Loving the BITE: Tour de France Special – Chocolate for Breakfast

And now for this week’s All-Star: cocoa powder and its magnesium content.  Believe it or not, magnesium is a mineral that’s flown under the health and wellness radar for many years, but is vitally important to health, especially for cyclists and other endurance athletes.  Magnesium:

  • Plays a big role in bone health and may reverse osteoporosis.  Along with Vitamin D, adequate amount of magnesium are important for calcium absorption while deficiencies can lead to altered calcium metabolism and weak bones.  If you’re a cyclist, and especially one who neglects weight baring exercise (hint: you shouldn’t), you should definitely pay attention to the health of your bones and the minerals you consume to keep them healthy.
  • Is crucial for energy metabolism, even playing a role in the activation of enzymes for ATP – our cells’ and body’s source of energy.
  • Lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.
  • Improves carbohydrate metabolism, insulin release, and blood glucose levels.  In fact, some studies have shown that for every 100 mg of magnesium in daily intake, there was a 15% decrease in risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
  • Improves mood, symptoms of depression, insomnia, and migraines.

So, what are other sources of magnesium?  While cocoa is a great source of magnesium @ 26 mg per just 1 Tbsp., nuts, seeds, grain brans, soybeans, and many spices also deliver a good amount (see a complete list of magnesium-rich foods here).  In fact, cashews provide ~38 mg per 1 Tbsp.  This makes our cocoa plus cashew pre-ride snack one great recipe for energy production.

How much is enough?  The RDA for magnesium is only 300 mg per day, and if you take a good multivitamin, you’re likely getting 100 mg or so from it.  For most endurance athletes, though, and especially for those with known bone density issues or magnesium deficiency, a better goal is at least 500-800 mg per day.

If you do choose to use this week’s recipe for a regular breakfast, do me and yourself a favor and pair it with some protein – this will make a wonderfully balanced meal of whole food carbs, healthy fats, and protein.  And if you’re heading out for a morning ride, try it alone for pre-ride fuel.  I’ve been using it just 5-10 minutes before a strenuous 2 hour ride (I also drink my homebrew during the ride), and it’s been working great.

This week, let’s sit back, enjoy the Tour, and relax for just a bit.  Then, let’s fuel-up with a wonderfully high-magnesium and copper Superfood Recipe, get out our own bikes, and enjoy an energy-filled ride.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page