One of the best ways to raise your magnesium levels is to simply eat more foods high in magnesium content.
Why would you want more magnesium, though?
Well, to start, magnesium is an important component of overall health, regulating and interacting in hundreds of chemical processes throughout the human body.
It is responsible for proper function and repair of muscle and nerve tissue, including the heart. It's also an important factor in protecting blood vessels, regulating blood pressure and even aids in the prevention of diabetes.
Because it is so important to our health, it is essential to make sure we get enough magnesium in our diet.
The easiest way to do that is to simply eat more magnesium-rich foods, especially since magnesium is often more easily absorbed from healthy eating rather than through supplements.
By adding a few leafy greens or tossing a handful of nuts on a salad, foods high in magnesium are easy to incorporate into even the busiest lifestyle.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of the advice of a healthcare professional. While my wife and I have been taking magnesium supplements every day for years, I can't say how they might affect you. Always consult a doctor if you have health concerns: don't try to self-diagnose!
Foods High In Magnesium: Infographic
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Foods High In Magnesium: Detail
So what is the best food for magnesium deficiency?
For starters, the USDA has a nutrient database where you can see which foods are high in any number of vitamins or minerals, including magnesium.
Below are 11 of the more interesting (and tasty!) they list as good food sources of magnesium:
- Molasses, the leftovers from the sugar refining process, may top the list for the highest concentration of magnesium. The USDA Nutrient Database lists a whopping 816 mg per cup.
- Swiss Chard is a delicious leafy green. Be sure to incorporate the stems in your dishes as well. It packs a hefty 150 mg per cup.
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are a healthy, crunchy snack and with 649 mg of magnesium in one cup, they're easy to include into your day.
- Edamame, steamed and salted soybeans, are a popular start to the meal for sushi lovers. Each cup contains 99 mg.
- Buckwheat is a whole grain that is safe for those with wheat allergies. Whole buckwheat is very easy to prepare. One cup has 393 mg of magnesium.
- Sesame Seeds, known as benne in the southern United States, packs 443 mg per cup.
- Quinoa is a tiny round grain that cooks much like rice. It contains 118 mg of magnesium in each cup.
- Salmon is a tender mild fish with flaky, pink flesh. It boasts 104 mg per 3 oz. serving.
- Roasted Turkey Breast contains 242 mg per breast, approximately 30 ounces.
- Almonds, a mild, delicate nut, have 430 mg per cup.
- Dark Chocolate, great combined with almonds, have 13 mg per 1.45 ounce serving.
High-Magnesium Meal Ideas
So how can you incorporate these high-magnesium foods into your diet? Below are some quick and easy ideas for using food to increase magnesium levels.
Molasses packs a punch of flavor, vitamins, and minerals into an easy to use package. It has been shown to lower glycemic index and insulin response in high carbohydrate foods.
All the wonderful things that are removed from sugar cane in the refining process of white sugar find a flavorful home in the dark depths of molasses. The resulting syrup is great as a glaze or a sweetener for homemade granola.
Incorporating molasses into your diet is easy. Try drizzling a spoonful over a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Add a dollop to plain yogurt for a touch of sweetness.
And would you believe barbecue is one of the foods high in magnesium? It can be, since molasses is also a key ingredient in many barbecue sauce recipes.
Swiss chard is a versatile green with antioxidant properties that brings a depth of flavor when added to soups, casseroles or one dish meals. Being related to beets and spinach, it's flavor lies somewhere between.
The leaves, as well as the stems, are edible and should be incorporated into your recipe for a crunchy bite. The stems can also be pickled or rolled in breadcrumbs and cheese and baked.
This leafy green is wonderful sauteed to crisp-tender with a touch of garlic and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. It makes a great side dish to poached fish.
It can also punch up the flavor of stews or soups. Just add a handful of chopped swiss chard to your favorite hearty bean soup and taste the difference.
Pumpkin seeds have been studied in connection with the fight against diabetes as they appear to have hypoglycemic properties.
If you're adventurous, they're easy to roast yourself in a standard oven. Like sunflower seeds, the hulls are popped open to eat the seed inside or you can purchase them already hulled for convenience.
While there isn't a full meal idea for pumpkins seeds, they can be added to so many dishes to enhance the flavor and texture.
Sprinkled on a salad, stirred into a trail mix or added to sauteed vegetables are just a few of the many ways to enjoy these delightful seeds.
Try grinding them up and combining with ground sesame seeds and salt for a seasoning blend to try on everything.
Of course, by the handful is a favorite and easy way to enjoy them as well.
Edamame, green soybeans still encased in their pods, are a great snack food and popular in most sushi restaurants.
They have been linked to the fight against certain types of cancers and have other health benefits as well.
Making them on your own is a breeze by steaming and then salting to taste. Pop them from the pod and enjoy.
They also make a great addition to salads, pureed into a dip or added to rice and noodle bowls.
Try substituting edamame for sweet peas in cold salad recipes like 7 Layer Salad. Stir them into a pilaf or add to any recipe that calls for sweet peas or beans.
Edamame is very versatile.
Buckwheat is a nutrition-dense food that is actually a seed. Reports suggest that it may help in regulating weight, reducing blood pressure and has possible implications in the treatment of Alzheimer's patients.
Related to rhubarb and sorrel it is great for those with an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten.
It can be prepared and used much the same as rice and makes an excellent and filling one-dish meal when combined with your favorite vegetables.
Other ways to enjoy are buckwheat pancakes for breakfast or in soba noodles for a cool refreshing noodle dish.
Sesame seeds have been prized for their oil for thousands of years and have antioxidant properties. They are also one my favorite foods high in magnesium content.
