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20 foods high in magnesium

Written by John Davis

Last updated: September 17, 2022

Magnesium supports healthy bones, blood pressure control, muscle function, and possibly your mood.

You probably know the best ways to include some of the more well-known nutrients, like protein, in your diet. However, there is a long list of vitamins and minerals that we need in order to maintain optimal health. (1)

Magnesium is one of the extremely important but less discussed minerals on this list.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is widely distributed throughout the body and is essential to its proper functioning. (2) It is a crucial part of chemicals and enzymes that keep vital bodily processes like energy production, protein synthesis, and blood sugar stability functioning properly. (3)

Signs of magnesium deficiency

Studies show that up to 68% of Americans do not consume enough magnesium in their diets. Magnesium deficiency is commonly linked to numerous detrimental health effects, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes. (4)

The quantity of magnesium available for your body to use is decreased by the consumption of ultra-processed meals, which are commonly found in the typical American diet. (5)

Low magnesium intake and magnesium deficiency, commonly known as “hypomagnesemia,” are linked to the following health symptoms:

  • Moodiness, anxiety, stress, or depression.
  • Migraine headaches
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Appetite loss
  • General weakness

So what are the best dietary sources of magnesium?

Top 20 magnesium foods

The magnesium content in food is influenced by the amount of nutrients in the soil where the food is grown. Usually, green leafy vegetables and nuts are the best sources of magnesium. Some of the best sources of magnesium include:

1. Almonds

  • Dry roasted: 19% DV (79mg magnesium) per 1oz
  • Almond butter: 21% DV (89 mg magnesium) per 2 tablespoons

Almonds are considered to be one of the best nutritious snacks, but are you actually consuming them? In addition to being a good source of essential elements like magnesium, they also have a decent quantity of healthy unsaturated fats.

Eating a handful of almonds every day supplies your body with a good percentage of magnesium’s DV and can assist in protecting your heart, fighting inflammation, supporting your immune system, and may lower your risk of developing cancer. Studies have also demonstrated a connection between eating nuts like almonds and weight loss. (6, 7)

2. Cashew nuts

  • Dry roasted: 18% DV (74mg magnesium) per 1oz
  • Cashew Butter: 20% DV (83 mg magnesium) per 2 tablespoons.

In addition to being one of the top foods high in magnesium, these naturally sweet nuts are a who’s who of essential minerals, including copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, iron, selenium, and calcium.

Just like almonds, cashews are a fantastic source of magnesium and heart-healthy fats that will make you feel full and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Just remember to consume only one ounce, or roughly a small handful, per serving, as those good fats have high calorie content. (8, 9)

3. Peanuts and peanut butter

  • Dry roasted: 12% DV (50mg magnesium) per 1oz
  • Cashew Butter: 13% DV (54 mg magnesium) per 2 tablespoons (10)

Peanuts are a reliable source of magnesium that is easy to find and affordable. Since few of us typically eat peanuts as a snack, peanut butter may be your preferred method for consuming your recommended daily intake of magnesium. Spread a few teaspoons on a piece of whole-wheat bread or use it to make a dressing for noodles or fresh lettuce with some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, ginger, and garlic. (11)

4. Spinach

  • Raw: 6% DV (24mg magnesium) per cup
  • Boiled: 37% DV (157mg magnesium) per cup (12)

When it comes to nutritious vegetables, spinach has unquestionably earned some bragging rights. This leafy green is not only a fantastic source of magnesium, but it also contains significant amounts of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health and blood clotting. (13)

5. Swiss chard

  • Raw: 7% DV (29mg magnesium) per cup
  • Boiled: 36% DV (150mg magnesium) per cup (14)

Chard is a leafy green vegetable that has a large leaf with a bright red stem running through it, and it is packed with magnesium, antioxidants, and other vitamins. Together, these nutrients support healthy vision, strengthen the immune system, and even guard against cancer. It will help bulk up your salad rather than add to your waistline because it is also a rich source of fiber (like other greens). (15)

6. Edamame

  • Frozen (prepared): 12% DV (50 mg magnesium) per ½ cup

These soybean pods are a fantastic source of magnesium, folate, and potassium, making them a perfect snack for any time and occasion. Your risk of developing heart disease can be lowered by these nutrients’ ability to control blood pressure and improve heart health. Additionally, this well-liked appetizer offers a staggering 9 g of protein per half-cup. While frozen edamame will work all year round, fresh edamame is best in the summer when it’s in season. (16, 17)

7. Black beans

  • Cooked black beans: 30% DV (1200 mg magnesium) per one cup serving

Black beans, which are regarded as both a carbohydrate and a protein, are also rich in fiber and a good source of amino acids (which form proteins).

Black beans are very nutrient dense and one serving has over 20% of the Daily Value for folate, manganese, thiamine, phosphorus, and iron.

