15 Health Benefits of Magnesium, According to Science (+15 Best Magnesium Foods)

Magnesium is a mineral that occurs naturally in and is also added to many foods, is found in our bodies and is added to a lot of the medication we take. Magnesium is so important to our bodies because it is involved in about 300 bodily activities.

Magnesium is crucial to the body's production of energy and is also involved in over 3 hundred enzyme systems within the body that are responsible for regulating diverse biochemical reaction.

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An estimated 80 percent of adults will experience a magnesium deficiency in their lifetime. A magnesium deficiency can have some serious symptoms including;

  • Damage to the liver and kidneys

  • Cardiovascular disease and hypertension

  • Mood swings and behavioral disorders

  • Trouble sleeping and in some cases insomnia

  • Tooth decay and cavities

  • Cramping and weakness in the muscles

  • Osteoporosis

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Heightened PMS symptoms

  • Impotence

  • Migraines

Our body naturally loses magnesium through hormone production, muscle movement and even by expending the energy it takes to keep your heart beating. The inability to absorb magnesium through the digestive tract due to the overuse of certain medications and soil depletion lowering magnesium levels in crops also play a part in how and why we become magnesium deficient.

Eat higher magnesium foods and take magnesium tablets to keep yourself healthy!

1. Magnesium Calms Anxiety and Nerves

Anxiety is a disorder that affects over 18 percent of all adults in America. Those suffering from anxiety may experiences social anxiety, generalized anxiety or a panic disorder. Anxiety can have debilitating symptoms that often interfere with the ability to complete everyday tasks.

Often feelings of anxiety or panic attacks can come out of nowhere and the physical symptoms can be hard to control or hide.

A few symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders include but are not limited to;

  • Feeling extremely worried sometimes seemingly without a good reason

  • Becoming easily fatigued

  • Feeling irritable

  • Experiencing panic attacks (chest pains, not breathing properly, heart palpitations)

  • Feeling constantly scared of making a mistake in public or worrying about how you are perceived by others

  • Disrupted sleep patterns

  • Feeling sick, nauseous or experiencing stomach problems

  • Waves of what feels like disassociation from reality

  • Feeling anxious about when you will have another panic attack

While it is not always possible to pinpoint why people suffer from anxiety, it can be triggered by side effects from medication, hormonal changes in the body, financial stress, stress over health conditions, mental illness a mineral deficiency or social pressures (1).

Magnesium calms the nervous systems and muscles. When you have an intense period of anxiety your body uses more magnesium than usual, further depleting the body's levels.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. When it is in low supply it heightens feelings of stress and your brain becomes unable to relax. Magnesium stimulates production of the acid.

Metals such as lead, aluminium and mercury can sometimes collect in the brain and trigger neurological disorders including anxiety. Magnesium works to remove these metals from our bodies.

Magnesium boosts brain plasticity which is the ability your brain has to self heal by making fresh neural connections and creating more brain cells. Brain plasticity is important for those suffering from anxiety (2).

Magnesium reduces the amount of stress hormones (such as cortisol which has shown to contribute to memory loss, anxiety and various other mental disorders) released in the body and also blocks a lot of them from gaining entrance to the brain.

Studies have found that participants suffering from various anxiety induced disorders saw a marked positive change in their symptoms (not being able to sleep, addictions, feelings of great stress, feelings of depression, memory problems etc) sometimes only hours after ingesting magnesium supplements (3).

2. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Insomnia

Insomnia is when a person struggles to fall asleep or to remain asleep, even in favourable conditions. Whilst most common in mature females, insomnia can affect anyone. Under 50 percent of America’s adult population have experienced insomnia and about 15 percent report struggling with insomnia daily.

Insomnia can be caused by pregnancy, a hormone imbalance, psychological or medical conditions and more. Insomnia can cause anxiety, poor concentration (increasing the likelihood of being in an accident or injuring yourself), depression, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue.

It is the gamma-aminobutyric acid production boosting abilities of magnesium which eases anxiety that treats insomnia. When gamma-aminobutyric acid levels in the brain are very low, the brain is unable to “switch off” as levels of glutamate (glutamic acid neurotransmitters) rise and keep your brain focused and alert. Magnesium increases gamma-aminobutyric acid and therefor your brain is able to relax and “switch off” when it is time to sleep (4).

