Magnesium-Rich Foods: The Top 10 Foods High in Magnesium

foods that are rich in magnesium

Discover the best foods high in magnesium that you can incorporate into your everyday meals to reap the numerous health benefits of this essential mineral.

Let’s explore magnesium’s importance, its role in our body, and the top 10 nutritional sources of magnesium to include in your diet.

Why is Magnesium Important for Our Health?

The role of magnesium in our body

Magnesium is a vital nutrient that plays a significant role in our body’s functions, as the body doesn’t make magnesium on its own. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions, regulating muscle and nerve functions, controlling blood sugar levels, and maintaining bone health, among other vital processes.

Being an electrolyte, magnesium also works in harmony with potassium, calcium, and sodium to support overall health and wellness.

Magnesium deficiency: causes and symptoms

Low magnesium levels, or magnesium deficiency, can lead to various health problems. Some common causes of deficiency include poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic stress.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may manifest as fatigue, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and frequent headaches.

Prolonged deficiency can contribute to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and hypertension.

Potential health benefits of magnesium intake

Regular intake of magnesium-rich foods can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve overall health.

Maintaining optimal magnesium levels can have some potential benefits, including lower blood pressure, enhanced bone strength, reduced muscle cramps, better sleep quality, and improved mood and cognitive function.

Top 10 List of Foods Containing Magnesium

1. Spinach and other leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are not only packed with vitamins and minerals but also high in magnesium. Just one cup of cooked spinach contains about 157 mg (milligrams) of magnesium, which is approximately 39% of the daily recommended intake.

2. Dark chocolate and its magnesium content

Indulging in dark chocolate not only satisfies your sweet tooth but also provides you with a good source of magnesium. A 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% can contain as much as 64 mg of magnesium.

Additionally, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your body from free radicals and oxidative stress.

3. Avocado: a tasty source of magnesium

Loaded with healthy fats, fibre, and various essential nutrients, avocados are a tasty magnesium source.

One medium-sized avocado provides approximately 58 mg of magnesium, which is about 14% of the recommended daily value.

4. Magnesium in nuts

Nuts, particularly almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts, rank among the magnesium-rich foods.

Consuming an ounce of cashews can provide 82 mg of magnesium, about 20% of the recommended daily intake. Nuts are also a great source of healthy fats, fibre, and proteins.

Nut butter made from these options is also a great way to boost your magnesium intake. However, caution is needed when selecting nut butter, as many popular options include additives and refined oils, which can negate the positive effects.

5. Legumes and their magnesium-rich benefits

Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas contain significant amounts of magnesium in addition to other essential nutrients.

For instance, one cup of cooked black beans contains around 120 mg of magnesium, along with fibre, proteins, and other minerals, whilst helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

6. Whole grains as a good source of magnesium

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley, and whole wheat products contain magnesium in varying amounts.

For example, one cup of cooked quinoa holds approximately 118 mg of magnesium. Incorporating whole grains into your diet not only boosts your magnesium intake but also supports heart health and general well-being.

7. Seeds: nutrient-dense and high in magnesium

Seeds such as flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds make for terrific magnesium-rich foods.

A single ounce of pumpkin seeds consists of roughly 156 mg of magnesium, making them an ideal snack option for those looking to increase their daily magnesium intake.

8. Fish and seafood with rich magnesium levels

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and halibut not only provide omega-3 fatty acids and proteins but are also high in magnesium.

For example, one 6-ounce serving of cooked salmon contains about 106 mg of magnesium, contributing to improved heart and brain health.

9. Bananas and magnesium

Though bananas are more famous for their potassium content, they also contain a fair amount of magnesium.

A medium-sized banana offers around 32 mg of magnesium, which contributes to muscle and nerve function and overall nutrition. If possible, look for organic bananas, as their nutrient content might be more favourable. And they taste better too!

