One of the unwelcome side effects of intensive farming is soil depletion: many of the fruits and vegetables we consume are grown in ground that has been so overworked they are simply not as nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals as they should be. Quite simply, that fast-growing, pesticide resistant tomato you eat today is less good for you than one grown a few decades ago.
That said, food is still the best source of most nutrients the body needs; but some can be harder to replenish than others. In particular levels of magnesium in leafy green vegetables - an essential mineral which is important in a number of vital functions - have declined markedly, in some cases up to 80 per cent, but on average around 50 per cent) since pre-1950s levels.
I seem to sleep better, and the shooting muscle pains and afternoon fatigue which often plague me have eased off greatly
And so magnesium deficiency - which causes a variety of ailments, from muscle cramps to migraines and depression - is something to watch out for. Some studies estimate that up to 70 per cent of the population may be deficient to a degree.
As someone who suffers from numerous aches and pains, frequent bouts of anxiety but who is also post-menopausal and does a fair amount of exercise, I’m conscious of the need to keep my levels topped up. And so recently I’ve started taking regular magnesium baths - once or twice a week - and it’s been a revelation.
Quite why I haven’t done it before I don’t know. It’s such a simple and easy thing to do - and I have noticed a real difference, not only superficially (the salts make my skin softer) but also in terms of general wellbeing. I seem to sleep better, and the shooting muscle pains and afternoon fatigue which often plague me have eased off greatly.
I use the fairly workmanlike Westlab’s Magnesium Flakes (£8.99) , but if you’re in the market for a bit of luxury try Ilapothecary’s Magnesium and Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak £40, infused with all sorts of lovely things, from amber to juniper berry, benzoin and petitgrain.