If there’s one thing to know about magnesium, it’s that it plays a role in pretty much every function in your body. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems including muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, energy production, and supporting a healthy immune system . So, it probably goes without saying that getting the right amount of magnesium is crucial to keeping our bodies both healthy and happy.
Many people aren’t getting enough magnesium in their body, according to Mayo Clinic, but before opting for a magnesium supplement, it’s important to know that it is possible to get the right amount of magnesium through diet alone! With this in mind, these are some of the foods high in magnesium that you should add to your next grocery list:
- Whole grains
- Leafy vegetables
- Dairy foods
See also: What are the Benefits of Magnesium?
What foods are rich in magnesium?
Although low magnesium levels typically won’t cause any noticeable symptoms in the short-term, extremely low levels and magnesium deficiency can lead to problems in the long-term such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes .
Fortunately, it is possible to get just enough magnesium through diet alone, and incorporating just some of these magnesium rich foods into your meals can help ensure your magnesium levels remain healthy.
Nuts and seeds are actually some of the highest food sources of magnesium with one ounce of almonds containing about 76 mg of magnesium and one ounce of pumpkin seeds containing just under 75 mg! Incorporating these nuts and seeds as well as chia seeds, brazil nuts, and pine nuts (the list goes on) into your diet will have a positive effect on your magnesium levels. And if you were wondering - almond butter and peanut butter also count!
Whole grains include oats, barley, rye, and rice - each of which is an excellent source of not only magnesium, but also fiber, iron, B vitamins, and potassium (just to name a few). Thankfully, it’s not difficult to incorporate whole grains into our daily diet as they’re usually a staple in many of our diets - think porridge, wholewheat bread and, brown rice.
All beans are packed full of health benefits, and being high in magnesium is one of them. Black beans, in particular, are loaded with magnesium - one cup contains around 120 mg of magnesium (around 30% of the recommended daily allowance). The good news is black beans are an important ingredient in plenty of delicious meals - try them out in homemade chili, nachos, or even a burrito bowl.
Also commonly referred to as leafy greens, leafy vegetables are another magnesium-rich food to keep in mind. Some of the highest in the mineral include spinach, kale, collard greens, and turnip greens. In fact, one cup of cooked spinach has 157 mg of magnesium. If you’re not a fan of including dark leafy greens in your meals, try adding them to a smoothie or a soup.
Dairy foods such as milk and yogurt are probably one of our main dietary sources of magnesium from a young age - one cup of milk contains around 25mg of magnesium and a serving size of plain low-fat yogurt boasts 42 mg. If you follow a plant-based diet or are unable to digest dairy products, soy milk and good quality dark chocolate with high cocoa solids are great alternatives!
How can I get enough magnesium in a day?
According to the NHS, you should be able to get all the magnesium you need by following a healthy, balanced diet. And while studies suggest that Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets, it’s important not to reach for any dietary supplements unless your healthcare provider recommends doing so.
As shown above, magnesium can be found in a wide variety of foods, think spinach, nuts, and whole wheat bread, so try adding these magnesium sources to your diet to ensure you’re getting just the right amount of this mineral. The recommended daily amount (RDA) of magnesium for men is 400-420 mg, for women its 310-320 mg.
How can I raise my magnesium levels quickly?
Responsible for everything from heart health to bone health, getting the correct amount of magnesium is crucial to keeping our bodies healthy and functioning. Although low levels don’t cause symptoms in the short-term, increasingly low levels can potentially cause problems in the future.
While many people might not be getting the right amount of magnesium in their diets, it’s important not to reach for magnesium supplements before checking in on your magnesium intake and speaking with your healthcare provider. The reason for this is that too much magnesium from food isn’t usually a concern for healthy adults, according to Mayo Clinic, but high doses of magnesium from supplements can be the cause of nausea, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea .
If you would like to know more about your magnesium levels or if you are experiencing symptoms of magnesium deficiency, one of the best ways to do so is through a test - either with your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home Micronutrient Tests allows you to measure vital nutrient levels and potentially identify any imbalance from the comfort of home. Your online results will be available within 2-5 days and should you have any questions, our dedicated medical team is there to offer advice and help at every step.
You should consider taking a test if:
- You want to identify areas for improvement of your overall health
- You follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
- You have recently excluded a particular food group from your diet
- You are over 50 years of age
- You are experiencing symptoms of a deficiency
- You have a condition that may impact the absorption of nutrients such as celiac or Crohn’s disease
- You have problems absorbing nutrients from your diet
- You are taking certain medications that impact the absorption of some minerals