Are you getting your magnesium? – Free Online Library Essay


Magnesium is a mineral so essential that without it there could be
no human life–or any kind of life, animal or vegetable, on earth.

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Without the right amount of magnesium in combination with calcium,
your muscles can’t function properly–contract and relax naturally.
If you are one of the thousands of people on a diet or diuretics, you
are more likely to become magnesium-depleted. “Pins and
needles’ is often a warning signal of magnesium deficiency.

With the right amount of magnesium, your muscular system responds
as it should, and other good things happen to your body as well.
Magnesium protects you against some forms of painful kidney stones. It
helps your body to manufacture the proteins that cells need to function
properly and activates many of the enzymes without which the cells
can’t function.

Magnesium is responsible in large measure for the health of your
nervous system. Deprived of magnesium, you’re prone to mental
disorders ranging from restlessness to depression to hallucinations.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be obtaining enough
magnesium, because it’s plentiful in many everyday supermarket
foods: eggplant, for example, tofu, salmon, bananas, shrimp, rice,
spinach, yams, sardines, corn and mozzarella cheese. Bland foods, I
grant you, but no food is bland food when you know how to prepare it.

Here I’ve combined these high-magnesium foods with compatible
ingredients, healthful in their own right, to produce mouth-watering
dishes. To boost the magnesium content of each dish, I’ve used
more than one high-magnesium ingredient. Sardines and bean sprouts
marry happily in a crunchy salad. Tofu, eggplant and mozzarella, plus a
supporting cast of mushrooms and tomatoes (good sources of magnesium,
too), star in a complete-meal dish your whole family will enjoy. And
you must try something different: shrimp and bananas–my family went
wild over it. So will yours.

Twenty Other High-Magnesium Foods


Barley, Whole grain

Beet greens

Brazil nuts

Cashew nuts



Oats, whole grain




Rice, brown

Rye flour

Sesame seeds


Soybean flour, defatted


Wheat bran

Wheat germ

Yeast, brewer’s

Eggplant-Tofu Casserole (Makes 4-5 servings)

1 pound eggplant, cut into 3/8-inch slices

2 tablespoons each corn oil and Italian olive oil, combined

2 tofu cakes (about 3/4 pound)

1 cup onion, chopped, or mixture of shallot and onion

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 sweet green pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon each crushed, dried marjoram and thyme leaves, and
ground ginger

1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine

1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice

1/4 cup parsley, minced

3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella, grated

Arrange eggplant slices on cookie tin. Brush on each side with 2
tablespoons oil. Broil under high heat until lightly browned on each
side. Remove from oven and set aside. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch slices.
Lay on double sheets of paper toweling. Blot with another sheet of
toweling. Let drain. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat
in nonstick skillet. Saute onion, garlic, pepper and mushrooms until
softened (do not brown). Sprinkle with marjoram, thyme and ginger.
Saute for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for 1 minute. Then mix in
tomatoes, apple juice and parsley. Bring to simmering point. Simmer,
uncovered, for 3-5 minutes or until mixture is thick and most of liquid
is reduced. Preheat oven to 375| F. Assemble casserole in alternate
layers of eggplant, tofu, tomato mixture and cheese. Bake, uncovered,
40-45 minutes until lightly browned.

Broiled Salmon Steaks with Mint (Makes 4 servings)

For the sauce:

1/2 cup mint leaves, minced

3 tbs, apple-cider vinegar

1/3 c. unsweetened apple juice

1 tablespoon honey

For the fish:

1 1/2 pounds salmon steaks, cut into 4 serving pieces

4 teaspoons corn oil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tbs. shallots, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon each celery, minced, and sweet green or red pepper

Prepare sauce the day before or 2 hours before serving. Combine
all ingredients in saucepan. Heat until barely simmering. Pour into
jar and let cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or let stand,
covered, for two hours until ready to use. Coat fish on both sides with
equal amounts of oil and cayenne pepper. Arrange on rack in broiling pan. Sprinkle each side with shallots, garlic, celery and green or red
pepper. Broil 4 inches from heat for 7 minutes. Spoon each serving
with 2 teaspoons mint sauce. Return to broiler for 1 minute. Turn.
Sprinkle with balance of garlic and vegetables. Broil for 7 minutes.
Spoon each serving with 2 teaspoons mint sauce. Return to broiler for 1
minute or until done. (Fish should flake easily when tested with fork;
do not overcook).

