While researchers have long suspected that the traditional plant foods consumed by Native American tribes in the Northern Plains were super nutritious, no one had ever really studied it.
That’s what inspired a paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis by a group of researchers at Virginia Tech and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They analyzed the nutrients in 10 traditional wild food plants from three Native American reservations in North Dakota.
The superstar of the study was lamb’s-quarters, a wild green that’s been consumed by hunter-gatherers from northern California all the way to Africa for food as well as medicine. The study found that one serving of steamed lamb’s-quarters contained more than 60 percent of the thiamin, 40 percent of the vitamin B6, 60 percent of the calcium and 70 percent of the magnesium of the daily recommended intake.
Expert Commentary by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND
“Magnesium plays a pivotal role in the secretion and function of insulin; without it, diabetes is inevitable. Measurable magnesium deficiency is common in diabetes and in many of its complications, including heart disease, eye damage, high blood pressure, and obesity. When the treatment of diabetes includes magnesium, these problems are prevented or minimized.”
“Magnesium helps the body digest, absorb, and utilize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.”
“Magnesium is necessary for insulin to open cell membranes for glucose.”
“Magnesium helps prevent obesity genes from expressing themselves.”