10 Excellent Food Sources of Magnesium

Excellent Food Sources of Magnesium, Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays many important roles in the human body.
10 Excellent Food Sources of Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays many important roles in the human body. It is crucial for protein synthesis, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, and nerve and muscle function. Magnesium deficiency can lead to health issues like muscle cramps, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches, and osteoporosis. While many people may be lacking in magnesium, getting enough through your diet is relatively simple. Here are 10 excellent food sources of magnesium that you should include in your meals:

1. Spinach

Spinach is one of the most concentrated dietary sources of magnesium. Just one cup of cooked spinach contains 158 milligrams of magnesium, which is 39% of the Daily Value (DV). Spinach is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, making it an excellent addition to any healthy diet. Enjoy spinach sautéed, added to salads, smoothies, or as a side dish. The vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium and folate found in spinach also promote bone and heart health. Make spinach a regular part of your nutrient-rich meal plans.

2. Almonds

Almonds are a tasty source of plant-based magnesium. One ounce of almonds contains 80 milligrams of magnesium, which equals 20% of the DV. Almonds are also high in fiber, protein, vitamin E and heart-healthy fats. Enjoy almonds plain as a snack or add slivered or sliced almonds to salads, oatmeal, yogurt or trail mix for an extra magnesium boost. Since almonds are easy to portion and transport, they make a convenient snack that supports bone and heart health when magnesium intake is important. Just be mindful of calories since almonds are dense in fiber and healthy fats.

3. Avocado

Avocados are a creamy superfood containing about 24 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams of flesh. This amounts to 6% of the DV in just half of a medium avocado. In addition to magnesium, avocados provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy fats. Their rich texture and mild flavor make avocados versatile ingredients in both savory and sweet dishes. Use avocado to top toast, tacos, salads or smash it up for guacamole. For a nutrient-dense snack, simply enjoy half an avocado plain with a sprinkle of salt and lime juice. The healthy fats in avocado also help your body better absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals like magnesium.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) contain a hefty dose of magnesium with one ounce providing about 158 milligrams and 38% of the Daily Value. These tiny seeds are also packed with zinc, fiber, protein, iron and healthy fats. For optimal magnesium, eat pumpkin seeds raw or dry roasted without additional salt or seasonings. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads, yogurt or oatmeal for crunch and nutrition. You can also enjoy pumpkin seed butter like a nut butter on bread or crackers. Since pumpkin seeds require no prep beyond rinsing, they make an easy grab-and-go snack that satisfies between-meal hunger.

5. Black Beans

If you're looking for a plant-based source of magnesium, black beans fit the bill. One cup of cooked black beans delivers about 121 milligrams of magnesium or 29% of the Daily Value amount. Black beans are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, folate, potassium and antioxidants. As a versatile and inexpensive ingredient, black beans can be blended into dips and soups or used to add creaminess and protein to tacos, burritos or bowls. For an easy weeknight meal, pair black beans with rice and roasted veggies. Their fiber and protein content means black beans promote fullness and nutrition to support your magnesium needs.

6. Cashews

Cashews provide 76 milligrams of magnesium in just one ounce, accounting for 19% of the DV. Like many other nuts, cashews are nutrient-dense and high in healthful fats, protein, copper, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Enjoy raw cashews as a nutritious snack, sprinkle them onto salads and veggies or use as a crust for chicken or fish. Cashews also blend beautifully into pestos, desserts, curries and Thai dishes. Compared to other nuts, cashews have a relatively mild flavor, which makes it easy to enjoy them in both sweet and savory preparations. Their creaminess lends itself to dairy-free substitutes like cashew cream or butter as well.

7. Yogurt

Greek yogurt in particular provides an excellent source of magnesium with 28 milligrams or 7% DV per 6 ounce serving. While regular yogurt has about 11 milligrams or 3% DV per 6 ounces. Choose plain Greek or regular yogurt and top it with fresh fruit, nuts, granola or honey for added nutrients, flavor and texture. Since yogurt contains B vitamins, calcium and high quality protein in addition to magnesium, it supports the growth, maintenance and repair of cells and tissues throughout the body. For vegetarians and those avoiding red meat, yogurt is also a great alternative source of bioavailable magnesium.

8. Bran Cereals

Breakfast cereals high in bran like All-Bran provide a good dose of magnesium. Just 1⁄2 cup of All-Bran contains 123 milligrams of magnesium and provides about 31% of the DV. Bran cereals' fiber content allows your body to better absorb magnesium and other minerals from foods. Pair your bran cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk along with fresh fruit like bananas for an energizing breakfast. Just be sure to choose unsweetened bran cereals and watch portions, as some varieties can be high in added sugars. When combined with nuts and seeds, cereals are a whole-food source that delivers sustained magnesium levels throughout the morning.

