Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in hundreds of chemical reactions throughout the body, but most Americans are deficient in it. Because magnesium helps maintain muscle and nerve function, as well as blood glucose levels already within the normal range, deficiencies can cause symptoms like muscle spasms, heart palpitations, anxiety, and depression. If you are concerned about your magnesium intake, use this list of the top 10 foods high in magnesium to help ensure you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet every day.
Almonds are high in magnesium, as well as protein and fiber. One cup of almonds contains approximately 140 calories, 21 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 cholesterol and 3 grams of fiber. Almonds also contain high amounts of vitamin E, copper and manganese.
What’s more, almonds contain only 6 percent sugar—which is less than most other nuts. It’s important to eat a variety of foods if you want to get enough nutrients from your diet; however, almonds can be part of a healthy diet because they’re packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for bodily function. Not only are almonds a good source of magnesium, but they also supply some iron and calcium as well.
While peanuts are high in fat, which many people steer clear of, they’re a good source of magnesium. You can eat them on their own as a snack or add them to your salads and other foods to boost your magnesium intake. Peanuts have 2 milligrams (mg) of magnesium per ounce — that’s 21 percent of your daily value (DV).
To get more bang for your buck when it comes to snacks with magnesium, go for peanut butter instead. The spread has 3 mg per tablespoon — that’s 29 percent DV — making it an even better choice than plain peanuts. You’ll want to choose creamy peanut butter though; chunky varieties have less than half as much at 1 mg per tablespoon (5 percent DV).
3) Pumpkin seeds
While they are high in calories and carbohydrates, pumpkin seeds are also a natural source of magnesium. These tasty seeds deliver more than 100 percent of your daily recommended value for magnesium per serving, making them one of your best sources for this nutrient.
To improve their health benefits even further, try baking pumpkin seeds instead of roasting them. Roasted pumpkin seeds contain more fat and calories than roasted; a 3-ounce serving has about 480 calories. Baked pumpkin seeds have fewer calories—about 390 per 3 ounces—and less saturated fat (1 g) and sodium (90 mg).
While it doesn’t make your bones stronger, as children are often told, spinach is loaded with magnesium—and it’s one of those nutrients that your body isn’t very good at absorbing. In fact, 75 percent of its magnesium remains unused by our bodies. If you don’t like spinach (we get it, it takes some getting used to), eat more dark leafy greens. Kale and Swiss chard are also good sources of magnesium.
Protein-rich tofu is a good vegetarian source of magnesium. Tofu contains around 56 milligrams of magnesium per cup and you can enjoy it raw, fried or grilled. Spinach: Enjoying some leafy greens like spinach is an easy way to add magnesium to your diet. 1 cup of cooked spinach contains around 77 milligrams of magnesium, which makes it one of top foods high in magnesium and also great for weight loss. Shellfish: Shellfish is actually quite high in many nutrients, but shellfish with white meat (such as shrimp) are especially rich in minerals like zinc and magnesium.
Yogurt contains large amounts of magnesium, and while it may not be one of your go-to foods that are high in magnesium, a cup of yogurt provides more than 75 percent of daily magnesium requirements. If you’re looking for more yogurt recipes to incorporate into your diet, check out our list of 12 healthy yogurt alternatives.
With just 122 calories and 0 grams of fat per serving, halibut can be a great option for anyone trying to lose weight. You’ll also get an impressive 276 milligrams of magnesium from just one serving. Salmon is another good choice if you’re looking for more recipes that are packed with magnesium; it has 350 milligrams per serving and only has 149 calories per serving. Some other foods high in magnesium include bananas, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes and beans (white, kidney or navy).
8) Brazil nuts
One of these nuts contains 620 milligrams of magnesium, which is about 25 percent of what’s recommended for men and 35 percent for women. It also provides some selenium, which has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis (this is a good example) , as well as some potassium and iron. Brazil nuts are a good choice if you need more than 300 milligrams per day—they’re pretty easy to snack on. Just remember that they do contain trace amounts of heavy metals, so don’t go overboard.
Mackerel is on top of my list of foods high in magnesium. A three-ounce serving of Mackerel has 152 milligrams of magnesium and only 135 calories, so it’s one food you can enjoy a few times per week without feeling guilty about it. If you enjoy eating fish, but don’t want to go through all that work, there are plenty of other seafood options out there: tilapia, mussels, scallops and tuna fish all have less than 200 calories per three-ounce serving and provide at least 150 milligrams of magnesium.
Great food that is not only high in magnesium but also provides you with omega-3 fatty acids, protein and other nutrients your body needs. Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to lower heart disease risk and may be able to help prevent certain cancers. A 3 oz serving of salmon has almost half your daily recommended amount of magnesium and it’s a quick and easy way to get plenty of magnesium without even realizing it. Paired with vegetables or whole grains, salmon is a healthy choice any day of the week.
The Bottom Line
Magnesium is an important mineral, and it may be the case that you are not getting enough of it.
It’s a relief that so many healthy foods will give you enough magnesium.
As long as you consume a variety of different healthy foods in the appropriate proportions, you should be able to keep your health in tip-top shape.