The 10 Best Foods Highest in Magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones.
A deficiency in magnesium can lead to muscle spasms, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, and cerebral infarction. Conversely, consuming too much magnesium typically causes diarrhea as the body attempts to excrete the excess.
High magnesium foods include dark leafy greens, seeds, beans, whole grains, fish, nuts, dark chocolate, yogurt, avocados, bananas and more. The current daily value (DV) for magnesium is 400mg.
Top 10 List of High Magnesium Foods
- 39% DV (157mg) magnesium per cup cooked
- 189% DV (757mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 22% DV (87mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
More Greens High in Magnesium (%DV per cup)Swiss Chard (38%), Kale (19%), Collard Greens (13%), and Turnip Greens (11%).
Nutrition Facts for Cooked Spinach.
- 39% DV (156mg) magnesium per 1oz handful
- 48% DV (192mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 138% DV (550mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
More Seeds High in Magnesium (%DV per 1oz handful):Hemp Seeds (50%), Flax (28%), Sesame (25%), Chia (24%), and Sunflower Seeds (9%).
Nuts and seeds are high in protein which helps with magnesium absorption.
Nutrition Facts for Roasted Squash and Pumpkin Seeds (Unsalted).
- 31% DV (126mg) magnesium per cup cooked
- 30% DV (120mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 19% DV (74mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
More Beans High in Magnesium (%DV per cup)White Beans (28%), French Beans (25%), Black-eyed Peas (23%), Kidney Beans (21%), Chickpeas (Garbanzo) (20%), Lentils (18%), and Pinto Beans (16%).
Nutrition Facts for Cooked Lima Beans.
- 21% DV (86mg) magnesium per cup
- 20% DV (79mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 11% DV (44mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
More Grains High in Magnesium (%DV per cup)Quinoa (30%), Millet (19%), Bulgur (15%), Buckwheat (13%), Wild Rice (13%), Whole Wheat Pasta (11%), Barley (9%), and Oats (7%).
Nutrition Facts for Cooked Brown Rice.
- 21% DV (85mg) magnesium per 3oz fillet
- 19% DV (74mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 24% DV (97mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
- 19% DV (77mg) magnesium 1oz handful
- 23% DV (93mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 68% DV (270mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
- 16% DV (65mg) magnesium per 1oz square
- 19% DV (76mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 57% DV (228mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Other types of Chocolate (%DV per oz)Baking Chocolate 99-100% Cocoa (24% DV), Dark Chocolate 60-69% Cocoa (12% DV), and Dark Chocolate 40-59% Cocoa (10% DV).
Nutrition Facts for Dark Chocolate (70-85% Cocoa).
- 12% DV (47mg) magnesium per cup
- 17% DV (68mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 5% DV (19mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Nutrition Facts for Non-Fat Yogurt.
- 15% DV (58mg) magnesium per avocado
- 9% DV (36mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 7% DV (29mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Nutrition Facts for Avocados.
- 8% DV (32mg) magnesium per cup sliced
- 15% DV (61mg) per 200 calorie serving
- 7% DV (27mg) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Printable One Page Sheet
Factors which Affect Magnesium Absorption
- Fermentable carbohydrates like those found in grains, dairy, and fruit enhance the absorption of magnesium.37
- Foods with protein enhance the absorption of magnesium and calcium.38
- Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, or taking supplemental dietary fiber, is likely to hinder magnesium absorption.37
- Phytates, found in vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts may slightly hinder magnesium absorption, however, the soluble fiber, and fermentable carbohydrates found in these foods likely counteracts this effect, making most plant foods a great source of magnesium.37
- Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, leafy greens, nuts, tea, coffee and cacao also reduce magnesium absorption. Cooking reduces oxalic acid, so cooking spinach and other greens is better than eating them raw (in terms of magnesium absorption).35
High Risk Groups for a Magnesium Deficiency
- Long distance athletes - People who exercise over long distances lose electrolytes via sweat and need to replenish their sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus levels.
- Dehydration - People who consume excess alcohol, or suffer diarrhea, or can be otherwise dehydrated need to replenish their sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus levels.
