8 Foods High in Magnesium
Magnesium helps boost energy, reduce inflammation, and support immunity. Reach for the following magnesium-rich foods to reduce your risk for a deficiency.
Dark chocolate offers a sweet way to get your magnesium fix.
Time to make some dietary changes to boost energy and build a healthy immune system? While magnesium is considered a minor nutrient, it plays a significant role in your overall health and is essential to every function and tissue in the body.
In general, to provide magnesium to your body, the National Institutes of Health recommends looking for foods packed with dietary fiber, including:
- Black beans
- Bran cereal
- Brown rice
- Cereal (shredded wheat)
- Kidney beans
- Peanut butter
- Potatoes with skin
- Soy milk
- Whole-grain bread
Not only do magnesium-rich foods support a healthy immune system and improve bone health, they may play a role in preventing certain cancers, according to a study published in June 2017 in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. Foods with magnesium have been found to help improve heart health, prevent stroke, and even potentially reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack. Additionally, magnesium foods help to support normal nerve and muscle function and keep your heartbeat in sync.
A study published in October 2017 in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that a nutritionally balanced vegan diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables lowered triglycerides, insulin, and cholesterol in study participants when compared with a healthy, controlled omnivorous diet (both plant and animal foods). A plant-based diet includes magnesium-rich fruit, vegetables, beans and peas, grains, soy, seeds, and nuts. A vegetarian diet is plant-based, but a vegan diet excludes all meat, dairy, and animal products, notes Medline Plus.
A study published in February 2014 in Diabetes Care reveals that a high daily magnesium intake may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 32 percent. Meanwhile, a 2013 article published in Pharmacological Reports reveals that supplementing with magnesium may help ward off depression.
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How Can I Raise My Magnesium Quickly Through Diet?
Magnesium supplements are available over the counter at most supermarkets and pharmacies, but registered dietitians say it is preferable to eat whole foods containing magnesium naturally to prevent a magnesium deficiency.
While your body absorbs between 30 and 40 percent of the magnesium you eat, magnesium deficiency may happen due to an underlying health condition, alcoholism, or certain medication, per the National Institutes of Health.
In fact, nearly two-thirds of the Western world doesn’t get the recommended daily intake of magnesium, according to a September 2017 review published in Scientifica.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that American adults get between 310 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily.
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Check out the following foods high in the macromineral magnesium, including dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, soybeans, avocados, bananas, dark chocolate, and fat-free or low-fat yogurt.
Dark Leafy Greens Prevent Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, which play the role of the ultimate superfood, offering up crucial vitamins and minerals as well as a host of health benefits. Choose raw or cooked magnesium greens such as baby spinach, collard greens, kale, or Swiss chard. You can avoid a magnesium deficiency by stocking your body with dark leafy greens for very few calories. A cup of raw kale, for example, packs nearly 7 mg of magnesium (1.7 percent of the daily value, or DV) and only about 7 calories, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Nuts and Seeds Keep Energy Up and Hunger Down
Just 1 ounce (oz) of dry roasted almonds contains 80 mg of magnesium, or about 19 percent of the DV. Other foods containing magnesium include cashews, peanuts, and pumpkinseeds, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Combine your favorite magnesium-rich nuts and seeds in a healthy homemade trail mix — the perfect afternoon snack to keep your energy up and hunger levels down. Just remember that nuts are also a rich source of calories, per past research, so a little goes a long way, especially if you’re watching your waistline.
Salmon and Tuna Are Filled With Magnesium and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Add fish such as mackerel, wild salmon, halibut, and tuna to your menu to boost your magnesium intake, as well as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna) at least two times (two servings) a week. A past review also suggests there may be a link between high intakes of fish and a low incidence of mental health disorders such as depression.
Soybeans and Edamame Increase Fiber and Magnesium
Soybeans are a magnesium-rich food that also offers fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Snack on a half-cup serving of dry roasted soybeans — a rich source of energy (209 calories), magnesium (106 mg, or 25 percent DV), and protein (20.2 g, or 40 percent of DV), according to estimates from the USDA — or add fresh soybeans (edamame) to your shopping list. Other legumes containing magnesium include black beans and kidney beans, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Heart-Healthy Avocado Is Loaded With Nutrients
Avocados are a good source of magnesium, as well as being loaded with vitamins, heart-healthy nutrients, and disease-thwarting chemical compounds. Magnesium-rich avocados are one of the most nutritious and versatile produce picks around. Add 1 cup of cubed avocado to your salad or sandwich at lunch, and you’ll easily consume 11 percent of the DV of magnesium, according to the USDA. Like nuts, avocados are also rich in healthy fats, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which makes them a concentrated source of calories. So keep portion size in mind when you're enjoying this healthy delight.
Eat Bananas for a Magnesium-Rich Snack
Did you know that bananas contain magnesium too? Bananas may be better known for being rich in heart-healthy and bone-strengthening potassium, but a medium-size banana also provides 32 mg (or 8 percent DV) of magnesium, along with 10.3 mg of vitamin C (11.4 percent DV) and 3 g (12 percent) of fiber, according to the USDA. At only about 105 calories, this is a foolproof high-magnesium food to pop in your bag for a portable breakfast or an easy on-the-go snack. Of course, other magnesium-containing fruit, such as apples, can be added to your diet, according to the USDA.
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Decadent Dark Chocolate Is Your Go-to Magnesium Treat
Think of dark chocolate as a great way to get your magnesium fix while also indulging. One oz, or about one square, of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate provides 64.6 mg of magnesium, which is 15.4 percent of the DV, for 170 calories, per the USDA. Furthermore, dark chocolate offers flavanols, which are a type of antioxidant that may help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and lower inflammation, according to a past study.
Try Magnesium-Containing Nonfat or Low-Fat Yogurt for Breakfast
Nonfat or low-fat yogurt is a great source of magnesium: Expect roughly 32 mg (7.6 percent DV) in just one 6 oz container, according to the USDA. Yogurt is also high in protein (9.7 g for 19.4 percent of the DV). Past research suggests that high-protein meals can make you feel fuller longer, which may help you eat fewer calories overall, ultimately leading to weight loss. Pair yogurt with a fiber-rich fruit for an easy, healthy breakfast.
Additional reporting by Debbie Strong.