10. Magnesium found in dairy products

Milk, yoghurt, and other dairy products are not only great sources of calcium but also contain magnesium.

One cup of low-fat yoghurt provides approximately 42 mg of magnesium in addition to other beneficial nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and probiotic bacteria.

Yoghurt is also a source of probiotic bacteria. Learn more about gut-friendly bacteria.

How Much Magnesium Do We Need Daily?

Recommended daily intake of magnesium

The recommended daily intake of magnesium varies depending on age, sex, and nutritional requirements.

On average, adult men should aim for 360-400 mg of magnesium per day, while adult women should strive for 300-320 mg per day.

Factors that influence magnesium requirements

Factors such as physical activity levels, stress, and certain health conditions may alter the daily magnesium requirements.

Pregnant women, athletes, and individuals with digestive disorders may need a more significant magnesium intake to ensure optimal health.

Maximising magnesium absorption

To maximise magnesium absorption, try to consume magnesium-rich foods throughout the day. Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, which can inhibit magnesium absorption.

Can I get enough magnesium from water?

Sources of magnesium in water

The magnesium content in drinking water can vary depending on the source. Groundwater naturally contains minerals like magnesium, which dissolve into the water as it passes through soil and rocks.

Magnesium levels in tap and bottled water can differ depending on the water source. In general, mineral water tends to have a higher magnesium content compared to tap and bottled water, providing an additional source of magnesium in your diet.

Drinking water can contribute to your daily magnesium intake, but it should not be considered a primary source. Incorporating magnesium-rich foods and considering magnesium supplements, if necessary, should remain the primary sources of this vital nutrient.

Should I take magnesium supplements?

When to consider magnesium supplements

While obtaining magnesium from food sources is ideal, magnesium supplements can be considered for individuals who have difficulty meeting their daily requirements through diet alone.

Due to intensive farming practices, the soil has been depleted of many nutrients, including magnesium, resulting in lower magnesium content in harvested foods. This is one of the reasons why supplementation is becoming increasingly important.

Seek advice from a healthcare professional before starting magnesium supplementation.

The pros and cons of magnesium supplements

Magnesium supplements can be a convenient way to ensure optimal magnesium levels.

However, an excessive intake of magnesium through supplementation can potentially lead to gastrointestinal distress and other side effects such as diarrhoea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

Balance is crucial in maintaining proper magnesium levels.

How to choose the right magnesium supplement

To pick the most suitable magnesium supplement, consult with a healthcare professional or pharmacist to determine the best type and dosage for you.

Common forms of magnesium supplements include magnesium glycinate, citrate, and oxide, with varying absorption rates and benefits.


Magnesium-rich foods can be key to maintaining your health and vitality as you age. By incorporating more of these nutritious options into your daily diet, you’ll reap the benefits of improved bone, heart, and brain health while also boosting your mood and sleep quality.

Overall, making magnesium-rich foods a priority in your meal planning is one of the best steps you can take to support graceful ageing and continued well-being.  Focus on these delicious food choices and make them a habit—your body and mind will thank you for it.

The good news is that most people can meet their magnesium needs through diet alone without requiring supplements. However, for those who cannot, magnesium supplements may be useful to complement your diet under the guidance of your doctor.

Should you need a magnesium supplement, you can consider our own Epsilon Life Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium glycinate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that is non-laxative. It is gentle on the stomach and ideal if you experience digestive issues or discomfort from other magnesium supplements. Our magnesium glycinate provides 55mg of elemental magnesium per capsule; it is free from artificial fillers and non-buffered (not mixed with lesser forms of magnesium).

More posts like this

chelated magnesium benefits

Uncovering the Benefits of Chelated Magnesium

Read more
magnesium for menopause perimenopause benefits supplements foods hot flashes

The Importance of Magnesium During Menopause: Benefits, Efficacy, and Side Effects

Read more
probiotic bacteria strains benefits

Probiotic Bacteria Strains: Types, Benefits, and Common Uses

Read more