By Josee Foster
"Take an epsom salt bath," said grandma.
Her words when you were sick ring in your ears. The words were not her own. They were also your coaches' when you were sore. Maybe they were your mom's when you were nauseous.
Whatever the case may be, if your body or mind are the slightest bit out of whack right now, this relaxing ritual should be on your agenda for later today. Be prepared to never be the same.
Once you know the might of magnesium sulfate, you’ll be quick to plug the tub when problems come your way.
So let's talk about MAGNESIUM.
This mineral allows your human body to function in a variety of ways. But its role in bone health, muscle health, and overall vitality does not often get the limelight it deserves. These days magnesium deficient people roam the faces of developed countries.
Magnesium deficiency is a large factor in anxiety, along with:
And, perhaps one of the factors that connects to all of the above... Sleep problems!
You may feel fine and dandy. Thinking, "I'm not deficient!!" I hate to break it to you, but you still may be! Keep reading to find out why...
The hot commodity of magnesium deficiency stems from nutrient depletion in both our food and our environment.
These days, many are fuelled by products made from food derivatives, which have frighteningly low nutritional value (if any at all). Even people eating the "standard healthy diet", filled with fruits and vegetables, may not be experiencing the nourishment their body needs.
Vegetables are grown with conventional pest repelling methods, starting from a seed that's been altered in a lab to make the produce look shinier and sit on the shelf longer. All of this results in low amounts of the things our bodies want from the plant in the first place!
Study after study has highlighted the contrast in nutrient density (including magnesium) between organic and conventional foods. You can read more here.
And it doesn't stop there... the engineered food on our dinner plates are also grown in depleted soil, and showered with depleted water! With conventional farming methods, crops (and the meat from animals that feed on these crops) are lower in magnesium because of what’s used to cultivate the desired outcome. These substances compete with the substances our bodies crave. Same goes for water. For example, when fluoride in tap water becomes abundant in our bodies after years of drinking it, it can bind to magnesium making it less available for use in the places our bodies need. Annnnnd the same effect is felt by plants being doused in the water and the animals drinking it (who are ALSO eating the crops grown with it). YIKES!
How does magnesium deficiency impact mental health?
Building your magnesium stores with nutrient-rich foods, supplementation, and making "soaking in salts" your new habit, will not automatically be the key to the "never anxious again" lock.
But what might happen as a result of the anti-inflammatory effects of magnesium will definitely be part of your stairway to strength.
Increasing magnesium levels will allow your body to absorb blocked nutrients, improve your digestion and increase the quality of your sleep. All of these things will contribute positively to your ability to make decisions that are better to energize your journey to health.
So... here's what you can expect will happen when you make quality time with magnesium sulfates, a.k.a. Epsom salt baths, a part of your new year!
Your whole gastrointestinal tract is made of smooth muscle tissue. Taking an epsom salt bath soothes the creatively crafted human digestive system. Thus, epsom salts can relieve constipation and diarrhea. Whether you are going too much or are straining to go, considering magnesium will likely aid what ails you.
Another whole website could be created about why a gut makeover will impact your mental health. For a 3 minute summary, head here.
Stress hormones need fuel to communicate the message: RUN. Say, "hasta la vista" to the magnesium from the spinach you just ate because your buddy, the stress response system, just ate it. This is happening constantly, as we encounter subconscious stimuli that chew up our mineral stores every single day. Alarm clock... Beep beep beep... Sirens... "You're up next to present..." and whatever else. It's especially important for students to have lots of magnesium, so there's some left for us after our intellect chews up most of it.
Forget the 7 day juice fast, and jump into the tub. The sulfate part of your bath (sulfur and oxygen) will pull the salt from in your body and drag the excess toxins from daily heavy metal exposure out with it. This happens through reverse osmosis. And if you didn’t quite get grade 10 science, just trust me on this one.
Magnesium (and sulfates for that matter) give fuel for insulin production. If you're looking to regulate your blood sugar, a.k.a...manage your energy levels, you know where to turn.
These ample benefits make epsom salt baths an efficient habit to adopt if you want to feel better than you do.
And it's price doesn't compare to it's power. That's why it's an easy habit to add to your toolkit. (Tip: Did you know you can buy epsom salts in bulk for super cheap? Check your local bulk barn for a kick start to your new thing.)
You can even amp up your game by adding a couple drops of essential oils to the salts before tossin' em in... Listening to music and practicing "bath breathing"... or committing to bathing in these bad boys multiple times a week to really feel a difference.
Be sure to set realistic goals to eliminate the frustration of over-ambition.
For those wellness warriors who are always adopting new healthy habits, here are 5 healthful habits to practice everyday, that will take you to new levels of magnesium miracles...
Choose organic food. Not only will these foods have a more rich flavour, and a higher level of magnesium, but reducing the amount of toxins you put in your body will always make good changes. And if that’s not enough, it will help your digestion, and ultimately help magnesium absorption. Some of my favourite magnesium rich (organic of course) foods?
Chocolate. Raw cacao, and it’s processed version (go for dutch processed) cocoa are rich sources of magnesium. And tasty too! Add some of their powder forms in a smoothie, or grab a good quality bar that is rich in nutrients and sustainable for the planet and those producing it. Some of my favorite brands: Zazubean, Chocosol, Organic Fair, and more... Squash and sweet potatoes are great too. Try exploring the options with purple sweet potatoes and white sweet potatoes too. Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, collards, etc.), sunflower seed butter, sustainably caught fish, and avocados are among my faves. Try it!
Considering supplementation may be a wise move for some. If you want to give it a shot, here's a great product that will give you a taste for what magnesium feels like. This ionic powdered form of magnesium citrate needs to be activated in hot water, and comes in different flavours to be enjoyed as a tea or cooled and added to a water bottle to sip on throughout your day. Learn more here.
Ery' body... Move your body.;. Seriously. There is a fine relationship between this continuous battle of balance between calcium and magnesium. Both minerals are integral to bone health. And so is regular, weight bearing exercise. When tendons (the congregation of muscle and bone) pull on the skeleton, it stimulates bone development and bone remodelling is the basis for a lifetime of bone health.
Pursue your feelings, until they become thoughts. Figure out why you’re feeling bitter, worried, down on yourself... Lots of times, when you reeeeeaaallly dig deep, you're probably hurt. By someone. Not intentionally, but maybe they didn't meet your super subconscious expectation. In your own time, without them even knowing, you can choose to forgive. This simple step, if taken daily as much as it needs to be, will dramatically decrease your body's response to stress, clear your mind, and all in all, leave more space for magnesium to do its thing.
And in case it’s not already running as you read, get off your tooshy and get some Epsom salts!
Some extended resources for all you natural nerds:
Magnesium and mental health
Josee Foster, once an Uxbridge Tiger, is now at Ryerson University in the School of Journalism. Josee has an unbridled zest for life that is enhanced by her passion for healthy living. This is her first article for Cam's Kids. For more information please visit: