity.
Yup, this is the stuff your grandma used to give you.
Food is a Component of Self-Care
So give this a go! Add more magnesium-rich foods to your meals and snacks.
When you do, try to remind yourself that foods heal us. Foods have the power to help us regulate physically, mentally and emotionally, so continue to welcome them.
Continue to consider food a vital part of your self-care.