Yam Salad with Almonds (Makes 4 servings)

1/2 teaspoon crumbled, dried tarragon leaves

1/8 tsp. each ground ginger, marjoram and nutmeg, freshly grated

2 tablespoons chopped almonds, blanched (see note)

1 pound yams, peeled, cut into 3/8-inch slices

1 tbs. tarragon or apple-cider vinegar

2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice

1 tablespoon sweet butter/margarine blend

1/4 cup shallots, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons minced parsley or dill, or a combination of both

3 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt

Salt to taste, if desired

In cup, combine herbs and spices with chopped nuts. Blend well.
Set aside. Drop yems into saucepan of rapidly boiling water. Boil for
7 minutes. Drain. Carefully transfer to bowl. Combine vinegar with
apple juice and sprinkle over yams. Place in freezer for 5 minutes to
quick-cool. Melt butter margarine blend in nonstick skillet. Saute
shallots for 2 minutes without browning. Spoon over yams. Gently stir
in nut-spice mix, then fold in parsley and yogurt. Serve at room
temperature or chilled.

Note: Blanch almonds yourself– it’s easy. Just drop almonds
into rapidly boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain. Quickly peel (skin
will slide off in one piece). Pat nuts dry on paper towels. Then chop
in food blender or by hand.

Shrimp with Banana (Makes 3 servings)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and coriander

3 dashes cayenne pepper

6 teaspoons peanut oil

1 pound unshelled shrimp (shelled and deveined), well dried

3 tablespoons each shallot, minced and sweet green pepper

1 large, almost-ripe banana, 1/2 inch, diced

3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar 1/3 cup dry vermouth

1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In bowl, combine cornstarch with spices. Add shrimp and turn to
coat. Set aside. Heat 4 1/2 teaspoons oil in well-seasoned iron
skillet. Saute shallot and green pepper until wilted but not brown
(about 2 minutes). Arrange shrimp atop sauteed ingredients. Saute for
1 1/2 minutes on each side. Push all ingredients to side of skillet.
Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to skillet. Saute banana and stir
continuously for 1 minute. Then gently combine with shrimp mixture.
Sprinkle with vinegar. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Combine vermouth with pineapple juice. Pour around side of skillet. Simmer until sauce
thickens (about 1 1/2 minutes) and spoon shrimp with sauce. Sprinkle
with lemon juice and stir. Serve at once over a bed of just-cooked

Wild Rice Risotto (Makes 4 servings)

1 1/2 teaspoons each corn oil and Italian olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 green onions, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices

1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/4 pound snow peas, stems and strings removed

1 cup cooked wild rice

1/2 teaspoon each ground ginger and caraway seeds

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon crumbled, dried tarragon leaves

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3-4 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh dill or parsley, minced

Salt to taste, if desired

Heat wok or large, well-seasoned iron skillet over high heat for 1
1/2 minutes. Pour oil around rim of work or around sides of skillet.
When oil drips down, add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add green
onions, mushrooms and snow peas. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Mix in rice.
Sprinkle with ginger, caraway, cayenne and tarragon. Stir-fry for 1
minute. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Stir in broth and use enough to
moisten rice. Add dill or parsley. Stir and serve immediately.

Note: With a wok, food is less likely to burn; the rice retains
its al dente texture; the mushrooms cook to simultaneous perfection; and
spices, herbs, juices and other vegetables blend into utter harmony. If
you’re not work-wise yet, use a skillet, adjust cooking time in
each sequence and take care that garlic doesn’t burn.

Hearty Spinach Patties (Makes 4 servings)

For the patties:

2 tablespoons shallots, minced

3 tablespoons bulgur

1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice

1 cup cooked, well-drained spinach, chopped

1/2 cup well-packed bean sprouts, dried and chopped

1/2 cup toasted regular wheat germ

1/2 cup low-sodium Swiss cheese, grated

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

4 light dashes cayenne pepper

Salt to taste, if desired

1 tablespoon sweet butter/margarine blend

For the garnish:

1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt

2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash salt-free 14 herbs-and-spices blend

Combine shallots, bulgur and apple juice in small, nonstick skillet
or saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove
from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn into bowl. Add balance of
ingredients except butter/margarine blend, one at a time, and blend
after each addition. Shape mixture into 8 3-inch patties. Heat
butter/margarine blend in large nonstick skillet until melted but not
brown. Saute patties over medium-high heat until browned on both sides.
(For delicious perfection, do not crowd patties into small skillet. If
small skillet is used, prepare patties in two batches.) Serve with
garnish on the side.