- People with Gastrointestinal Disorders - Most magnesium is absorbed through the colon so people with gastrointestinal disorderslike Crohn's disease are at high risk for a magnesium deficiency.19,20
- People with Poor Functioning Kidneys - The kidneys should be able to regulate magnesium in the blood,excreting less when stores are low, however, excessive loss of magnesium through urine can occur to people on specific medications, poorly managed diabetes, and alcoholics.21-29
- The Elderly - As we age the amount of magnesium we absorb decreases as the amount we excrete increases.7
- People Consuming high amounts of Fiber - Eating large amounts of fiber has been shown to interfere with the bodies abilityto use magnesium. However, more research needs to be done to confirm how much fiber affects magnesium.30,31
- People on a low protein diet (*Controversial) - Eating less than 30 grams of protein a day may adversely affect magnesium utilization.32
- People taking Certain Medications23,25,33,34,36
- Proton Pump Inhibitors: Prescription PPIs include Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Zegerid (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole sodium), AcipHex (rabeprazole sodium), Vimovo, Prilosec OTC (omeprazole), Zegerid OTC (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate), and Prevacid 24HR (lansoprazole)36
- Diuretics: Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin, and hydrochlorothiazide
- Antibiotics: Gentamicin, and Amphotericin
- Anti-neoplastic (Cancer) medication: Cisplatin
- Zinc Supplements
Health Benefits of Magnesium
- Regulation of Blood Pressure - Diets high in fruits and vegetables provide both magnesium and potassium which are consistently associated with reduced blood pressure.3-5
- Reduced Risk of Type II Diabetes - Magnesium is involved in carbohydrate metabolism and the bodies use of insulin.6 Studies show that individuals with type II diabetes have low levels of magnesium in their blood.7 Correcting this lackof magnesium may help increase sensitivity to insulin and prevent type II diabetes.8
- Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and other Cardiovascular Diseases - Because magnesium is associated with regulation of blood pressureand lower risk of diabetes, it follows that it also reduces risk of cardiovascular disease.9 Elevated levels of magnesium in the blood has been associated with reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.10-12
- Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis - Magnesium plays a role in calcium metabolism and hormones which regulate calcium and may helpto protect against osteoporosis.7,13 Several studies support that increased magnesium intake increases bone health.7,14
- Reduced Frequency of Migraine Headaches (*Controversial) - Studies show that individuals who have frequent migraine headacheshave lower levels of magnesium than other individuals.15 There is conflicting evidence as to whether increased intakeof magnesium will reduce the frequency of migraines.15-18
- Alleviation of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - Studies suggest that consuming higher amounts of magnesium, perhaps inconjunction with vitamin B6, helps to alleviate bloating, insomnia, leg swelling, weight gain, breast tenderness, and othersymptoms associated with PMS.19
Click each heading below for more information from MyFoodData.com
|#1 Rice Bran||230% DV (922mg) in 1 cup|
|#2 Tofu||37% DV (146mg) in 1 cup|
|#3 Wheat Germ||23% DV (91mg) in 1 oz|
|#4 Alaskan King Crab||21% DV (84mg) in 1 leg|
|#5 Peanut Butter||14% DV (57mg) in 2 tbsp|
|#6 Molasses||12% DV (48mg) in 1 tbsp|
|#7 Whole Milk||6% DV (24mg) in 1 cup|
|#8 Whole Wheat Bread||6% DV (24mg) in 1 slice|
|#9 Espresso||6% DV (24mg) in 1 fluid ounce|
|#10 Seaweed (Dried Spirulina)||3% DV (14mg) in 1 tbsp|
|#11 Coffee||2% DV (7mg) in 1 cup|
- Nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and molasses are high calorie foods and should be eaten in moderate amounts by people with a high body mass index.
- Dark chocolate, spinach, and almonds are high in oxalates which may inhibit some magnesium absorption.35 These foods however, are still good sources of magnesium.
- Brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Excess selenium can lead to diarrhea, bad breath, and even hair loss.
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Data Sources and References
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
- Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet
- Appel LJ. Nonpharmacologic therapies that reduce blood pressure: A fresh perspective. Clin Cardiol 1999;22:1111-5.
- Simopoulos AP. The nutritional aspects of hypertension. Compr Ther 1999;25:95-100.
- Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, Vollmer WM, Svetkey LP, Sacks FM, Bray GA, Vogt TM, Cutler JA, Windhauser MM, Lin PH, Karanja N. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. N Engl J Med 1997;336:1117-24.
- Saris NE, Mervaala E, Karppanen H, Khawaja JA, Lewenstam A. Magnesium: an update on physiological, clinical, and analytical aspects. Clinica Chimica Acta 2000;294:1-26.
- Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. National Academy Press. Washington, DC, 1999.
- Paolisso G, Sgambato S, Gambardella A, Pizza G, Tesauro P, Varricchio H, D'Onofrio F. Daily magnesium supplements improve glucose handling in elderly subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 1992;55:1161-7.
- Altura BM and Altura BT. Magnesium and cardiovascular biology: An important link between cardiovascular risk factors and atherogenesis. Cell Mol Biol Res 1995;41:347-59.