An 8 week study carried out on 46 elderly patients found that participants given 500 mg of magnesium daily showed improved sleep time and efficiency, as well as early morning waking and sleep onset latency compared to the participants who did not receive the magnesium (5).

3. Magnesium Is Important During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant your need for magnesium increases. Magnesium works to repair and build tissues during pregnancy, as well as balancing the sugar levels in your blood (6). Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels during pregnancy is vitally important.

Many women suffer from gestational diabetes which occurs when the body becomes unable to keep producing the increased amounts of insulin needed. Diabetes during pregnancy could result in birth defects, larger babies and the risk of the baby developing diabetes.

Magnesium is an important part of the process of forming protein, fatty acids and bone. It also relaxes muscles and prevents them from cramping which can counteract premature contractions as it has this relaxing effect on the womb muscles (7).

A magnesium deficiency could possibly be the reason that many women struggle to conceive in the first place. When you are magnesium deficient your fallopian tubes tend to spasm at times which can make becoming pregnant very difficult (8).

Low levels of magnesium during pregnancy is also responsible for possible preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), metabolic disorders, growth restriction and sudden infant death syndrome (due to the body not being able to properly regulate temperature in babies).

4. Magnesium Can Prevent Migraines

Migraines is a disorder where you experience pulsating headaches that can moderately to severely painful. These headaches can least from over and hour to 72 hours. During these migraine episodes, many people also experience acute sound, smell and light sensitivity as well as nausea and sometimes vomiting.

Research shows that people who often experience migraines have lower levels of magnesium in their systems (9). A study carried out on a group of migraine sufferers also found that after being treated with magnesium, the incidents of migraines was lowered by over 40 percent.

5. Magnesium Increases Energy Levels

Low energy levels can be caused by a multitude of reasons. From too little iron, to too much iron, dehydration or sleep deprivation, a poor diet and being stressed, and of course a magnesium deficiency. Low energy levels result in feeling fatigued and can have a negative impact on your work, studying and physical well being.

Magnesium plays an integral part in energy metabolism (the process of using nutrients to create energy). If you have poor magnesium levels in your muscles you will expend more energy doing a minor task than someone who has normal magnesium levels (10). Animal studies have stated that magnesium supplements have a positive effect on physical performance and blood energy metabolism.

A study carried out on magnesium deficient women showed that they required higher amounts of oxygen to complete physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored (11).

6. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Muscle Spasms And Aches

Muscles cramps usually strike in the legs. Cramps can cause sharp pains in the muscles and sometimes a lump becomes visible in the leg. Muscle spasms or aches are commonly experienced after standing for long periods of time, strenuous exercise or sometimes even while resting (12).

Magnesium is involved in the process of muscles relaxing and contracting. Muscles spasms, aches and weakness are all side effects of being magnesium deficient. A magnesium deficiency can also cause the body to lag in its production of certain proteins and enzymes that affects the health and function of our muscles.

A study involving pregnant women suffering from leg cramps found that magnesium alleviated the pain and symptoms in the pregnant women given the magnesium supplements (13).

7. Magnesium Is Good For Digestion

Without magnesium in our bodies we would not be able to properly digest the food we eat every day. Magnesium stimulates the enzymes that help our bodies absorb carbohydrates, proteins and fats and then to use them effectively (14). Stimulating these enzymes gives our bodies the ability to break down and to digest our food into smaller pieces to be used for energy.

Magnesium also aids in digestion as the digestive tract is made of muscle. Without enough magnesium in our systems, our body struggles to properly contract and relax the digestive tract. Higher magnesium levels also increases the amount of water in our intestines which in turn initiates peristalsis (muscle contractions which move along the intestine) (15).

Magnesium also produces and transports energy during the process of digestion.

8. Magnesium Regulates Levels Of Calcium

Magnesium is partly responsible for regulating calcium (making sure it ends up in the bones where it is needed) in the body as it stimulates the action of three specific hormones that control calcium levels within the body and determine where the calcium is sent to (16).

Magnesium can dissolves excess calcium that has built up in the brain, kidneys, blood and tissues. Kidney stones, which are sometimes caused by calcium buildup, can be treated with magnesium. Magnesium and calcium also work together in many instances such as in the nerves where calcium produces electric transmissions and is then safely ejected from the nerves by magnesium (17).

