10 Magnesium Rich Foods For Your Diet

10 Magnesium Rich Foods For Your Diet

10 Magnesium Rich Foods To Improve Your Diet

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies and is involved in all major biochemical and metabolic processes in cells. Magnesium has key roles in multiple aspects of cellular and tissue function, including cell energy metabolism, DNA and protein synthesis, cell division and growth, skeletal and heart muscle contraction, nerve impulse conduction, brain health, immune function, and bone growth and mineralization. Therefore, magnesium is crucial for the healthy function of every organ in the human body [1].

Because of its vital functions, it’s important to ensure that you provide adequate levels of magnesium to your body.

Magnesium is an essential nutrient that must be obtained from dietary sources in adequate amounts to maintain good health. The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board recommends a daily magnesium intake of 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men [2]. Because of its vital functions, it’s important to ensure that you provide adequate levels of magnesium to your body. Here are ten foods that are high in magnesium and that can help you reach your recommended daily intake goal. You can also complement these healthy dietary choices with magnesium supplementation.


Seeds are healthy nutrient-rich foods. There are many varieties of seeds that provide high amounts of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are a particularly rich source, providing 156 mg magnesium in a 1 oz (28 g) serving of roasted seeds. This corresponds to around 50% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for magnesium for women and 40% for men. Other seeds rich in magnesium include sesame seeds (101 mg/oz) and chia seeds (95 mg/oz).


Nuts are known for being rich in healthy fats, but they’re also good sources of magnesium. Brazil nuts are particularly high in magnesium—a 1 oz portion provides 107 mg of magnesium (33% RDI for women, 25% RDI for men). Cashews (82.8 mg/oz), almonds (76.5 mg/oz), and pine nuts (71.2 mg/oz) are also great options.


Leafy greens such as kale, watercress, arugula, and collard greens have several health benefits due to their high content vitamins, minerals, fiber, polyphenols, and carotenoids. But when it comes to meeting your magnesium requirements, there’s a clear standout: spinach. A 1 cup serving of cooked spinach provides 157 mg of magnesium, which is close to half of the RDI for women and over a third of the RDI for men.

Soy Products

Soy is known for being a great source of protein, which is one of the reasons why it’s a popular ingredient in vegetarian and vegan diets. What’s less well-known is that it’s also a great source of magnesium: one cup cooked soybeans provide 148 mg magnesium (46% RDI for women, 35% RDI for men). The other great thing about soy is that it’s very versatile and there are many soy-based products from which to get some of that magnesium. For example, one cup of soy milk provides around 50 mg magnesium and a 3.5 oz serving of fried tofu will give you 60 mg magnesium.


Just like soy, other legumes are also rich sources of both protein and magnesium. Black beans are particularly stacked: a 1 cup serving of cooked black beans provides 120 mg magnesium (38% RDI for women, 29% RDI for men). Red kidney beans and lima beans are good alternatives: a serving of ½ cup of either provides around 40 mg magnesium. If you’re more into lentils, you’ll still be well served: ½ cup will give you around 35 mg magnesium.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are the healthiest way to eat grains as they retain all the beneficial nutrients that would otherwise be lost due to food processing. This means more fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including magnesium. So, whenever you eat grains, try to go for the whole form whenever possible. These are several types of whole grains to choose from to get you daily magnesium at different meals: a ½ cup serving of dry rolled whole oats provides 50 mg magnesium (16% RDI for women, 12% RDI for men), a ½ cup serving of cooked brown rice provides around 40 mg magnesium, and a ½ cup serving of quinoa contains around 60 mg. 

Fatty Fish

In addition to being a great source of protein and healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), some types of fatty fish are also good sources of magnesium. Mackerel is particularly rich, with a 3 oz portion providing 82 mg magnesium (26% RDI for women, 20% RDI for men). The same serving of bluefin tuna contains around 54 mg magnesium. Salmon contains a bit less, but it is still a good option, particularly wild salmon—a 3 oz portion provides around 31 mg magnesium.


Speaking of healthy fats, avocados are another great source of those, particularly  monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). They’re also high in potassium, phosphorus, and fiber. One medium sized avocado can give you around 58 mg magnesium (18% RDI for women, 14% RDI for men). But because of their high fat content, which also makes them calorie-rich, the recommended serving size of avocados is just ⅓ of an avocado, which will still give you around 20 mg magnesium.


Bananas are a go-to source of potassium, but their magnesium content should not be overlooked. One medium banana will give you 32 mg magnesium which corresponds to 10% of the RDI for women and close to 8% of the RDI for men.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of the most pleasurable ways to add magnesium to your diet. Cocoa is the source of magnesium in chocolate—just one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder provides 26.9 mg magnesium. This means that the darker the chocolate, the more magnesium, because less ingredients will have been added to it. Dark chocolate with 45-59% cacao provides around 41 mg per 1 oz serving (13% RDI for women, 10% RDI for men), while 1 oz dark chocolate with 70-89% cacao will give you 65 mg magnesium (20% RDI for women, 15% RDI for men).  

Are Magnesium Supplements a Good Option?

There are a lot of great and varied options of magnesium rich foods to help you reach the recommended daily intake goal. But because of industrial farming methods and food processing, although you may be eating foods that are theoretically good sources of magnesium, they may actually be falling short on the promise of high magnesium content. This is because magnesium content in fruits and vegetables has decreased in the last fifty years, and as much as 80% of magnesium from a food can be lost during food processing [3,4].

Magnesium content in fruits and vegetables has decreased in the last fifty years, and as much as 80% of magnesium from a food can be lost during food processing.

The fact is that due to food processing and soil nutrient depletion, the majority of people in Western countries do not get sufficient amounts of magnesium in their diets [1,5–7]. As a consequence, many people have low magnesium levels in their body. This is particularly common in older adults because the intestinal absorption of magnesium tends to decline with age, while urinary elimination tends to increase due to kidney function decline [8,9]. 

Magnesium supplements can be a great way to complement magnesium-rich foods and to ensure you get all the magnesium you need every day. 

What Are the Benefits of Magnesium?

Magnesium has several vital functions that are indispensable for healthy cells and your general health and well-being. Low magnesium intake levels can lead to a gradual decline in cellular magnesium levels, which can impact several aspects of cellular function. For example, low magnesium levels may lead to gene expression changes and affect genetic stability and cells’ ability to divide and grow; impair mitochondrial function, cellular metabolism, and metabolic health; impair cells’ ability to degrade and recycle damaged molecules and cellular structures; and promote changes that may lead to cellular senescence [10–18]. These effects are particularly impactful as we age and can actually contribute to an acceleration of the aging process [19].* 

Low magnesium intake levels can lead to a gradual decline in cellular magnesium levels, which can impact several aspects of cellular function.

Adequate magnesium intake can help to address these changes and contribute to physical and mental well-being. Adequate dietary intakes of magnesium, either through foods or supplementation, have been associated with several benefits, including supporting healthy cardiovascular and metabolic function, muscle and bone health, mood, and sleep [20–36].*

Get excited: Qualia Magnesium, our advanced magnesium blend that features 9 forms of magnesium plus 70 minerals drops later this summer!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Data on magnesium content in foods from FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture
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