Whole-Grain Country Loaf and Cheddar Cheese Melt (Makes 2

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (110|F.)

1 container (8 oz.) low-fat plain yogurt, at room temperature

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup honey

1 large egg, at room temperature

2 tablespoons safflower oil

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup wheat germ

2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash salt-free 14 herbs-and-spices blend

2 1/2-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Egg glaze (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

Wheat germ and sesame seeds for garnish

8 oz. low-sodium cheddar cheese

Salt-free 14 herbs-and-spices blend

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Let stand 5
minutes, until foamy. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, blend
yogurt, lukewarm water, honey, egg and oil. Add yeast mixture. At low
speed, beat in the whole-wheat flour, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and
Mrs. Dash herbs-and-spices blend. Beat in enough all-purpose flour to
make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a
large, greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a damp
towel. Let rise in a warm place 1-1 1/2 hours, until volume doubles.

Punch down dough and divide in half. Cover and let rest 10
minutes. Shape into 2 1/2-inch-long oval loaves. Set bread loaves on
one large or two smaller greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise 30
to 40 minutes, until doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 375|F. Brush loaves with egg glaze and sprinkle
with wheat germ and sesame seeds. Slash tops of loaves decoratively
with a sharp knife or razor blade. Bake about 25 minutes, until loaves
sound hollow when tapped on bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To serve: Preheat oven to 350|F. Cut bread into thick slices. Cut
only 2/3 of the way through. Insert 1/4-inch-thick slices of cheese
into cuts. Sprinkle cheese with herbs-and-spices blend. Put bread on
baking sheet; bake until cheese is melted (5 minutes).

Lemon Parmesan Cauliflower (Makes 4 to 6 servings)

1 medium head cauliflower

Juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 to 3 tablespoons low-salt margarine, melted

2 to 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon paprika

In saucepan, cook cauliflower in 1 inch boiling water with juice of
1/2 lemon until tender (florets 5 to 10 minutes; whole 15 to 20
minutes); drain. To serve, sprinkle cauliflower with remaining juice of
1/2 lemon and margarine. Combine Parmesan cheese and paprika; sprinkle
over cauliflower. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with lemon
cartwheel twists and parsley if desired.

Corn and Peppers with Dill (Makes 4 servings)

1 tablespoon peanut or Italian olive oil

1 small sweet red pepper, seeded and julienned

2 tablespoons shallots, minced

1 10-ounce box frozen kernel corn, cooked, or fresh kernel corn

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground marjoram

Cayenne pepper to taste

1 teaspoon wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced

Salt to taste, if desired

Heat, oil in nonstick skillet until hot. Saut$ae red pepper and
shallots briefly until just wilted. Add corn and stir to combine.
Sprinkle with ginger, marjoram and cayenne. Stir and saute for 1
minute. Add vinegar and cook until all ingredients are heated through.
Stir in dill and serve immediately.

Herbed Lemon Patties (Makes about 1/4 cup butter)

1/4 cup low-salt margarine, softened

1 teaspoon fresh lemon peel, grated

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, squeezed

1/2 teaspoon of one of the following: basil, marjoram, mint,
oregano, parsley or tarragon leaves, crushed

Combine all ingredients. On waxed paper, shape butter mixture into
1 5 roll or rectangle; chill. Slice into patties. Serve over

Fresh Potatoes and Rutabagas (Makes 4 to 6 servings)

1 pound (2 cups) rutabaga, cut in cubes

2 medium (2 cups) potatoes, cut in cubes

2 tablespoons low-salt margarine

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1/8 teaspoon pepper

In large saucepan combine rutabagas and potatoes. Add water to
cover and boil. Cover. Reduce heat; simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until
vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt butter; add
onion and parsley and cook until onions are tender. Drain cooked
vegetables, turn into large mixing bowl; beat with electric mixer until
smooth. Stir in onions and parsley and pepper; mix well.

Photo: Whole-Grain Country Loaf and Cheddar Cheese Melt, made with
whole-wheat flour and wheat germ, contains many times more magnesium
than ordinary white bread and tastes better, too.

Photo: Fresh vegetables are a good source of magnesium, which is
lost from processed foods and not replaced by enrichment at the factory.
The minimum daily magnesium requirement is set at 300-350 mg, but some
argue it should be as high as 450.


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