- Ford ES. Serum magnesium and ischaemic heart disease: Findings from a national sample of US adults. Intl J of Epidem 1999;28:645-51.
- Liao F, Folsom A, Brancati F. Is low magnesium concentration a risk factor for coronary heart disease? The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Am Heart J 1998;136:480-90.
- Ascherio A, Rimm EB, Hernan MA, Giovannucci EL, Kawachi I, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. Intake of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber and risk of stroke among US men. Circulation 1998;98:1198-204.
- Elisaf M, Milionis H, Siamopoulos K. Hypomagnesemic hypokalemia and hypocalcemia: Clinical and laboratory characteristics. Mineral Electrolyte Metab 1997;23:105-12.
- Xing JH and Soffer EE. Adverse effects of laxatives. Dis Colon Rectum 2001;44:1201-9.
- Mauskop A, Altura BM. Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraines. Clin Neurosci. 1998;5(1):24-27.
- Peikert A, Wilimzig C, Kohne-Volland R. Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study. Cephalalgia. 1996;16(4):257-263.
- Pfaffenrath V, Wessely P, Meyer C, et al. Magnesium in the prophylaxis of migraine--a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Cephalalgia. 1996;16(6):436-440.
- Wang F, Van Den Eeden SK, Ackerson LM, Salk SE, Reince RH, Elin RJ. Oral magnesium oxide prophylaxis of frequent migrainous headache in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Headache. 2003;43(6):601-610.
- Bendich A. The potential for dietary supplements to reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(1):3-12.
- Rude RK. Magnesium deficiency: A cause of heterogeneous disease in humans. J Bone Miner Res 1998;13:749-58.
- Rude KR. Magnesium metabolism and deficiency. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 1993;22:377-95.
- Kelepouris E and Agus ZS. Hypomagnesemia: Renal magnesium handling. Semin Nephrol 1998;18:58-73.
- Ramsay LE, Yeo WW, Jackson PR. Metabolic effects of diuretics. Cardiology 1994;84 Suppl 2:48-56.
- Kobrin SM and Goldfarb S. Magnesium Deficiency. Semin Nephrol 1990;10:525-35.
- Lajer H and Daugaard G. Cisplatin and hypomagnesemia. Ca Treat Rev 1999;25:47-58.
- Tosiello L. Hypomagnesemia and diabetes mellitus. A review of clinical implications. Arch Intern Med 1996;156:1143-8.
- Paolisso G, Scheen A, D'Onofrio F, Lefebvre P. Magnesium and glucose homeostasis. Diabetologia 1990;33:511-4.
- Elisaf M, Bairaktari E, Kalaitzidis R, Siamopoulos K. Hypomagnesemia in alcoholic patients. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1998;22:244-6.
- Abbott L, Nadler J, Rude RK. Magnesium deficiency in alcoholism: Possible contribution to osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease in alcoholics. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1994;18:1076-82.
- Rude RK, Shils ME. Magnesium. In: Shils ME, Shike M, Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006:223-247.
- Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Magnesium. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press; 1997:190-249.
- Schwartz R, Walker G, Linz MD, MacKellar I. Metabolic responses of adolescent boys to two levels of dietary magnesium and protein. I. Magnesium and nitrogen retention. Am J Clin Nutr. 1973;26(5):510-518.
- Shils ME. Magnesium. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th Edition. (edited by Shils, ME, Olson, JA, Shike, M, and Ross, AC.) New York: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 1999, p. 169-92.
- Spencer H, Norris C, Williams D. Inhibitory effects of zinc on magnesium balance and magnesium absorption in man. J Am Coll Nutr. 1994;13(5):479-484.
- Torsten Bohn, Lena Davidsson*, Thomas Walczyk and Richard F. Hurrel Fractional magnesium absorption is signi?cantly lower in human subjects from a meal served with an oxalate-rich vegetable, spinach, as compared with a meal served with kale, a vegetable with a low oxalate content. Laboratory for Human Nutrition, Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland (Received 27 May 2003 - Revised 7 November 2003 - Accepted 28 November 2003
- FDA Drug Safety Communication: Low magnesium levels can be associated with long-term use of Proton Pump Inhibitor drugs (PPIs)
- Charles Coudray, Christian Demigne, and Yves Rayssiguier. Effects of Dietary Fibers on Magnesium Absorption in Animals and Humans. J. Nutr. January 1, 2003 vol. 133 no. 1 1-4.
- R. A. McCance, E. M. Widdowson, and H. Lehmann. The effect of protein intake on the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Biochem J. 1942 September; 36(7-9): 686-691.