Approximately 60% of your body’s magnesium is stored in your bones. This stresses the importance of maintaining our bone health. Fortunately, black beans provide the magnesium that our bodies need while also keeping our bones strong. Black beans have about 60 mg of magnesium and over 2 mg of iron per half cup serving. (18, 19)

8. Oily fish

In addition to being a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, oily fish is also a great source of vitamins and minerals like magnesium. Similar to magnesium, these fatty acids are crucial for numerous brain activities. For a healthy brain, try to consume at least two meals of oily fish every week. (20)

  • Salmon – 95mg magnesium per 100g (21)
  • Herring – 46mg magnesium per 100g (22)
  • Sardines – 39mg magnesium per 100g (23)

9. Dark chocolate

Studies have proven that dark chocolate is an excellent source of magnesium, and the darker the chocolate, the higher the magnesium content. The name “cocoa beans” is a bit misleading because they are actually the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree, not a legume or a bean. Chia pudding with dark chocolate is a delicious way to get your magnesium for breakfast or dessert. (24)

  • 70-85% cocoa solids: 228mg/100g
  • 60-69% cocoa solids: 176mg/100g
  • 45-50% cocoa solids: 146mg/100g

10. Avocado

Avocado is a fruit with a rather neutral flavor that is excellent for salads, toast, and even adding a touch of texture to cold pasta dishes. The average avocado weighs about 170g and has a magnesium content of 29 mg per 100g. (25, 26)

11. Bananas

A medium-sized banana contains 32 mg (or 8% DV) of magnesium, 10.3 mg of vitamin C (11.4 percent DV), and 3 g (12 percent) of fiber, according to the USDA.Bananas are best known for their high potassium content, which is good for the heart and bones. This low-calorie, high-magnesium dish is perfect for a portable breakfast or quick on-the-go snack because it only has about 105 calories. The USDA recommends including other fruits that contain magnesium in your diet, such as apples. (27)

12. Wheat bran

Wheat bran is a wonderful source of magnesium and other minerals, including manganese, selenium, and phosphorus.

The amount of magnesium in one ounce (28 grams) of wheat bran is roughly 171 milligrams (43 DV). With only 60 calories, one serving of this food item provides almost half of your daily value (DV) requirement. As a prebiotic, wheat bran promotes the health of your digestive system. (28)

13. Dried sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are a common addition to meals and snacks. They have a high magnesium content, with 150 mg per cup of dry sunflower seeds (37 percent DV). (29)

Moreover, sunflower seeds have very few calories, yet each serving is jam-packed with minerals like vitamin E, thiamine, manganese, and copper. They can be eaten raw, sprouted, roasted, toasted, and so on. They are often processed into sunflower seed butter, which during the past ten years has gained popularity as an alternative to other nut butters.

14. Flaxseed

One of the first cultivated superfoods in the world, flaxseed, also known as linseed, has been consumed for at least 6,000 years. One serving, or two tablespoons of whole, unground flaxseed, contains approximately 80 mg of magnesium (20% DV). (30, 31)

Experts typically recommend consuming ground flaxseed rather than whole flaxseed to get the most health benefits. They can be included in a variety of foods, including oatmeal, baked products, meat coatings, yogurt, and more.

15. Amaranth

According to some estimates, this gluten-free grain was developed between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago and was an important food crop for the Aztecs. It’s regaining popularity because of its nutritional and health advantages. One cup (246 grams) of boiled amaranth grains contains 160 milligrams of magnesium, which is 40% of the daily value. (32)

16. Tofu

Tofu is quite popular among vegetarians, mainly because it is rich in protein. However, most people are surprised to learn that it is also an excellent source of magnesium, with a 100-gram (3.5 ounce) providing 13% of the RDI or 53 mg of magnesium. (33)

17. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, which most people don’t get enough of in their diet. A 1-ounce serving provides 37% of the RDI of magnesium. The high magnesium content aids in lowering and regulating blood pressure. This explains why magnesium-rich diets are linked to a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. (34)

18. Chia seeds

A 100g serving of chia contains 335mg of magnesium. Therefore, eating four tablespoons of chia seeds per day supplies your body with 50% of the RDA for magnesium. (35)

For a quick comparison, consider spinach and other leafy greens, which are regarded as excellent sources of magnesium. One cup of raw spinach contains about 25 mg of magnesium. Therefore, you need 6.5 cups of spinach to provide the same amount of magnesium as 4 TBS of chia seeds!

19. Brown Rice

Brown rice, as opposed to white rice, is usually a rich source of magnesium. A half cup of cooked brown rice provides about 11% of the necessary daily intake of magnesium. Numerous essential body processes require magnesium, including cellular production, muscular contraction, blood coagulation, and bone development. (36)

20. Milk (non-fat)

Milk and other dairy products are one of the most important nutritional sources of magnesium, especially for kids, making up between 10% and 30% of the total daily intake.  Studies on rats and humans suggest that the lactose in dairy products may also aid in the absorption of magnesium.

The magnesium content in milk varies depending on its fat content. One-percent fat milk contains the highest amount of magnesium per cup, at 39 mg. One cup of non-fat milk comes in second at 27 mg, and a cup of whole milk contains about 24 mg. (37)


Since our body has a mechanism for getting rid of any extra magnesium through the kidneys, magnesium that is naturally present in food is not hazardous and does not need to be limited. However, taking supplements in the wrong doses can be dangerous.

Eating the variety of foods discussed in this guide is the best method to meet your nutritional requirements. Consult a doctor about supplements if you are concerned about your magnesium levels or believe you may be deficient.




John Davis