Researchers have only recently been catching on that one of the linchpins of our health is magnesium. When there's not enough of it, symtoms from tiredness, headaches and nervousness to increased heart and diabetes risks arise. And, no surprise here, most people in the West don't get enough of it.
And that "in the west" part should be a hint. Too many processed foods to start with. Maybe too much calcium , and usually not enough seafood.
By switching from processed foods to fresh you'll be getting a good start. I think everybody here knows that. More seafood, of course, but there's one thing we are missing. In the west we usually think of seafood as, well, fish. In Japan, a whole range of seaweeds are eaten. These are rich in magnesium, iron, iodine and other important minerals - and concentrated forms are used as natural medicine for a wide variety of ailments. It's not that hard to add seaweeds such as nori and wakame to your diet, and it is incredibly healthy.
Regarding calcium, it has a kind of love/hate relationship with magnesium. They need each other, but excess calcium appears to push magnesium out of the cells in your body. Many sources say that the ideal mix of magnesium and calcium is 2 parts calcium to one part magnesium. This seems to be widely accepted, but to some degree it comes out of thin air. The Japanese diet is closer to equal parts magnesium and calcium, in fact. Recently, though, Japanese have been sold on calcium supplements in a big way, so we will soon see how that turns out.
If all this is too exotic, let's go with good old spinach. Kids won't eat it, you say? Well, my kids scarf it down. Yours will too if you follow my lead.
First, don't tell them it's spinach. Then take out blender or food processor (what an unfortunate name), toos in some spinach with a bit of fresh basil to give it flavor. Add olive oil, parmesan cheese, and some garlic and anchovies. Again, don't tell your kids there are anchovies involved. Mix it into a nice pesto and toss it with fresh cooked whole wheat pasta. The kids will eat it all. And with the magnesium loaded spinach backed up by the magnesium rich whole wheat pasta and anchovies, your kids will have all their magnesium bases covered. And, more important, they will ask for that spinach dish again.