When your energy flags, you probably reach for an extra cup of coffee or another source of caffeine for that much-needed boost. However, the true reason behind the mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump may not be a lack of caffeine, but rather a lack of magnesium in your diet.
About 70 percent of American adults are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is an important mineral that is vital to hundreds of your body’s functions, including metabolic support and the process by which your cells obtain oxygen. When this process is hindered, energy production is impacted, resulting in symptoms from fatigue to irritability and anxiety.
The extra energy gained from adequate magnesium intake may be the difference not only between whether you make it the gym or not, but also how many calories you burn when you finally get there.
The body uses magnesium quickly, so it’s important to consume magnesium-rich foods throughout the day to ensure a steady intake. Magnesium can be found in cereals, lentils, green vegetables, and grains such as quinoa and brown rice, as well as various fruits such as bananas.
Quinoa, Kale and Chickpea Salad
Serves 8, one-cup servings
• 1 cup quinoa
• 2 cups water
• 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 1/3 cup and 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 1 bunch kale, leaves torn (about five stalks)
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 1 tomato, diced
• 6 basil leaves, torn or chopped
• 3/4 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. black pepper
• 1 lemon, juiced
• 1/2 lemon, zested
Toast quinoa in saucepan over medium heat until it pops and smells nutty, about 3 minutes. Add water, bring to a boil, and loosely cover until quinoa has absorbed most of the water, about 12 minutes. Turn off heat, stir and cover. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then set aside.
Over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan. Add the kale and shallots and cook until slightly wilted, about 6 minutes. Transfer the cooked kale and shallots to a large mixing bowl. Add the quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Toss until well combined.
Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest and 1/3 cup olive oil. Add 3/4 of the dressing to the salad and toss.
Nutrition information: 291 calories, 16 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 354 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber
Emily DelConte, Kali Garges, Amy King, Kelly Markiewicz and Meghan Martorana write this column and are registered dietitians at EVOLUTION — Nutrition Counseling by Dietitians in Bristol, East Greenwich, Newport and Providence. They adapt the recipes from public domain or copyright-free recipes.