9. Bananas

Bananas offer approximately 32 milligrams of magnesium in a medium-sized fruit, accounting for 8% of your DV. Besides being a tasty snack, bananas provide potassium, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Bananas' potassium supports blood pressure health while their smooth texture makes them ideal for baking, smoothies or breakfast parfaits. Sprinkle banana slices with almonds and yogurt or nut butter for extra magnesium, protein and flavor. As one of the most convenient fruits that require no prep besides peeling, bananas deliver a package of vitamins and minerals on the go. Their natural sweet taste also satisfies sweet cravings healthfully.

10. Spirulina

For a dense, vegetarian source of magnesium, spirulina algae contains somewhere between 375-1,020 milligrams per 100 grams. That means just 1-2 teaspoons would provide well over 100% of your daily magnesium requirement. Spirulina is more than 70% complete protein and rich in iron, B vitamins, calcium and antioxidants. Add a teaspoon to smoothies for a nutritional boost or mix into protein pancake batter. Due to its strong flavor and subtle color, most recipes only call for a small amount of spirulina. For maximum absorption, choose a high quality spirulina supplement and follow dosage instructions carefully, as too much could cause side effects like diarrhea. When consumed sparingly, spirulina is an eco-friendly superfood that efficiently delivers magnesium.

Other Good Sources of Magnesium

In addition to the top 10 foods, here are some other excellent magnesium sources worth including in your diet:

  • Leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard and collard greens - Kale has about 100 milligrams per cup and Swiss chard has 80 milligrams per cup.
  • Squashes like acorn and butternut - A cup of roasted butternut squash has about 88 milligrams of magnesium.
  • Lentils and beans like black eyed peas, soybeans and chickpeas - 1/2 cup cooked lentils have about 49 milligrams.
  • Whole grains like brown rice, oats and quinoa - 1/2 cup quinoa has about 89 milligrams.
  • Fatty fish like salmon, halibut and tuna - Wild salmon has about 72 milligrams in 3 ounces.
  • Seeds like pumpkin, flax and sunflower seeds - 2 tablespoons wheat germ has about 74 milligrams.
  • Nuts like walnuts, brazil nuts and pecans - 1 ounce of walnuts has about 38 milligrams.
  • Dried apricots and raisins - 1/4 cup dried apricots has about 30 milligrams.
  • Dark chocolate - 1 ounce dark chocolate contains about 58 milligrams.

To support your body's magnesium needs through food sources.

foods daily while paying close attention to the higher magnesium picks. Combining foods provides the best nutrient absorption and makes it easy to reach your daily target through regular, balanced meals and snacks.

Magnesium Recommendations and Deficiency Signs

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is as follows:

  • Males aged 31-70: 400 milligrams
  • Males aged 14-30: 400 milligrams
  • Females aged 31-70: 320 milligrams
  • Females aged 14-30: 310 milligrams
  • Pregnancy: 350-400 milligrams
  • Breastfeeding: 360-400 milligrams

Most Americans fall short of meeting these recommendations through diet alone. Common signs of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, twitches and spasms. Other symptoms can be headaches, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and irregular heart rhythms.

To prevent deficiency, aim to get magnesium from foods daily. Focus on including some of the top 10 magnesium-rich foods in your regular meals and snacks. Combining foods, such as spinach salad with almonds provides multiple nutrients including magnesium for better absorption. Always consult your doctor before taking any magnesium supplements, as too much can potentially lead to diarrhea and other digestive side effects.

With some menu planning, it's quite simple to support your magnesium needs naturally through a balanced diet packed with fresh whole foods. Prioritizing high-magnesium picks like pumpkin seeds, black beans and avocado allows you to feel energized while guarding against issues like high blood pressure, headaches and insomnia related to magnesium depletion.

Recipes Featuring Magnesium-Rich Ingredients:

Avocado Toast Topped with Poached Eggs

For breakfast, enjoy half an avocado mashed on whole wheat toast and topped with a poached egg. The avocado, toast and egg each provide useful amounts of magnesium.

Spinach and Almond Pesto Pasta

Blend spinach, almonds, olive oil and parmesan for a vibrant pesto to toss with whole wheat pasta. The spinach and almonds contribute over 200mg of magnesium to this satisfying meal.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

Sauté black beans, roasted sweet potato and peppers for hearty vegetable tacos in whole wheat shells. Black beans alone deliver over 120mg magnesium per cup.

Banana Nut Oatmeal

Steel cut oats cooked with milk, banana slices and chopped almonds make a tasty hot breakfast or parfait. Oats, banana and almonds combine for over 100mg magnesium per serving.

Multigrain Seed and Nut Bread

Homemade bread full of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and almonds bakes up moist and tender. Seeds and nuts bump the magnesium content substantially.

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