Log In   |  Sign up

Foods for Magnesium

blog post

Foods for Magnesium.

Magnesium is an important mineral that your body needs to perform important functions. Your heart, muscles, and kidneys all need magnesium to work properly. It produces energy and regulates blood sugar and chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium helps maintain the proper levels of other minerals such as calcium, potassium, and zinc. The mineral also helps build teeth and bones.

While it’s always important to seek out magnesium rich foods, many are unaware of the drastic declines in food-based nutrient sources that have occurred over the last century. These factors, coupled with poor food choices, now cause many health professionals to question the ability to get sufficient magnesium exclusively from food.

Magnesium food sources were once commonly consumed, but have diminished in the last century due to industrialized agriculture and changing diets. Although magnesium deficiency is rare, many Americans don't get as much of the mineral as they should in their diets. Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine on a regular basis can affect your magnesium levels. Some health conditions including Crohn's disease, gastrointestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease, celiac disease, diabetes, and stomach viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea, can lead to magnesium deficiencies.

There three basic reasons we can’t get enough magnesium in the diet:

·        Reduced levels due to soil conditions.

·        Reduced levels due to processing.

·        Changes in eating habits.

The recommended daily intake of magnesium per the National Institutes of Health are as follows:

·        Children 1-3 years: 80 mg

·        Children 4-8 years: 130 mg

·        Children 9-13 years: 240 mg

·        Teens 14-18 years: boys 410 mg and girls 360 mg

·        Adults 19-30 years: men 400 mg and women 310 mg

·        Adults 31+ years: men 420 mg and women 320 mg

Magnesium is found naturally in many different foods. Still, the average adult may only get 66 percent of their daily-recommended magnesium in their normal diet. This could be a result of the amount of processed foods we eat. The following 10 foods are some of the best natural sources of magnesium. Try incorporating more of these foods into your diet to get a magnesium boost.


Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 49 mg of magnesium.


Another healthy snacking nut, cashews are also a good source of magnesium. One ounce has 74 mg of the mineral. Eat cashews by themselves or add them to a side salad for dinner.

Black Beans

All beans have health benefits, but when it comes to magnesium, black beans come out on top. They boast 60 mg per cup. Warm up this winter with spicy black bean chili, or try making easy black bean dip for your next gathering.


Edamame are soy beans still in the pods. They're usually steamed or boiled and can be eaten plain or added to a dish. Half a cup of shelled, cooked edamame beans have 50 mg of magnesium.


Dark, leafy greens are rich with nutrients, and spinach is no exception. One cup of boiled spinach has 157 mg of magnesium.


Tofu is an excellent meat substitute, whether you're a vegetarian or just looking to switch things up a bit. Half a cup of tofu has 37 mg of magnesium.


Not only are almonds a healthy snack, but they're also packed with magnesium. One ounce of almonds has 80 mg, or about 20 percent of your recommended daily intake. Toasted almonds can be added to a variety of dishes for extra texture and flavor. In processing seeds and nuts into refined oils, the oils are super-heated and the magnesium content is strained out or removed through the use of chemical additives.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are often used in Asian-style cooking. They're also a way to add extra nutrients to your meal. One tablespoon of sesame seeds has 32 mg of magnesium.


Quinoa is prepared and eaten in a way that's similar to rice. It's known for its many health benefits, including a high protein and mineral content. One cup of cooked quinoa has 118 mg of magnesium.

Whole Wheat


Most whole grains are a good source of magnesium, but whole wheat flour wins with 160 mg per cup. Use whole wheat instead of white flour for baking, and buy whole wheat bread at the store. In processing grain into white flour, the bran and the germ are removed.