Foods with Magnesium: Your Guide to the Best Foods with Magnesium

Did you know magnesium is an essential nutrient for your body’s basic functioning? Being an electrolyte, this substance helps maintain our internal balance and carry out hundreds of chemical reactions crucial to our wellbeing.

If you have low magnesium levels, your heart and brain health will suffer. Your metabolism’s frantic activity stops in its tracks. A wide variety of problems may surface, including fatigue and difficulty concentrating. To avoid magnesium deficiency, we suggest you include plenty of foods with magnesium in your diet. But do you know which ones are best for you?

Key Ideas

  • Magnesium is a crucial substance for our health which participates in hundreds of processes we need to live. Magnesium deficiency is more common in ill or disabled people, and it can have severe consequences for your health.
  • The foods with the highest magnesium content are nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and certain fruits, such as bananas.
  • If the food you eat is not enough to prevent magnesium deficiency, you can always opt for dietary supplements. Liposomal products can improve how well this electrolyte is absorbed.

The Best Foods with Magnesium

According to the National Health Service (1), an adult woman (19 to 64 years old) requires 270 milligrams of magnesium per day. On the other hand, an adult man of the same age would have to consume 300 mg of this electrolyte to meet his daily needs. These numbers may vary according to your health and other individual factors.

Your diet provides a convenient, effective way to meet these recommendations. But would you be able to tell me which foods contain the most magnesium? If not, we suggest you check this table. It’s full of hidden treasures chock-full of magnesium!

FoodMagnesium Content (In a 100-Gram Serving)Percentage of Recommended Dietary Allowance*
Pumpkin seeds550 mg183%
Dark chocolate230 mg77%
Spinach87 mg29%
Anchovies69 mg23%
Brown rice44 mg15%
Turkey35 mg12%
Bananas27 mg9%
*Percentage of the NHS’s recommendations for an adult man (300 mg) (1, 2).

Seeds and Nuts

Pumpkin seeds are an incredible magnesium source! With over 500 milligrams of the electrolyte per 100 grams, this snack also offers healthy fat, calcium, and iron. However, they are quite high in calories, so eat them in moderation. A handful a day is more than sufficient.

You can also opt for other seeds and nuts to meet your magnesium needs. Peanuts, almonds, soybeans, and edamame are all tasty nutritious alternatives to snacking on sweets.

people doing yoga
Magnesium is a crucial substance for our health which participates in hundreds of processes we need to live. (Source: Mahapatra: vz0rbclzg_w/ Unsplash.com)

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is as delicious as it is high in magnesium. Despite being quite high in calories, this sweet can provide many benefits in a healthy diet. For example, did you know that the countries with the highest chocolate consumption, like Switzerland and Sweden, are home to the highest numbers of Nobel Prize winners (3)?

Of course, we can’t claim that eating chocolate makes you brighter. Still, what we do know is that this treat is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, and other substances which may benefit your brain and circulation. Include it in your diet, but in moderation – and opt for versions with less sugar.

Spinach

Spinach is a wonderful source of magnesium, though it may not be everyone’s favourite food. These leafy vegetables are low in calories and high in fibre. Plus, they’re a good source of folic acid, a crucial vitamin for the creation of new cells.

To give your spinach a more grown-up touch, try sauteing them with a bit of olive oil and pine nuts. Delectable!

pure chocolate
Dark chocolate is as delicious as it is high in magnesium. (Source: Bykovets: yemxyb75xvi/ Unsplash.com)

Anchovies

Who would have guessed that the humble anchovy was so high in magnesium? These fish are much more than a simple topping for pizza and salad. In fact, anchovies are a great source of protein, healthy fat, and antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin E.

Stay away from salted anchovies, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure. Try buying the natural version – you’ll love them in stews, sauces, and casseroles.

Brown Rice

Brown rice can help you satisfy your body’s magnesium needs. This product is less processed than white rice, making it more filling (as it contains quite a lot of fibre). It also offers more B vitamins. Basically, brown rice helps you balance your diet and gives you energy for hours afterwards.

If you’re not a fan of rice, you can rely on other whole grains like oats and quinoa. These alternatives are full of magnesium (over 100 mg per serving) and can also help you build a healthier diet.

green salad
Swiss chard, spinach, almonds, and bananas are just some of the plant-based alternatives vegans and vegetarians have at their disposal. (Source: Shotsoflouis: 4vmqrwyfmdw/ Unsplash.com)

Turkey

On top of being low-calorie, turkey is also high in magnesium! In weight loss diets, we end up relying on cold cuts of turkey quite often. What’s more, this meat is very high in protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D.

