Magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of the body. It participates in more than three hundred chemical reactions inside our cells which absolutely need it to produce energy. It is also involved in the contraction of muscles and nerve transmission. However, with needs estimated at 6 mg/kg per day, nearly 75 percent of us don’t intake enough.
According to a large study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013, a sufficient intake of magnesium reduces the risk of a heart attack by 22% compared to too little consumption. Other studies attribute these good results to its antihypertensive and antiarrhythmic effects.
A magnesium deficiency can cause a whole lot of problems: muscular hyperexcitability, cramps, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and anxiety. However, these symptoms can also have other causes. And since this mineral is everywhere in our body, it is impossible to measure it precisely. To prevent a magnesium deficiency, it is therefore important to eat a varied diet with foods that are rich in this indispensable mineral.
Hardly a Food contains as much magnesium as pumpkin seeds. They contain as much as 534 mg per 100 g. They also contain more than 80 percent unsaturated fatty acids, as well as vitamin E and iron (12.5 mg per 100 g). The seeds are ideal as an addition to your salads or vegetables or as a snack in between.
A particularly nutritious food, almonds are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nuts have a high magnesium content, around 200 mg per 100 g. Although oilseeds are fatty, you should know that they help limit the absorption of lipids by promoting the feeling of satiety, so they do not make you fat as long as you consume them in moderation.
It is preferable to consume almonds with their thin skin to better benefit from all their nutritional contributions.
Dark chocolate, in addition to being delicious, is particularly rich in magnesium. Cocoa powder provides around 500 mg for a 100 g serving while dark chocolate with 70% cocoa provides around 170 mg per 100 g.
A potent source of iron and manganese, chocolate also contains antioxidants, beneficial to fight against free radicals that can be harmful to cells. Therefore, chocolate helps prevent the development of diseases.
Sunflower seeds are a delicious addition to salads, pasta dishes, and baking. Rich in minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids, these seeds have a high content of magnesium, around 325 mg per 100 g.
Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon are recommended to supplement the daily need for magnesium which is around 400 and 420 mg for an adult male and 300 and 320 for an adult female.
Rich in protein, fish also provide a good amount of B vitamins, selenium, potassium, and essential fatty acids such as omega 3. About 100 g of salmon fillet provides 30 mg of magnesium while 100 g of sardines contains up to 460 mg.
Nuts, especially Brazil nuts, are great magnesium providers. They contain approximately 120 mg per 100 g. Grilled or consumed as is, they also provide fiber, protein, and good fats such as omega 6 and 9. They also help to soften blood vessels and are therefore beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Beans improve bone development, provide a good amount of fiber and promote iron absorption. Beans also contain minerals, vitamins, and plant protein, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Dried beans contain approximately 60 mg per 100 g of beans.
Seafood is great nutritionally speaking, and not just for the high content of omega-3s and zinc. Indeed, periwinkles contain 300 mg of magnesium per 100 g, cooked whelks 144 mg, marinated anchovies 101 mg, oysters 98 mg, cooked mussels 75 mg, and scallops 62 mg!
They can be eaten raw for some, cooked for others, as a gratin or with pasta…. There is no shortage of recipes!
Green vegetables are often indicated for a balanced and healthy diet. Good for the eyes and the heart, they are also an effective ally for weight loss.
These foods also provide trace elements, minerals, calcium, and vitamins that the body needs to stay healthy. Rich in potassium and magnesium, green vegetables help regulate blood pressure.
100 g of spinach provides about 45 mg of magnesium. 100 g of cooked Brussels Sprout provides about 100 mg.
As for parsley, dandelion, and artichoke, a serving of 100 g contains approximately 35 mg of magnesium.
Unlike white rice, brown rice retains much of its nutrients since only the layer that covers the grains has been removed, it has not undergone processing.
It provides fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamins, and magnesium. Indeed, brown rice contains around 40 mg of magnesium per 100 g.
Eaten in salads, puddings, pilafs, or dessert, brown rice helps prevent cardiovascular disease, lowers bad cholesterol levels, and lowers the risk of diabetes while boosting immunity and bone health.
Bananas are valued for their high potassium content, which is particularly beneficial in preventing heart disease. However, this sweet and mellow fruit also contains magnesium, at a rate of 35 mg per 100 g of bananas.
Bananas also provide fiber and carbohydrates while increasing our energy reserve. This is why it is indicated for athletes and active people.
Avocados are one of the most popular fruits out there nowadays. This is not for no reason. They are packed with nutrients, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, including magnesium. 100 grams of avocado contains 26 mg of magnesium.
There are a lot of ways to eat avocados. You can add them to your salads, your sandwiches, or your favorite guacamole recipe. You can’t go wrong with avocados.
Dates contain many minerals, trace elements, and vitamins that stimulate the proper functioning of our body. This fruit notably contains 43 mg of magnesium per 100g.
Learn more about the benefits of dates in this article.
Cumin, coriander, ginger, curry, black pepper are all spices that are rich in magnesium. Even if they are consumed in small doses, they can easily be added to the kitchen to spice up our dishes. In addition, they are not caloric.
Tofu is not only a great supplier of vegetable protein, but it also provides an interesting amount of magnesium, 30 mg per 100 g of raw tofu. Thanks to its iron, calcium, selenium, and manganese content, this soy-based food also strengthens the immune system.
Low in calories, it is beneficial for people trying to lose while offering an excellent substitute for meat and fish.
Edible seaweed can be added to butter or a salad of raw vegetables. They are also rich in magnesium with a content of 120 mg per 100g on average.
Millet is not as common today as it once was. It is one of the most valuable cereals – also in terms of Magnesium. 100 g millet contains up to 119 mg of magnesium.
Mineral water contains, as the name suggests, minerals, including magnesium. There is a wide variety of brands that you can choose from. However, they are not all equal. Make sure you read the labels to choose which one is right for you.
Reference Tables of foods with magnesium
Vegetables and legumes
Nuts and seeds
|Pine nut||250 mg|
|Brazil nut||376 mg|
|Sunflower seeds||325 mg|
Milk and dairy products
|Skim milk powder||85 mg|
|Whole milk powder||11 mg|
|Plain yogurt||11 mg|
Meats and seafood
|Cocoa powder||499 mg|
|Peanut butter||154 mg|
|Dark chocolate||146 mg|
|Lemon juice||6 mg|
|Plain soy milk||25 mg|
|Carrot juice||14 mg|
|Tomato juice||11 mg|
|Orange juice||11 mg|
If you want to learn more about magnesium, its role, and its benefits, please consult our full-length article on the subject here.
Mandell is currently working towards a medical degree from the University of Central Florida. His main passions include kayaking, playing soccer and tasting good food. He covers mostly science, health and environmental stories for the Scientific Origin.