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8 Foods High in Magnesium to Include in Your Diet

Are you eating these 8 foods high in magnesium that are good for your health? Get the scoop on this nutrition superstar & learn how to boost your health with marvelous magnesium-rich foods, recipes, and supplements if needed.

Foods high in magnesium. Bowl of oatmeal with nuts and seeds in a white bowl
This Chia Oatmeal Power Bowl with Maple Peanut Butter Swirl {OMG YUM!} is topped with pumpkin seeds~one of my favorite foods high in magnesium.

The Health Benefits of Magnesium

Why magnesium is an important mineral and what it does…

Magnesium regulates blood pressure, maintains bone health, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps your heart beating steady. It also regulates blood glucose levels, keeps you regular {we’re talking bathroom regular here}, and helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function.  

The bottom line: Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in our bodies, and is essential for hundreds of biochemical reactions to maintain health.  Magnesium truly is MARVELOUS!

Health conditions magnesium might help…

MIGRAINES

Research has suggested that up to 50% of people with migraines may be deficient in magnesium. And, several studies suggest that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people with low levels of magnesium. Dosages typically used in studies were 600 mg/day.

If you suffer from migraines {like I do}, trying boosting your intake of magnesium rich foods first, to see if it lessens the frequency of your headaches. If not, you may want to consider trying a magnesium supplement.

DIABETES

Individuals with diabetes are typically magnesium deficient, and some studies have suggested magnesium supplementation may help with insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

A 2015 double-blind placebo-controlled study looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on 116 people with pre-diabetes found magnesium supplementation improved blood sugar levels and insulin resistance It’s important to note, that significant improvements were only seen in people who had low magnesium levels at the start of the study.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE & HEART HEALTH

Although reductions are small, some studies have suggested that supplemental magnesium may also help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. The median dose of magnesium used in these studies was 368 mg/day.

In addition, epidemiological studies, and meta-analyses have associated high magnesium intake with a lowered risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, along with hypertension.

OSTEOPOROSIS

Although studies are limited, bone mineral density may be increased in postmenopausal women with increased intake of foods high in magnesium, as well as magnesium supplements.

CONSTIPATION

Fluids, fiber rich foods, exercise, and, sometimes, probiotics, are my go-to recommendations for alleviating constipation. However, when that doesn’t work, I’ll recommend foods high in magnesium, along with a magnesium supplement, to help with constipation.

SLEEP

Did you know that magnesium helps regulate melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle? In addition, magnesium may help dampen anxiety by binding to the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).

While sleep studies with supplemental magnesium are limited, one study of 45 older adults showed improvement in subjective measures of insomnia after taking 500 mg of magnesium daily for 8 weeks. And, anecdotally, many of my clients and readers have stated supplementing with magnesium at night helps them sleep. On a personal note, I’ve found it to be helpful as well.

You may also like: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Sleep Tips for Better Health

Foods high in magnesium. Colorful salad with greens, quinoa, nuts, and seeds.
Your body will thank you for eating this delicious magnesium-rich Superfood Quinoa Salad!

Are you getting enough magnesium in your diet?

Dietary studies of people in the US have consistently shown that magnesium intakes are less than the recommended amounts. In addition, the following groups of people are at risk for magnesium deficiency:

  • Gastrointestinal diseases including Crohn’s and celiac.
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Older adults

The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for magnesium in adults is as follows:

  • Women 19-30, 310 mg/day
  • Women 31+ 320 mg/day
  • Men 19-20 400 mg/day
  • Men 31+ 420 mg/day

And, while it’s optimal to eat these 8 foods high in magnesium (listed below), if you can’t meet your needs through diet alone, consider a supplement as needed.

While magnesium oxide is inexpensive, it’s not well absorbed, plus it may cause diarrhea. Consider a chelated form {i.e. magnesium glycinate or arginate}, magnesium citrate {good for constipation}, or magnesium orotate if you need to supplement your diet.

However, if you don’t like swallowing pills, you may also consider a powered magnesium supplement, like OMG! Nutrition Powdered Magnesium Bisclycinate Chelate.

Note: Although supplemental magnesium is generally safe, check with your physician or registered dietitian first to determine if, what, and how much magnesium supplementation is needed, especially if you are taking diuretics, heart medications, or antibiotics.

I offer on-line supplement consultations with access to my professional grade supplements, so please get in touch if you’d like to set a consultation up!

8 Delicious Foods High in Magnesium

Seriously addictive greens! Spicy Kale and Swiss Chard Saute | Healthy recipes, gluten free, vegan, paleo, low FODMAP option
This Spicy Kale and Swiss Chard Saute is loaded with magnesium rich leafy greens, and is part of a migraine-friendly diet!

Aim for ~400 mg/day of magnesium from these foods high in magnesium…

FOODS HIGH IN MAGNESIUMSERVING SIZEAMOUNT OF MAGNESIUM
Pumpkin Seeds1/4 cup190 mg
Spinach & Swiss Chard1 cup (raw)150 mg
Soybeans1 cup148 mg
Black Beans1 cup129 mg
Sesame Seeds1/4 cup126 mg
Quinoa1 cup118 mg
Cashew Nuts1 cup116 mg
Sunflower Seeds1/4 cup114 mg

Other foods high in magnesium you should include in your diet are Dark chocolate {oh, yeah!}, Navy Beans, Tempeh, Buckwheat, Almonds, and Pinto Beans

Want more delicious recipes featuring foods high in magnesium?  Of course you do!

Foods High in Magnesium | Breakfast

Warm Tropical Wild Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Sundae

Foods High in Magnesium | Lunch & Dinner

SuperSaladMain2

Foods High in Magnesium | Snacks & Desserts

Let’s Chat!

Which of these foods high in magnesium do you eat regularly?  Do you get enough magnesium in your diet?  Do you supplement with magnesium to help with any health conditions?  Which of these recipes would you most like to try??

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing. Thanks so much for your support!

15 thoughts on “8 Foods High in Magnesium to Include in Your Diet”

  1. fitnesshealthforever

    This is an informative post. Got a lot of info and details from here. Thank you for sharing this and looking forward to reading more of your post.

  2. Great follow-up post on an unsung nutrient. And I am so glad that you, like me, are a real food advocate instead of recommending supplements. Time and place for sure but so much tastier and better absorbed (usually) from quality real foods. Cheers for including my little ol’ recipe among these fabulous and incredibly tempting ones. I am in sterling company. Your good self included xx

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