Turkey is also a good option for those who have trouble sleeping. Curiously, it’s very high in tryptophan, a molecule involved in managing stress and sleep schedules (4).

Bananas

Wait a minute, I thought they were high in potassium? It’s true that this tropical fruit contains vast amounts of potassium, but its magnesium and vitamin C content is nothing to scoff at, either. Eat them on their own or make a banana smoothie with fat-free milk and a bit of cinnamon – it’s delightful!


What You Need to Know About Foods with Magnesium

Magnesium is a very popular topic these days, but questions remain about the nutrient. What happens to the magnesium in food when it’s cooked? Do vegans need magnesium supplements? Can I develop magnesium deficiency even if I eat healthy? This section is here to answer all of those questions.

alimentos con magnesio
The foods with the highest magnesium content are nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and certain fruits, such as bananas. (Source: Zueva: cy-okoica9o/ Unsplash.com)

Can I Get Enough Magnesium Through a Balanced Diet (5, 6)?

In most cases, yes. A healthy diet with plenty of magnesium-rich foods is more than sufficient to keep nutritional deficiencies at bay. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are your best allies in that fight.

However, some people’s diets may not be capable of providing all the magnesium they need. For example, you might have trouble keeping your magnesium levels balanced if you:

  • Go on very aggressive diets
  • Are very physically active
  • Are going through an emotionally stressful or physically exhausting period
  • Drink excessively

Chronic illness and regular medications can also affect your ability to absorb and store the magnesium you eat. As such, your electrolyte reserves could suffer if you:

  • Suffer from any intestinal conditions (such as coeliac or Crohn’s disease)
  • Have kidney problems
  • Are diabetic
  • Have asthma
  • Have had bypass surgery to treat obesity, or any other procedure which affects the intestines.
  • Take antibiotic, antacid medications to treat water retention (diuretics). These may be prescribed to treat cancers or other conditions.

In all of these cases, a healthy diet may not be enough to prevent magnesium deficits. Don’t hesitate to check with your doctor! They are well-equipped to give you a safe alternative for your body to enjoy healthy magnesium levels.

Is It Hard for Vegans to Eat Enough Foods with Magnesium?

Veganism is not synonymous with low magnesium levels! You’ll hundreds of vegan-friendly alternatives for enjoyable meals chock-full of nutrition. Swiss chard, spinach, almonds, and bananas are just some of the plant-based alternatives vegans and vegetarians have at their disposal. Preventing magnesium deficits has never been so easy (7)!

green and nutritious seeds
Pumpkin seeds are an incredible magnesium source! (Source: Chuttersnap: j8_u_vokukk/ Unsplash.com)

Does Cooking Food Reduce Its Magnesium Content?

Overcooking food will lower its magnesium content. However, the magnesium in vegetables is much easier for your intestines to absorb after being cooked and prepared properly.

So, how can you cook without removing magnesium from food? Very easily. Sauté or steam these foods rather than keeping them submerged in boiling water. If you’re making a vegetable soup, remember that much of the magnesium will “pass” from the food into the water. Drink the water left over from cooking, or add it to your soups and broths, to make sure you don’t waste even a bit of nutrition (8).

Is It Dangerous to Eat Too Much Magnesium?

If you are a healthy adult, your body is perfectly capable of regulating your magnesium levels. To date, no cases of magnesium poisoning have been discovered from eating magnesium-rich foods in the context of a balanced diet. What a relief! Enjoy your favourite meals with no worries (6).

What Are the Alternatives to Getting Magnesium Through Food?

Getting all of our essential nutrients through a balanced diet is always preferable. However, if your current eating habits don’t allow you to keep magnesium deficiency at bay, you can rely on supplements.

  • Composition: You’ll find supplements which only contain magnesium and others which combine it with multiple vitamins and minerals.
  • Format: Supplements are available as capsules, tablets, powders, liquids, and even gels.
  • Precautions: The magnesium in nutritional supplements may have side effects if used irresponsibly. As such, experts recommend a maximum magnesium intake from supplements of 350 mg per day (6).
  • Medical Supervision: Before taking any supplements, remember to check for your doctor’s approval.

Liposomal Magnesium: The Start of a Revolution?

Liposomes are microscopic “vehicles” whose composition is quite similar to our own cells. These micro-capsules can transport nutrients and improve their absorption in the digestive tract, even protecting them until they reach their destination inside the body.

