Is Your Child Eating Magnesium-Rich Foods?

Is Your Child Eating Magnesium-Rich Foods?

by Jane Sheppard

Children who are not eating plenty of magnesium-rich foods – nuts, green vegetables, beans, peas, and whole grains – may have a mild magnesium deficiency. The typical American processed diet doesn’t provide enough magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can show up as irritability, agitation, anxiety, decreased attention span, mental confusion, restless let syndrome, sleep problems, muscle weakness, cramps, spasm, or tics.

In a clinical study of 116 children with ADHD, 95% were found to be magnesium deficient. In another study, children receiving magnesium supplements in addition to standard treatment had significant improvement in behavior, while those receiving only standard treatment got worse. Low dietary magnesium is also associated with asthma.

Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, regulates blood sugar levels, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and works with other minerals to strengthen bones. If you think your child may be magnesium deficient, try adding more of the above mentioned foods. Green vegetables, like spinach and kale, are great sources since the chlorophyll contains magnesium.

You can also ask your child’s doctor to check for levels of magnesium in the blood. You can supplement with magnesium, but unless you’re child has a major deficiency or won’t eat enough whole foods, it’s always best to get nutrients from food. The synergistic effect of the many nutrients in whole foods provides optimal nutrition and provides the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals.

How To Add Leafy Green Vegetables to Your Diet and Your Children’s Diets

This article provides some good suggestions on how to add greens:

How to add leafy green vegetables to your diet

Here is a simple and delicious kale recipe from Jill Nussinow, The Veggie Queen. It may intrigue and entice your children. I encourage you to sign up for Jill’s newsletter (link below), since she teaches the best ways to purchase, prepare, cook and eat vegetables.

Baked Kale Chips or Krisps

Makes 1 seriously addictive batch

This was not my idea but it works so well. I have tweaked the recipe to make it even easier to make rather than tearing the leaves into small pieces you can bake them larger. The key is to be sure that the leaves have room to spread out and aren’t stacked one on top of another. You can season them with your (or your kid’s) favorite salt-free seasoning, if you like.
You can also make them with other greens such as collards but my favorite is dinosaur or Lacinata (black) kale.

1 bunch greens, washed, dried and thick stems removed
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Light sprinkling of salt
Salt-free seasoning

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Tear greens into pieces but they do not have to be bite sized. Put into bowl and mix with oil. Then sprinkle with salt and seasoning, if using. Put onto rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and turn kale leaves over and bake another 5 to 7 minutes until leaves are crisp. Be sure to watch them so that they don’t burn. Eat while warm or let cool just a bit. They taste best shortly after they come out of the oven.

©2010 Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie QueenTM