Magnesium is an essential mineral that we require for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. We need magnesium to keep our bones strong, and our muscles and nerves healthy (1). Magnesium keeps our immune system healthy and our heartbeat strong. Unhealthy food, caffeine, alcohol, heavy periods and even stress can lower the levels of magnesium in our body. Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite are some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. However, it is easy to overcome this deficiency by consuming foods high in magnesium. Let us find out how much magnesium you need and how to add more magnesium to your diet.

How much magnesium do we need?

Here are the recommended daily requirements (2) of magnesium:

Infants

  • Birth to 6 months: 30 mg
  • Six months to 1 year: 75 mg

Children

  •  1 to 3 years: 80 mg
  • 4 to 8 years: 130 mg
  • 9 to 13 years: 240 mg
  • 14 to 18 years: 410 mg
  • 14 to 18 years: 360 mg

Adults

  • Men: 400 to 420 mg
  • Women: 310 to 320 mg
  • Pregnant women: 350 to 400 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 310 to 360 mg

Foods high in magnesium

1. Spinach

Magnesium content: 157 mg in 1 cup (cooked)

Green leafy vegetables like spinach are an excellent source of magnesium. They also contain other nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and manganese. Spinach has numerous health benefits like reducing blood pressure, improving blood glucose control and lowering the risk of cancer.

2. Chard

Magnesium content: 154 mg in 1 cup

This tall leafy vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrition. It contains other nutrients like potassium, iron, vitamin K, A and C and dietary fibre. These leaves can be boiled, steamed or roasted. Include chard in your diet to regulate your blood sugar levels, improve digestion, boost the immune system and prevent heart disease.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

Magnesium content: 92 mg in 1/8 cup

Pumpkin seeds are a power-packed health food that also contains phytosterols and antioxidants. Pumpkin seeds are good for your heart, liver and immune system. They help control diabetes and offer benefits for men’s prostate health and provide relief for women’s menopausal symptoms.

4. Yoghurt

Magnesium content: 50 mg in 1 cup

One cup of yoghurt takes care of 12 percent of our daily need for magnesium. Yoghurt also contains other minerals like calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are responsible for regulating blood pressure, metabolism and bone health.

Yoghurt also contains vitamin B12 and riboflavin which protect against heart disease and neural tube congenital disabilities.

5. Almonds

Magnesium content: 80 mg in 1 cup

Almonds are considered to be health food as they contain fats, fibre, protein and vitamin E in addition to taking care 20 percent of our dietary requirement for magnesium.

Almonds help lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. Due to their high content of dietary fibre, they help reduce hunger and promote weight loss.

6. Black beans

Magnesium content: 60 mg in 1/2 cup

These legumes have high protein and fibre content (3). They are also rich in many vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, calcium, iron and manganese. These legumes improve heart health, boost nervous system, help control blood sugar and treat sexual dysfunction.

foods high in magnesium info graphic

7. Avocado

Magnesium content: 58 mg in 1 medium

Avocados are one of the tastiest sources of magnesium. They also contain potassium, B vitamins and vitamin K.  They are rich in monounsaturated fats that are good for the heart. Research has shown that avocados can reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels and promote weight loss (4).

8. Figs

Magnesium content: 50 mg in 1/2 cup

Figs are high in fibre and a rich source of numerous other minerals like manganese, calcium, copper and potassium and vitamins like vitamin K and B6.  The nutritional value of figs increases when we fry them.

Figs have been used for many centuries to treat tumours, warts and wounds. Numerous studies have been done on the health benefits of figs. According to one study, figs are an excellent source for bioactive compounds like phenolics, coumarins, and fatty acids.

This suggests that we can use figs for treating non-melanoma skin cancers.

9. Dark chocolate

Magnesium content: 95 mg in 1 square

Dark chocolate is not just a tasty treat; it comes with numerous health benefits. Besides being rich in magnesium, it also contains iron, copper, manganese, prebiotic fibre and antioxidants.

It protects the cell lining of your arteries and keeps your LDL cholesterol from getting damaged (5). The chocolate must contain at least 70 percent and above of cocoa, to be beneficial for health.

10. Banana

Magnesium content: 32 mg in 1 medium

Bananas are also known to be high in potassium content. Bananas also contain vitamin C and B6, manganese and fibre. Ripe bananas are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which helps in lowering blood sugar levels (6).

Bananas also help to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

11. Fatty fish

Magnesium content (Salmon): 53 mg in half fillet (178 grams)

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and halibut are all rich in magnesium. They are also rich in potassium, selenium, vitamin B and high-quality protein. These fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease the risk of heart disease (7).

12. Tofu

Magnesium content: 53 mg in 100 grams

Tofu is made by pressing soybean milk to form a curd. This nutritious soy product is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. According to a 2013 study, eating tofu may help to protect the cell lining of your arteries and reduce your chances of developing stomach cancer (8).

13. Whole grains

Magnesium content (buckwheat): 65 mg in 1 oz

Whole grains like wheat, oats and barley and pseudocereals like buckwheat and quinoa are excellent sources of magnesium. They also contain many other nutrients like B vitamins, selenium, manganese and fibre.

According to some studies, whole grains help decrease the risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation (9). Pseudocereals like buckwheat and quinoa have higher quantities of protein and antioxidants than whole grains. Since they do not contain gluten, they are great for people with gluten sensitivity.

Over to you

Not only are these foods rich in magnesium, but they also contain numerous other nutrients. These healthy and tasty nutrient-rich food options help maintain your immune system, improve bone health and may also help prevent inflammation associated with certain cancers. Add these healthy foods high in magnesium to your daily diet to get required dose.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that we require for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Caffeine, alcohol & even stress can lower the levels of magnesium in our body. But it is easy to overcome this deficiency by consuming foods high in magnesium such as avocado, yoghurt, almonds, chard