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15 Foods High in Magnesium

Getting enough magnesium into our bodies from our diet is critical for optimal well-being. Magnesium is involved in over 600 reactions in the body (Baaij et al. 2015), including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose regulation, blood pressure regulation, making protein, bone and DNA (Schwalfenberg & Genuis, 2017). Magnesium is found in every cell in your body as it is crucial for healthy cell function. Approximately 60% of the bodies magnesium is stored in bone, whilst the rest is in soft tissues, fluids and muscles (Grober et al. 2015).

Magnesium plays a crucial role in mood regulation and deficiency can manifest as depression (Tarleton & Littenberg, 2015) or anxiety (Boyle et al. 2016). Furthermore, magnesium promotes heart health (Esteban et al. 2018), reduces inflammation (Mendia et al. 2017), improves bone health (Rondanelli et al. 2021), supports optimal sleep (Zhang et al. 2022) and promotes reproductive health (Ebrahimi et al. 2012).

Due to our typical western diets, many people aren't meeting their magnesium requirements. However, when focusing on increasing magnesium rich foods, it is easy to meet your daily needs. The recommended daily allowance for adults 19-51+ years old is 400-420mg daily (National Institutes of Health, 2023), however, those with deficiencies or increased needs (e.g being an athlete) may require more (Ismail et al. 2015). Lets take a look at some of the foods highest in magnesium!

1. Spinach

1 cup of cooked spinach provides 158mg of magnesium, or 37% of the daily recommended value (DRV). Additionally, spinach is rich in several nutrients including manganese, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, vitamins b2, b6, b9, vitamin E, vitamin K and zinc (Sayed, 2020). Spinach also contains antioxidants which protect against oxidative damage and accelerated aging (Moser et al. 2011).

2. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is extremely rich in magnesium and provides 130mg per 56g serving, which is 30% of the DRV! Additionally, dark chocolate contains high amounts of iron, zinc, copper, manganese, antioxidants (Oracz & Zyzelewicz, 2020) and prebiotic fibre that helps nourish the gut microbiome (Sorrenti et al. 2020).

3. Avocado

One medium sized avocado provides roughly 58mg of magnesium, or 14% of the DRV! Avocados also contain several nutrients including:

  • Carotenoids which contribute to healthy vision (Johra et al. 2020)

  • Fibre which feeds the bacteria in our gut (Cronin et al. 2021)

  • Potassium which contributes to heart health (Aburto et al. 2013)

  • B vitamins that contributes to brain health and mood (Young et al. 2019)

  • Vitamin K that contributes to healthy blood clotting (Vermeer, 2012).

4. Almonds

Almonds are another magnesium rich food, containing 386mg per 1 cup! These nuts are also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins b2, b3, b9, choline and vitamin E! Almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fat and fibre which contributes to healthy blood glucose and cholesterol levels (Jenkins et al. 2018). Furthermore, almond nuts are extremely anti-inflammatory and contribute to heart health (Souza et al. 2017).

5. Cashews

Cashews are another magnesium rich nut. They contain 292mg of magnesium per 100g! Cashews are also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins b3 and b9. Cashews are also a good source of lutein, an anti-inflammatory carotenoid that has been shown to improve and prevent age-related macular disease (Buscemi et al. 2018).

6. Brazil Nuts

Alongside being significantly high in selenium, brazil nuts are extremely rich in magnesium and contain 500mg per 1 cup! Brazil nuts are also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, vitamin b9, vitamin E and choline. As they are such a rich source of magnesium and selenium, it is recommended to only have 1-3 of these nuts per day (Colpo et al. 2013).

7. Tofu

Tofu is best known for being a great vegetarian protein source, however, it is also a good source of magnesium! Raw tofu contains 30mg of magnesium per 100g serving. Additionally, tofu is rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, vitamin K and vitamin A. Recent studies have suggested that eating tofu can protect the cells lining our arteries, protect against stomach cancer (Yamagata, 2019) and reduce the risk of heart disease (Eze et al. 2018).

8. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are another great source of magnesium, containing 168mg per 28g serving, which is 40% of the DRV! These seeds are also rich in antioxidants, which protect your body from age-related disease (Rusu et al. 2022) and free radical production during metabolism (Melo et al. 2019). Pumpkin seeds also contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, choline, carotene and lutein. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds have anti-parasitic properties that, when combined with other foods such as clove, can directly kill parasites and prevent reproduction (Jezek et al. 2021).

9. Flaxseeds

Alongside being a great source of omega-3 (Parikh et al. 2019) and fibre (Kajla et al. 2015), flaxseeds contain a significant amount of nutrients that contribute to well-being. Flaxseeds contain 392mg of magnesium per 100g serving, which is 98% of the DRV! Furthermore, flaxseeds are a great source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins b1, b3, b9, choline, betaine, lutein and vitamin K. Flaxseeds have also been shown to protect against breast cancer (Calado et al. 2018) and contribute to cardiovascular health (Edel et al. 2015).

10. Salmon

Alongside being a great protein and omega-3 source (Jensen et al. 2020), salmon is also rich in nutrients such as magnesium. In fact, an 100g serving of cooked salmon contains 30mg of magnesium, which is 7% of the DRV! Salmon is also rich in selenium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, vitamins b3, b5, b6, b9, b12, vitamin A and vitamin D (Hu & Chan, 2020). Eating salmon 2-3x per week is recommended to receive optimal health benefits.

11. Bananas

Alongside being extremely rich in potassium (Miller, 2012), bananas are a great source of magnesium. They contain approximately 37mg of magnesium per 1 large banana, or 9% of the DRV! Bananas are also rich in vitamin C, manganese, choline, vitamin A, vitamins b3, b6, b9 and fibre. Frequent consumption of bananas has been shown to improve blood pressure balance and brain health (Oyeyinka & Afolayan, 2022).

12. Oats

Oats are a delicious whole grain that contain many beneficial nutrients. An 100g serving of oats contains 177mg of magnesium which is 39% of the DRV! Oats also contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9 and manganese. Oats are a great source of fibre which contributes to healthy bowel function (Yang et al. 2012) and cardiovascular health (McRae, 2017). Overnight oats is a perfect breakfast meal to get all these nutrients in and support well-being!

13. Quinoa

Alongside being an excellent source of vegan protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids (Craine & Murphy, 2020), quinoa is rich in nutrients such as magnesium. In fact, 1 cup of cooked quinoa provides 118mg of magnesium! Additionally, quinoa is high in vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6 and b9 which contributes to good mood (Young et al. 2019) and abundant energy (Kennedy, 2016). Furthermore, quinoa contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals (Lin et al. 2019).

14. Mackerel

Mackerel is most commonly known for being a great source of omega-3 and protein, however, it is also a great source of magnesium. An 100g serving of mackerel contains 76mg of magnesium, which is 17% of the DRV! Mackerel is also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins b3, b9, b12, choline, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin K (Aakre et al. 2019). Always be sure to buy wild caught mackerel to prevent excessive heavy metal and toxin consumption (Krzeminska et al. 2021).

15. Kale

Kale is another leafy green vegetable that is a great source of magnesium. It contains approx 33mg of magnesium per 100g serving, which is 7% of the DRV! Kale is also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin K. Due to it's high vitamin C content, kale contributes to healthy immunity (Carr & Maggini, 2017), quick wound healing (Bechara et al. 2022) and reproductive health (Chambial et al. 2013).


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