Used for everything from boosting mood to building stronger bones, this essential mineral also is proven to help prevent heart disease by easing inflammation and improving cardiovascular function and tissue health. Deficiency has been linked to heart disease and hypertension, in addition to respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and depression. But how about its gender-specific benefits? "Women desperately need magnesium," says women's health expert Christiane Northrup, MD. "It's essential to nerve function and can help enormously with calming the anxiety and headaches that affect so many women." It also supports healthy pregnancy and can help ease PMS symptoms. Here's what to know.