9. Magnesium Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Our hearts, especially the left ventricle of the heart, require more magnesium than any other organ. Without magnesium our hearts would not be able to properly function (18). Magnesium is so beneficial for our hearts because it thins the blood preventing clots, relaxes blood vessels allowing for better circulation and prevents calcium from building up in the heart.

Magnesium behaves as an electrolyte, an action which is pivotal for electrical activity to function properly within the body and for the heart to beat and pump blood normally.

Magnesium alleviates stress experienced by cells within the heart and cells lacking magnesium are at a higher risk of becoming damaged (19).

A study conducted by Harvard University found that magnesium supplements could decrease the risk of developing heart disease by up to 30 percent (20).

10. Magnesium Aids Bladder Control

Many people suffer from an overactive bladder (being unable to control sudden urges to urinate and urine loss) or interstitial cystitis (a chronic condition that causes bladder pain, pressure and sometimes pelvic pressure).

Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle function (contraction and relaxation) and being deficient can result in spasms of the bladder muscles, causing loss of urine (21). Magnesium also relieves the pain that accompanies bladder spasms.

A study carried out on 40 women suffering from bladder conditions found that participants given magnesium supplements had a marked drop in the amount of times they needed to urinate during the night (21).

11. Magnesium Can Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in where your bones become weak and brittle due to a massive loss of calcium. Bones weakened by osteoporosis are likely to fracture and or break very easily.

Studies carried out on various species have shown that all magnesium deficient animals have brittle bones (22).

Osteoclasts (cells that break bone down) and osteoblasts (cells that form bone) are both influenced by magnesium. Magnesium also affects active vitamin D and the parathyroid hormone which are both responsible for the regulation of bone homeostasis (the process of removing old bone and building new healthy bone) (23).

Magnesium plays a vital role in calcium regulation which results in higher bone density and osteoporosis prevention (24).

12. Magnesium Is Good For Diabetics

When you have diabetes or an elevated level of glucose in your blood, you are at risk of losing extra magnesium through your urine, becoming even more magnesium deficient (25). This is particularly dangerous for diabetic patients as evidence shows that a magnesium deficiency is a primary factor in the development of diabetes.

Magnesium works to prevent insulin dysregulation and and to improve insulin resistance (26). Magnesium can also prolong the period between prediabetes and the actual onset of diabetes.

Studies have shown that by taking magnesium or eating a high magnesium diet patients were able to lower their metabolic condition (diabetes is a metabolic condition) risk by over 70 percent (27).

13. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Asthma

Asthma is a condition in where the airways swell, produce excess mucus and constrict, triggering sometimes uncontrollable coughing and limiting your ability to breathe properly. Currently 1 in 9 American adults are suffering from asthma. A few symptoms of asthma include;

  • Tightness in the chest

  • Wheezing

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Chest pain

Magnesium acts as an anti inflammatory and reduces intracellular calcium in the body which soothes muscles cells (28). Magnesium is also used during emergency treatment for people who are suffering from an acute asthma attack (29).

A study concluded that lower levels of magnesium resulted in bronchial hyperreactivity, wheezing and impaired functioning of the lungs (30).

14. Magnesium Alleviates Symptoms Caused By PMS

Symptoms of PMS can be uncomfortable and painful. PMS symptoms are primarily caused by hormonal changes women experience during their menstrual cycle. Symptoms may include;

  • Acne

  • Backache and or headache

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Tender or swollen breasts

  • Pains in the joints or muscles

  • Food cravings

Low levels of magnesium in the body is thought to result in worsened PMS symptoms. Patients suffering from severe PMS symptoms have been shown to be consistently magnesium deficient (31).

Magnesium works as a diuretic so it eases the pressure that fluid retention can cause. Magnesium also works as a muscle relaxant which provides relief for women suffering from cramps by relaxing the uterine muscles. Magnesium also cuts out sugar cravings, reduces breast tenderness, constipation, irritability and bloating (32).

15. Magnesium Aids Collagen Production

Collagen is a structural protein found in your nails, bones, tendons and skin. Collagen is often used in its purified form as a cosmetic treatment to get rid of wrinkles on the face. Collagen is also present in the eyes and intervertebral discs. Higher levels of collagen in the body keeps these areas within our bodies stronger.

Magnesium produces the proteins that over time will transform into collagen (33).