The crunchy seeds can be added to a variety of dishes to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of many foods.
In the southern US, they are known as benne seeds and are baked into a delightful slightly sweet wafer.
A sesame seed candy similar to a brittle is popular in the Mid-East and Mediterranean regions.
Sesame encrusted tuna, which may be listed as ahi, has gained popularity in recent years. The mild crunchy seeds make a tasty textural contrast to the delicate tuna.
Quinoa is a powerhouse grain of exceptional nutritional value.
Eaten for thousands of years there are literally hundreds of ways to enjoy the nutty flavor of this grain.
Quinoa is one of the few sources of a plant-based complete protein.
Preparation is similar to white rice with 2 parts water to 1 part grain and simmering for 20 minutes. The resulting tiny round grains can then be used as a base for a cold salad.
Leave it hot for a warming and delicious one-dish meal by adding chopped vegetables of your choice.
Here is another great place to tuck a few edamame for an even higher magnesium boost. Or use a bed of quinoa under a hearty stew or stir fry.
Quinoa truly can be enjoyed from morning to night in an endless variety of recipes.
One of the most popular fish, salmon is pink-fleshed fish, mild in taste and flaky when cooked.
High in omega-3 fatty acids, it is thought to help lower the risk of Alzheimer's.
Baked, steamed or poached are all great ways to prepare salmon. Finish it off with a yogurt-dill sauce and you have the start of a great meal.
A simple salad or pilaf rounds out the dinner. Add edamame and sesame seeds to the pilaf or salad to create a full plate of foods high in magnesium content.
Roasted turkey breast contains vital nutrients such as selenium which is important to thyroid function.
It's very versatile as an ingredient in hundreds of creative and delicious dishes. Sliced and served as the main component of your meal may be the easiest way to consume turkey, but don't stop there.
Of course, you can always tuck it into a sandwich for a quick bite.
For a bigger flavor punch, make a quick curried turkey salad by chopping into chunks and adding mayonnaise, a little curry powder, golden raisins and sliced almonds. This makes a very flavorful alternative to plain turkey.
Almonds are a superstar in the nutrition arena, effective against weight gain and great for your heart. They pack a ton of health benefits as well as being a great source of magnesium.
Because almonds are such a widely used ingredient, from sweet to savory to snack, adding more to your diet is a breeze.
Finely chopped almonds can be used as a breading for fish or poultry as well as mixed into bread and cookie doughs. Sliced or slivered they can be sprinkled on steamed vegetables, salads or added to a hot bowl of oatmeal.
If you need a little pick me up, though, eating almonds right out of the bag may be the best way to enjoy them.
Indulgent, decadent, dark chocolate is a personal favorite and aids in maintaining brain health. Rich, but not too sweet, it too can be used in a wide variety of ways.
Chopped, or in morsel form, it can be added to trail mix or granola as a healthy snack on the go. Who knew foods high in magnesium could be so tasty?
Of course, it can be eaten as is, in bar form, but as long as you're out buying almonds, why not pick up some dark chocolate almonds and treat yourself?
Which High-Magnesium Food Will You Choose?
Not only is magnesium easy to incorporate into your existing meal plan, it's also essential. Maintaining a healthy level of this important mineral allows you to function at your best and to recover quickly after over-exertion.
With all this information you may be wondering what foods high in magnesium to try first.
To begin, quinoa (being so versatile) is a great introduction to a more healthy lifestyle.
Punch up the flavor by substituting broth for water when preparing the quinoa. Stir in a handful of chopped vegetables, edamame, and sesame seeds near the end of the cook time.
Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds and a chopped green onion on top and enjoy a meal packed with protein, vitamins and, of course, magnesium!
As always, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your physician or other qualified medical professional to help determine your own optimal level of magnesium, and to see whether magnesium supplementation is right for you.
Carmen spence says
Greetings from Queensland, Australia,
I have suffered with Chronic Diarrhea, for most of my adult life, now for the last 5 years I have been so breathless I cannot do much at all, after researching on here, I believe the chronic diarrhea has depleted my magnesium and could be a cause of my breathlessness, however I purchased some Magnnesium Citrate and now my diarrhea is worse. Maybe I should just keep eating Almonds.
Julie Zink says
Magnesium citrate is used as a laxative. Only use it if you are constipated. If you need magnesium in your diet, eat food rich in it. Nuts, seeds, leafy greens, fatty fish, beans, brown rice, avocado and bananas. You can do a web search for other foods.
Magnesium suppliments are sold in most supermarkets. Check with your Doctor or Pharmacist for the correct dosage. As with any medicine or suppliments, always check with your Dr before starting to take something new. They know your current medicine and medical problems.
Spend $8 on a bottle of magnesium pills and continue your normal diet with one or two pills a day. 2000-3000mg a day is recommended for curing any symptoms you may believe are caused by a deficit. Do not worry about overdosing unless you are being stupid about it. Usually you will get diarrhea if you take more than you need, so that is how you can figure out where to stop.
Dee Fletcher says
I would like almonds, Dark chocolate and Sesame and pumpkin seeds the best, I think!
Vicki Bright says
I know I’m very low on magnesium. The dr just put me on 800 mg a day. My question is, I have knots in my arms and I cannot lift my right hand up. It just goes limp. Can this be caused from the low magnesium?
It takes about a month to bring your magnesium levels up after beginning to consume any increased amount of magnesium. Give it a try and compare how you feel in a month.
Hai Janaba says
Maybe you got something to do with your adrenal glands? Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is real by the way
What is AFS
I am seeing a functional health dr. and she keeps talking about the adrenal glands.
I am dizzy when I look down mostly.