10 Foods High in Magnesium

hide this This evidence based content is written by a registered dietitian nutritionist. Scientific references are from trusted sources.

Magnesium, a mineral, is the second most abundant intracellular cation in the human body after potassium. Adults store about 60 percent of their magnesium in their bones.  Find out the 10 foods high in magnesium.

Magnesium acts like a helper, sometimes called a cofactor, in the body. Magnesium assists with the metabolism of food, neuromuscular transmission and activities, and plays a role in learning and memory.  A depletion of magnesium (Mg) may cause migraine headaches, exacerbate asthma, cause irregular menstrual cycles, or leg cramps. Magnesium plays a role in many other bodily functions. 

There is so much to know about magnesium’s role in a healthy body, how much we need to take in, and which foods are rich in magnesium. We’ll take a look at all you need to know and how to get what you need to live your healthiest life.

How Much Magnesium Do You Need? 

Young children need about 80-130mg/day depending on their age. 

Older children and adolescents requires about 240-410mg/day depending on age and gender, males needing slightly more than females. Similarly, adult needs also vary by age and gender , but range between 310-400 mg/day.  Most Americans don’t consume the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).

Which Foods Contain The Most magnesium?

If you’re looking to boost your intake of magnesium there are a wide variety of foods that can help you meet the RDA.

Magnesium is part of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, making dark green vegetables rich in magnesium.  Unrefined whole grains and nuts are also excellent sources.


Here Are Ten Tasty Foods High in Magnesium:

Halibut

We know that consuming fish is a great source of lean protein and important fatty acids but it is also a great source of vitamins and minerals.  Just a 3oz halibut filet, which is about the size of a deck of cards, contains about 24mg of magnesium. That’s about 6 percent of your daily recommended value (DV). 

Considering most pre-portioned filets or restaurant portions are bigger than a deck of cards, you’ll be getting more magnesium, too!

Spinach

Popeye said “I’m strong to the finish, cause I eats me spinach!” Popeye sure knew what he was talking about. Spinach, along with other dark leafy greens, is a great way to get fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Spinach, in particular, is rich in magnesium. About ½ cup of cooked or canned spinach contains about 78mg or 19 percent DV! Fresh spinach, because it hasn’t cooked down and is less densely packed, contains about 24mg per fresh and fluffy cup.

Brown rice

Brown rice is a whole grain alternative to white rice. In addition to being rich in fiber and containing all three parts of the grain, brown rice is also rich in magnesium.  After cooking, one cup of brown rice contains about 84mg of magnesium, about 20 percent DV. 

Beans

Even when you’re enjoying Taco Tuesday you can rest easy knowing your taco toppings will be a good choice. One cup of refried beans contains about 83mg of magnesium, about 20 percent DV.  

Nuts

If you’re grabbing a snack on the go, trail mix can be a great option. Using cashews in the trail mix is even better. Cashews are a flavorful nut full of important fats. They contain about 74mg of magnesium per 1oz. That’s about 18 percent DV. Choose unsalted nuts if you’re trying to reduce salt intake. 

Orange Juice

No morning is complete with a glass of sunshine. A 6oz pour of orange juice contains about 72mg of magnesium, about 18 percent DV.  You’ll also get some vitamin C, too!

Soymilk

Dairy foods can be a great source of magnesium, but if you avoid dairy foods, soymilk is a great way to get more vitamins and minerals. One cup of plain or vanilla soymilk contains about 61mg of magnesium, about 15 percent DV

If you like shredded wheat cereal, you’re in luck. Pour your soymilk over two large shredded wheat biscuits and you’ll add another 61mg of magnesium before you leave the breakfast table. 

Peanut Butter

Team crunchy or team smooth? No matter how you spread it peanut butter is another good choice for protein and magnesium.

Two smooth tablespoons contains about 49mg or 12 percent DV. If you’re spreading it onto a medium apple, you can add on another 9mg or 2 percent DV for the apple. 

Banana

Bananas are another great portable snack when you’re on the go. One medium banana is delicious, filling, and brings about 32mg of magnesium or 8 percent DV. Pair that with your peanut butter for a tasty treat!

Yogurt

Dairy foods are rich in magnesium and yogurt is no exception. One cup of plain low-fat yogurt contains about 42mg or 10 percent DV of magnesium

Magnesium Rich Foods

All of these foods are high in magnesium on their own, but they do even better when paired together.

Consider making a smoothie for breakfast or snack.

Pair yogurt (or soy based yogurt) with a banana and orange juice and you’ve combined three magnesium rich foods into one delicious drink. Roasting some halibut for dinner?

Pair it with cooked spinach and brown rice for a filling and nutritious meal.

One study found that magnesium absorption was correlated with protein intake, when protein intake was lower than 30g/day, magnesium absorption also decreased.  

Combinations and ways to achieve the recommended dietary allowance of 310-400mg/day for adults are endless.

Magnesium is a nutrient that is vital to human health. It is integral for our cells to perform at their best and to keep our bodies healthy and active. 

top