15 Best Magnesium Foods

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an antioxidant and contains avenanthramides (found almost exclusively in oats) which increase the amount of nitric acid produced by the body. Nitric acid works to dilate blood vessels which results in better flow of blood and lowers blood pressure.

Oatmeal is high in vitamins and minerals as well as being higher in protein than most grains.

Oatmeal is very high in the soluble fibre beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is responsible for making you feel fuller for longer (good for those trying to lose weight), lowering insulin response and blood sugar levels, boosting healthy bacteria growth within our digestive tracts and lowering cholesterol levels in the body, particularly harmful LDL cholesterol.

Studies have shown that introducing solid foods, oats in particular, can decrease a child’s risk of developing asthma.

2. Spinach

Spinach is an excellent source of lutein, xanthene and beta carotene which all play an important part in eye health. Dry eye syndrome, eye ulcers and poor eyesight are all directly linked to low levels of these carotenoids. Low levels also contribute to the onset of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Spinach keeps your muscles healthy. The antioxidant C0-Q10 found in spinach is particularly good for strengthening the muscles in the heart and is also effective at preventing and or treating cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, coronary heart disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension.

Glycoglycerolipids in spinach strengthens the lining protecting our digestives tracts. This ability spinach has to protect the health of our digestive tracts mucous membranes results in a lowered occurrence of painful stomach ulcers.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the arteries in our bodies begin to narrow and harden. Atherosclerosis is very dangerous and can result in heart attacks, strokes and even death. The pigments and proteins contained in spinach are directly linked to a lowering of the risk of developing this condition.

Spinach is rich in folate which is imperative to healthy foetal development during pregnancy. Several birth defects including spina bifida and cleft palate are due to a folate deficiency during pregnancy. Low folate levels can also negatively impact the baby's nervous system, brain and spinal cord. The vitamin A found in spinach also helps healthy lung development in the foetus.

3. Bananas

Bananas are a good source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that plays an important role in brain health and protecting against the risk of strokes. Potassium ensures higher bones mineral density which keeps your bones stronger for longer period of time. Potassium also helps your body to maintain a healthy of fluids which is important for effective organ function.

Bananas are free of cholesterol and fat whilst containing fibre making it a healthy choice for those trying to lose weight.

Bananas contain manganese which acts as an antioxidant and assists a range of metabolic activities within the body.

4. Avocados

Avocados can improve bad breath. Avocados contain insoluble and soluble fibres which are good for your digestive health. Insoluble and soluble fibres helps to keep your digestive tract operating smoothly by stimulating the production of digestive and gastric juices as well as adding bulk to stool. Healthy digestion eliminates halitosis (bad breath).

Avocados can reduce liver damage. The organic compounds in avocados work to protect and tone your liver.

The vitamin B6 in avocados can provide relief to women suffering from morning sickness as a symptom of pregnancy. Over 50 percent of all pregnant women will suffer from morning sickness which is characterized by feeling of nausea, fatigue and vomiting. Vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce feelings of nausea.

Arthritis is a chronic condition which affects millions globally. Inflammation in the joints causes pain and discomfort as well as trouble moving the joints. Avocados are a natural anti inflammatory which have been proven to reduce symptoms of arthritis.

Carotenoids present in avocados can reduce inflammation caused by UV rays and avocado oil can be used as a natural treatment of sunburn. Avocados also keep skin cells moisturized which reduces dry skin and conditions like psoriasis.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa is known as a “super food”. Quinoa is a seed/grain that is very high in protein and yields all essential amino acids (organic compounds important for tissue and muscle growth).

Quinoa contains the plant compounds kaempferol and quercetin which have been shown to have anti-depressant, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Quinoa boasts an impressive amount of fibre (almost double that of any other grain) which can relieve constipation and diarrhea.

6. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds contain natural oils which can lower high blood pressure in the body which in turn reduces the amount of stress put on your heart.

Sesamol, another organic compound found in sesame seeds, protects your DNA from damage caused by radiation. This important for cancer patients and your DNA and cells are protected from mutation caused by radiation which could make you more susceptible to other cancers.

Sesame seeds contain high levels of protein which is important for various metabolic functions, healthy growth of cells, energy levels and building muscle strength.

Swirling sesame seed oil around in your mouth can reduce levels of streptococcus bacteria in the mouth which causes cavities.

