Many of us are hooked on the boost that chocolate gives, but as we approach World Chocolate Day (7 July) nutritionist Emily Whitehead explains there could be another reason for our choc compulsion.
“Cravings for specific foods could be an indication of a deficiency in a micro or macro nutrient. In particular, a craving for chocolate could highlight a magnesium deficiency” says Emily.
“Magnesium is an essential mineral and is required for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. So, try eating a good quality dark chocolate bar (preferably organic and above 70 per cent cocoa) which is a rich source of magnesium, or supplement magnesium transdermally (through the skin) using a product such as BetterYou MagnesiumOil Spray (£12.20) or Magnesium Flakes (£9.95) to see if your cravings subside”.
As well as building bones, magnesium is vital for proper working of nerves and muscles. It is essential for heart health and helps control blood pressure and blood sugar. Deficiency impacts the body’s ability to function properly, causing symptoms including migraine, irritability, anxiety, extreme fatigue, insomnia, irregular heartbeat and lack of concentration.
Andrew Thomas, founder and managing director at BetterYou, said:
On average Brits eats around three bars of chocolate per week. But rather than reaching for the chocolate, people should start to consider why they are craving it. Our need for magnesium has never been so great, yet it’s also one of the most difficult vitamins to receive through diet or oral supplementation alone.”
Magnesium is a mineral that is difficult to supplement through traditional oral means. As it is a natural relaxant, too much in one go can have a laxative effect.
Transdermal magnesium is a more effective method. Watkins and Josling tested whether transdermal application of magnesium chloride could alter serum magnesium and whole body calcium/magnesium levels. After 12 weeks’ subjects saw a rise in cellular magnesium levels which represented an estimated five times quicker result than with oral supplementation.
A study by laboratory Mineral Check found that 70 per cent of a cohort of 8,000 people had a lower than expected magnesium levels.
BetterYou’s transdermal magnesium range includes MagnesiumBody Butter & Lotion, MagnesiumGel, Sprays and Bath Flakes, which are available from Holland and Barratt, betteryou.com and all good health stores.