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Chemistry Pop Quiz: Magnesium, Chlorophyll, and Dark Green Vegetables

April 11, 2016

Today is my brother's birthday, so, first and foremost, happy birthday Nicky!!!

 

Second, have you seen the pop quiz on the HBN facebook page today?  Do you know what mineral is at the center of the molecule chlorophyll?

 

Third, don't worry if you don't know the answer (but, hint: it's in the title of this post), because I only recently found out myself...about 2 minutes ago, to be totally honest.

 

Being a human, a nutrition nerd, and somewhat of an endurance runner, I've been pretty turned on to the importance of magnesium in the human body.  I understand that this important little mineral is required by more than 300 enzymes in the human body.  I'm familiar with the concept that magnesium helps our bodies generate ATP (these are super high-energy compounds that the body can break down to power other "work" or reactions in the body...like swinging your leg forward during your stride, or gripping that cup of coffee to bring it to your lips), regulate insulin sensitivity, and ensure proper functionality of our nervous system, just to name a few key things.  I also knew that green leafy vegetables can be one of the best food sources of this important mineral.

 

But, I did not know, chemically speaking, that the chlorophyll molecule has, at its center, an atom of magnesium.  Check this out!:

 

 See it there in the middle?  (Magnesium is abbreviated Mg.)

 

So, in brief, that's why dark green vegetables are rich sources of magnesium!  Because the molecule that lends the dark color to these delectable goodies - chlorophyll - contains magnesium!

 

So cool.  I'm a nutrition nerd and a nerdy lover of good hearty (simple!) science :)

 

If you want a more in depth read on magnesium and other excellent food sources of this mineral, please read Dr. Mercola's article: The Importance of Magnesium.

 

Lastly, I wanted to put up this quick post so that I could also share my favorite KALE recipe!  Check it out, try it out, and let me know what you think!