Sesame seeds contain calcium, phosphorous and zinc, the building blocks of creating healthy bone matter and repairing old and damaged bone.

7. Almonds

Almonds are fibre, protein and nutrient dense.

Almonds contain high levels of the fat soluble vitamin E. Vitamin E plays an important role in the protection of cell membranes which protects cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E can also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Almonds are high in fibre and low in carbohydrates which means that they are a healthy choice for those that suffer from diabetes as it keeps blood sugar levels controlled.

Almonds can protect your brain from cognitive decline. Almonds contain L-carnitine and riboflavin, both of which positively affect neurological activity. Almonds also act as an anti inflammatory, decreases levels of inflammation in the brain which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Almonds contain monosaturated fatty acids which can prevent the onset of heart disease.

Almond skins are high in polyphenol antioxidants which have shown the ability to stop oxidation of cholesterol.

8. Tofu

Tofu, a white soybean by product, is a great source of micronutrient, amino acids, calcium and iron.

During menopause women require extra calcium and if they do not get it could suffer from bone less and arthritis. Tofu not only provides calcium but also eases hot flashes many women experience due to lack of the hormone oestrogen.

Consuming tofu can prevent anemia, a condition where haemoglobin or red blood cells become deficient in the blood making the afflicted fatigued and weak.

Tofu can be used as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians as it is incredibly high in protein. The protein tofu provides is also very good for your hair as hair is made up primarily of keratin which is also a protein. Tofu keeps your hair healthy while stimulating extra hair growth.

9. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds, or linseeds, reduce sugar cravings. Sugar has recently been shown to be largely responsible for weight gain and diseases such as diabetes. The fiber found in flaxseeds helps to stave off sugar cravings as well as leading you to feel fuller for a longer period of time which also reduces unnecessary snacking. The soluble fiber in flaxseeds also improves digestion.

Flaxseeds contain potassium which is especially important for healthy heart function. Potassium is needed for your muscles to move which is vital in maintaining a healthy, regular heartbeat and pumping blood around the body. Potassium works to control the heart’s electric balance. Potassium also enables your nerves to function and soothes muscles contractions.

Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and lignans (chemical compounds we get from plants) which increase immune cell functionality and keeps our immune systems strong.

Flaxseeds have been shown to lower the risk of developing ovarian tumors. Flaxseeds also reduce unhealthy changes in menstrual cycles and can provide reliefs from symptoms of menopause.

The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that leads to swollen, itchy, irritated eyes.

Linolenic acids and omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds (also made into flaxseed oil) have numerous beauty benefits including strengthening hair and nails and reducing dandruff. Flaxseed oil can also prevent baldness from occurring as it the hair follicle shrinking effects of various enzymes.

10. Sweet Corn

Sweet corn in very high in folate. Folate removes homocysteine (non-protein amino acid) from our heart and bodies. Homocysteine has been shown to cause strokes, weakening of bones and heart attacks. Folate enhances cell formation, replacing old and damaged cells with fresh ones, particularly those in the lining of the stomach and skin cells.

Folate also plays a role in muscle formation as well as maintaining healthy muscle tissues. Folate is known to limit birth defects and is recommended during pregnancy.

The folate, beta carotene and zeaxanthin (an antioxidant) found in sweet corn preserve the health of the eyes and can protect against the onset of macular degeneration.

Sweet corn contains beta cryptoxanthin, an increased intake of beta cryptoxanthin has been linked to a decrease in the likelihood of lung cancer development.

The vitamin B1 or thiamine present in sweet corn is a nutrient that boosts the brain cell function. The body needs thiamine to manufacture acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). Acetylcholine is essential for our brains to be able to keep and recall memories. Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to acetylcholine deficiencies.

11. Brown Rice

A single cup of brown rice yields 80 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese. Manganese assists the body in synthesizing fats as well as keeping reproductive and nervous systems healthy.

Brown rice is a healthy choice for hypoglycemics and those suffering from diabetes. Brown rice works to stabilize levels of sugar in the blood and has a very low glycemic index. Brown rice is also a whole grain which can lessen arterial plaque buildup, reduces the chances of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Brown rice contains naturally occurring oils. These oils keep cholesterol levels normal.