Liposomal magnesium supplements “wrap” magnesium in an organic material. This allows more efficient absorption and ensures that the nutrient spends less time in contact with the intestinal walls, minimising the odds of side effects like stomach pain and gas (9, 10)


Our Conclusions

The list of bodily functions which rely on magnesium is practically endless. This electrolyte is so essential for our brains, muscles, and hearts that we ought to consume it daily to stay healthy.

Luckily, there are dozens of foods with magnesium which will delight the palates of vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike. If for any reason your diet does not offer you all the magnesium you need, ask your doctor about if you could take supplements. Use them responsibly and enjoy!

Do you think you get enough magnesium-rich food in your diet? What’s your opinion of liposome supplements? Feel free to tell us about your experiences, and don’t forget to share this article.

References(10)

  1. NHS Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. Available at:
  2. FoodData Central . Available at:
  3. Socci V, Tempesta D, Desideri G, De Gennaro L, Ferrara M. Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids . Vol. 4, Frontiers in Nutrition. Frontiers Media S.A.; 2017 .p. 16. Available at:
  4. Richard DM, Dawes MA, Mathias CW, Acheson A, Hill-Kapturczak N, Dougherty DM. L-tryptophan: Basic metabolic functions, behavioral research and therapeutic indications. Vol. 2, International Journal of Tryptophan Research. Libertas Academica Ltd.; 2009 . p. 45–60. Available at:
  5. Florentin M. Proton pump inhibitor-induced hypomagnesemia: A new challenge. World J Nephrol . 2012 ;1(6):151. Available at:
  6. Magnesium - Health Professional Fact Sheet. Available at
  7. Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición Gobierno de España CB. Base de Datos BEDCA . Base de Datos Española de Composición de Alimentos “Spanish Food Composition Database.” 2007. Available at:
  8. Kimura M, Itokawa Y. Cooking Losses of Minerals in Foods and Its Nutritional Significance. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) .1990;36:S25–33. Available at:
  9. Brilli E, Khadge S, Fabiano A, Zambito Y, Williams T, Tarantino G. Magnesium bioavailability after administration of sucrosomial® magnesium: results of an ex-vivo study and a comparative, double-blinded, cross-over study in healthy subjects. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci . 2018 Mar 1 ;22(6):1843–51. Available at:
  10. Iachetta G, Falanga A, Molino Y, Masse M, Jabès F, Mechioukhi Y, et al. gH625-liposomes as tool for pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide brain delivery. Sci Rep . 2019 Dec 1;9(1):1–13. Available at:
Previous Fruits with Vitamin C Next Food and Vitamins: Which Foods Are Most Nutritious?
NHS OFFICIAL WEBSITE
NHS Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. Available at:
Go to source
OFFICIAL WEBSITE
FoodData Central . Available at:
Go to source
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE
Socci V, Tempesta D, Desideri G, De Gennaro L, Ferrara M. Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids . Vol. 4, Frontiers in Nutrition. Frontiers Media S.A.; 2017 .p. 16. Available at:
Go to source
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE
Richard DM, Dawes MA, Mathias CW, Acheson A, Hill-Kapturczak N, Dougherty DM. L-tryptophan: Basic metabolic functions, behavioral research and therapeutic indications. Vol. 2, International Journal of Tryptophan Research. Libertas Academica Ltd.; 2009 . p. 45–60. Available at:
Go to source
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE
Florentin M. Proton pump inhibitor-induced hypomagnesemia: A new challenge. World J Nephrol . 2012 ;1(6):151. Available at:
Go to source
OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Magnesium - Health Professional Fact Sheet. Available at
Go to source
GOVERNMENT DATABASE
Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición Gobierno de España CB. Base de Datos BEDCA . Base de Datos Española de Composición de Alimentos “Spanish Food Composition Database.” 2007. Available at:
Go to source
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE
Kimura M, Itokawa Y. Cooking Losses of Minerals in Foods and Its Nutritional Significance. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) .1990;36:S25–33. Available at:
Go to source
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE
Brilli E, Khadge S, Fabiano A, Zambito Y, Williams T, Tarantino G. Magnesium bioavailability after administration of sucrosomial® magnesium: results of an ex-vivo study and a comparative, double-blinded, cross-over study in healthy subjects. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci . 2018 Mar 1 ;22(6):1843–51. Available at:
Go to source
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE
Iachetta G, Falanga A, Molino Y, Masse M, Jabès F, Mechioukhi Y, et al. gH625-liposomes as tool for pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide brain delivery. Sci Rep . 2019 Dec 1;9(1):1–13. Available at:
Go to source