Food is Medicine

…. Food is the Sustenance of our Lives

This blog is the first of a series of blogs – about every 6 weeks – offered by Irregardless to our patrons. When we are young – WE LIVE TO EAT. With the wisdom of age we acknowledge that we EAT TO LIVE, (and we know there are many precocious young people today too.)

Three thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Hippocrates wrote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Our hunger pangs tell us when it is time to ‘fill our tank with fuel’ – or ‘fuel our bodies’ with the nutrients it needs to operate at maximum efficiency. Certainly, when our bodies fail, and we are sick, the immediacy of this message becomes perfectly obvious. Recognizing food as medicine helps us make better decisions about what (and how) to eat.  Enjoying the foods that provide our bodies with the nutrients it needs ensures that we maintain our health and prevent & treat disease.

Each blog will focus on one vital nutrient – today we will learn about magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral found in whole grain, wheat germ, nuts, and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), soybeans, tofu, chocolate, dark-green vegetables, legumes, yogurt, and other dairy products. However, the amount of magnesium in any magnesium-rich food is influenced by the soil content in which the food was grown. In many commercial farms, magnesium has been depleted from the soil. The organic gardening at Irregardless’ Well Fed Community Garden ensures that the soil – and the produce grown – are full of magnesium.

Our bodies need magnesium for many functions:

  • For healthy bones
  • Involved in nerve transmission
  • Initiates muscle release
  • Activates energy synthesis
  • Promotes healthy blood vessels
  • Inhibits platelet aggregation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases HDL cholesterol
  • Involved in temperature regulation
  • Helps control blood sugar
  • Promotes wound healing
  • Enhances immune function

If a person does not get enough magnesium over a period of time, these functions will decline and the magnesium insufficiency might manifest as blood pressure issues, such as hypertension and with muscle spasms, such as an arrhythmia in the heart, a muscle cramp in a leg, or a spastic colon.

Thank you to the University of Minnesota’s “Taking Charge of your Health & Well Being” website for this information.