Brown rice is good for a lactating woman’s mental health. A study has produced positive results in reducing mood disturbances, and fatigue and depression experienced by lactating mothers consuming brown rice. Evidence also suggests that consuming brown rice during the lactation period may enhance the body’s capacity to improve immune defense and resist stress.

The fiber and antioxidant content of brown rice makes it a helpful tool in cancer prevention specifically cancer of the colon and breast and leukemia. The fiber from the brown rice binds itself with the cancerous toxins making it impossible for these toxins to attach themselves to the colon wall and essentially expelling them from our bodies.

Studies have found that brown rice contain phenols that inhibit proliferation of breast and colon cancer cells.

12. Mackerel

Mackerel contains minimal saturated fat and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids regulates the clotting of blood, helps the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and keeps the speed at which your heart beats normal and healthy.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also be used to treat various skin conditions, can be taken as a fertility booster, can ease pain brought on by menstruation, can reduce the fat in your liver, lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse insulin resistance.

Men participating in a study testing mackerel’s effect on blood pressure showed a marked decrease in hypertension after eating mackerel daily for eight months. Two months after the study the men were again tested and it was noted that many were again suffering from high blood pressure after mackeel had been eliminated from their diets.

Eating mackerel can provide relief to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic (constantly returning or persisting) inflammatory disorder in the joints that may cause long lasting joint deformity and damage. Symptoms include stiff and tender joints, not being able to move the joints, swelling and fatigue. The anti inflammatory compounds found in mackerel lower the joint stiffness and pain and work in conjunction with medication.

Mackerel in rich in vitamin D which makes it a good choice for those suffering from bowel cancer as studies have noted that patients with higher levels of vitamin D are more likely to survive and recover from the disease.

13. Kidney Beans

Kidney beans aid in sulphite detoxification. Some people suffer from sulphite allergies and the mobileum in kidney beans provides relief from painful headaches that are a symptom of the disorder.

The iron found in kidney beans give the energy production in your body a boost as well as helping your body metabolise energy.

Kidney beans contain copper. Copper is a mineral usually found in ceruloplasmin, a blood plasma protein. A copper deficiency is usually accompanied by the following symptoms;

  • A drop in body temperature

  • Anemia

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Birth defects

  • Dilated veins

Copper is essential to proper growth. It also protects the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the skeleton. Low levels of copper result in stunted growth of tissue and organs. Copper also protects the myelin sheath that covers nerves. It also aids elastin production which makes up connective tissue.

Other health benefits of copper include stimulation of the brain, aiding iron absorption in the body, aiding enzymatic reactions and speeding up the healing of wounds.

14. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is usually thought of as a decadent treat but it is actually brimming with nutrients. Dark chocolate contains zinc, iron, fiber, copper, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and selenium.

Dark chocolate can give you a spurt of extra brain power. Dark chocolate contains flavanols which work to dilate blood vessels. When blood vessels become dilated a larger amount of oxygen and blood flow to the brain’s key areas, stimulating them and making you more alert for a period of usually two or three hours.

Cocoa flavanols present in dark chocolate can also increase visual performance due to more blood reaching the brain and retina in the eyes. A study found that people who had consumed dark chocolate could more successfully identify low contrast letters and detect motion. Flavanols also increase blood flow directed to the skin as well as skin hydration and density. Bioactive compounds within dark chocolate work to protect our skin from damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure as well as increasing blood flow. Research showed a 20 percent drop in hypertension in patients who consumed dark chocolate daily for 18 weeks.

Research has shown that dark chocolate is a more powerful antioxidant than acai and blueberries. Dark chocolate is full of organic compounds like flavanols, polyphenols and catechins which all work as antioxidants.

15. Yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium and essential minerals present in milk, making it good for maintaining bone density and strength. The calcium content of yogurt can protect against osteoporosis, a disease wherein your bones become brittle and weak and tend to break and or fracture very easily.

Consuming yogurt keeps your vagina healthy and clear of candida (a fungal infection). Yogurt can lower the vaginal tracts pH balance which prevents candida from occurring.

A study showed that consuming yogurt lowered the instances of halitosis in participants by 80 percent as well as lowering gingivitis and levels of plaque.

Yogurt can be applied topically to rashes and acne. Yogurt works to close pores on the skin and can reduce dark circles under the eyes.

Yogurt is a dairy product and consuming dairy products have been shown to have some impact on extending the lifespans of those suffering from colon cancer.