9 Foods High in Magnesium
Medically reviewed by Melissa Nieves, LND
Magnesium is a mineral that’s essential to your health. This nutrient is involved in critical processes such as nerve function, DNA synthesis, stress response, blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, and the maintenance of bone health.
Your magnesium needs vary depending on your age, gender, and pregnancy status. Most adult males require between 400 and 420 milligrams of magnesium per day, and most adult females require between 310 and 400 milligrams per day.
However, scientists argue that while current daily magnesium recommendations are likely sufficient to prevent magnesium deficiency, they aren’t high enough to promote optimal health and protect against conditions like heart disease.
Unfortunately, most people fall short of the current magnesium intake recommendations. In fact, study findings suggest that only 40% of U.S. adults meet daily magnesium intake recommendations and that 45% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
Low magnesium intake is so common because most Americans follow diets high in ultra-processed foods and low in magnesium-rich foods, such as vegetables, grains, and beans. A diet low in magnesium can harm health in several ways and can increase your risk of developing chronic health conditions like heart disease.
Luckily, magnesium can be found in a number of foods that can fit into every dietary pattern.
Related:Before You Buy Magnesium Supplements From TikTok, Here’s What You Need to Know
Vegetables are packed with a variety of nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals like magnesium. A number of vegetables provide a good source of magnesium, but some vegetables are higher in magnesium than others.
Greens are especially rich in magnesium, with some providing over 35% of your daily needs in just one serving.
Spinach: 157 milligrams (mg) per cooked cup, or 37% of the Daily Value (DV)
Swiss chard: 150 mg per cooked cup, or 36% of the DV
Vegetables like acorn squash, artichokes, and peas also provide a concentrated source of magnesium.
Acorn squash: 88.2 mg per cooked cup, or 21% of the DV
Artichoke hearts: 71.4 mg per cooked cup, or 17% of the DV
Green peas: 62.4 mg per cooked cup, or 15% of the DV
In addition to magnesium, vegetables contain nutrients and plant compounds that are essential to health and help protect against chronic disease. Research shows that people who consume diets high in vegetables are less likely to develop chronic health conditions like cancer and heart disease.
Certain fruits, like dried figs, avocados, and bananas, provide a good source of magnesium. Fruit is also an important source of fiber plus vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, and folate.
Avocado: 58.3 mg per avocado, or 14% of the DV
Bananas: 40.5 mg per sliced cup, or 10% of the DV
Dried apricots: 41.6 mg per cup, or 10% of the DV
Avocados are one of the best fruit-based sources of magnesium. Because of their impressive nutrition profile, avocados have been linked to several health benefits, including weight loss and improvements in heart and cognitive health.
Seeds are among the healthiest foods you can eat. They provide an important source of fiber and healthy fats and are rich in minerals like zinc and magnesium.
Hemp seeds: 210 mg per 3 tablespoons, or 50% of the DV
Pumpkin seeds: 154 mg per 1 oz, or 37% of the DV
Chia seeds: 95 mg per 1 oz, or 23% of the DV
Hemp seeds are surprisingly high in magnesium. Adding just three tablespoons of these tiny seeds to your diet per day covers half of your daily magnesium needs.
Hemp seeds are also rich in protein, healthy fats, and zinc, a nutrient that’s important for immune health. Studies show that incorporating hemp seeds into your diet may help reduce heart disease risk factors like LDL cholesterol.
Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are excellent sources of magnesium. Lima beans, white beans, black beans, and lentils are especially high in this vital nutrient.
Lima beans: 126 mg per cooked cup, or 30% of the DV
Black beans: 120 mg per cooked cup, or 29% of the DV
White beans: 113 mg per cooked cup, or 27% of the DV
Lentils: 71.3 mg per cooked cup, or 17% of the DV
In addition to providing magnesium, beans and lentils are a concentrated source of fiber and the B vitamin folate, which is especially important during pregnancy because of its role in fetal growth and development.
Just one cup of black beans provides 256 mg of folate, or 42% of the recommended intake during pregnancy.
Related:Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
Grains and pseudograins are smart choices if you’re looking for a healthy way to increase your magnesium intake.
Whole grains are a better source of nutrients like magnesium because they contain all three parts of the grain kernel—the germ, endosperm, and bran—which house essential nutrients like fiber and minerals.
Amaranth: 160 mg per cooked cup, or 38% of the DV
Teff: 126 mg per cooked cup, or 30% of the DV
Quinoa: 118 mg per cooked cup, or 28% of the DV
Because they’re rich in heart-healthy nutrients like magnesium and fiber, diets high in grains have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Related:30 Best High-Fiber Foods
Like seeds, nuts are high in magnesium. Including nuts like Brazil nuts, cashews, and almonds in your diet is a smart way to boost your magnesium intake.
Brazil nuts: 107 mg per 1 oz, or 25% of the DV
Cashews: 82.8 mg per 1 oz, or 20% of the DV
Almonds: 76.5 mg per 1 oz, or 18% of the DV
Although technically a legume, peanuts are another good source of magnesium.
Peanuts: 53.3 mg per 1 oz, or 13% of the DV
Peanut butter: 53.8 mg per 2 tablespoons, or 13% of the DV
Whole nuts can be mixed with dried fruit to create a magnesium-rich snack, while nut butters like almond butter and peanut butter can be incorporated into dishes like oatmeal and yogurt parfaits to boost the magnesium content.
People following plant-based diets often depend on soy products, such as tofu and soy milk, as a main dietary source of protein. Soy products are an excellent source of plant protein and also provide an array of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium.
Edamame: 99.2 mg per cooked cup, or 24% of the DV
Tempeh: 77 mg per 100 grams, or 18% of the DV
Soy milk: 51.2 mg per cup, or 12% of the DV
Edamame, or immature soybeans, is one of the healthiest soy products you can eat. These bright green beans are packed with essential nutrients like protein, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium.
A one-cup serving of edamame covers just under a quarter of your daily magnesium needs.
Although chocolate products aren’t usually considered “healthy”, cocoa products are actually rich in a variety of essential nutrients. Unsweetened cocoa products like cacao powder and cacao nibs are a good source of magnesium, plus other nutrients like iron and manganese.
Cacao nibs: 93 mg per 3 tablespoons, or 22% of the DV
Cacao powder: 80 mg per 2 tablespoons, or 19% of the DV
Dark chocolate (70-85% cacao solids): 64.6 mg per 1 oz, or 15% of the DV
Because cocoa products are rich in essential minerals like magnesium, they can make a healthy addition to recipes like baked goods, smoothies, chia pudding, and yogurt.
Eating more seafood can benefit health in several ways. Seafood is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA), and vitamins and minerals. Although magnesium is mostly concentrated in plant foods, fish and shellfish contain a surprising amount of magnesium.
Canned oysters: 134 mg per can, or 32% of the DV
Canned mackerel: 134 mg per can, or 32% of the DV
Salmon: 74.9 mg per medium filet, or 18% of the DV
Fatty fish is also an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which help regulate inflammation in the body. Diets high in omega-3-rich seafood are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cognitive decline.
A Quick Review
Magnesium is a mineral that’s involved in critical bodily processes such as nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and DNA synthesis.
Most adults in the U.S. don’t consume enough magnesium on a daily basis, which could harm overall health and increase disease risk.
Fortunately, magnesium can be found in a number of foods, including vegetables, beans, grains, cocoa products, and seafood. Try adding a few of the foods on this list into your diet for a nutritious way to boost your magnesium intake.
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