Magnesium is probably a much lesser known nutrient than many of its famous counterparts such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and calcium. This could be because it is not one of the key nutrients listed on the nutritional panels on processed foods. But the truth is, we should talk about magnesium and bring more awareness to the importance of having enough of this mineral in our bodies.
The majority of the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones, muscles and soft tissues. Although quite abundant in nature, it is easy to become deficient in magnesium because either we do not consume enough magnesium-rich foods. Or our lifestyle choices such as consuming too much caffeine or alcohol and exposure to high levels of stress can unintentionally deplete our magnesium stores. Prolonged low levels of magnesium have been shown to be associated with various serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.
Now that you know how essential magnesium is for your body, what can you do to make sure that you consume enough of this critically wonderful nutrient? Fortunately, adding magnesium-rich foods into your daily diet is a very simple way to start getting the level of magnesium in your body back in check. [1,2,3]
Here’s a list of the 25 Top Magnesium-Rich Foods
1. Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is essentially the embryo of the seed and it contains several essential nutrients such as vitamin E, folate and of course magnesium. Wheat germ is now available in supermarkets and you can prepare them like you would prepare cereal. You can also replace some of your flour with wheat germ in your baked goods’ recipes. A tablespoon of wheat germ already provides about 10% of your daily required amount of magnesium.
2. Cocoa Powder
Now there might be another “excuse” for you to snack on chocolate. But then again, I am not referring to the sugar-loaded chocolate bars or candy. The raw cacao nibs and cocoa powder are what contain high amounts of magnesium. So a cup of homemade hot chocolate or adding cocoa nibs to your smoothies would be ideal ways to boost your magnesium intake through diet.
We all know that nuts are very healthy snacks. Now you have another reason to snack away on them. Nuts are one of the best food sources of magnesium especially almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios. So many choices; I am sure there is a type of nut that you like that can become your magnesium buddy.
4. Whole Grains
Most whole grains are great food sources of magnesium. Therefore, always choose whole grain versions over refined versions of a food item such as bread and pasta. Examples of whole grains that are high in magnesium include quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, millet, and barley. Wild rice, quinoa, and millet can be prepared plain and alone to replace the white rice or pasta at your dinner table. Add barley to your chili or soups for some added yummy texture.
One of my favorite berries are blackberries because they have just the right amount of sweetness, they store well in the fridge and it is one of those very few fruits and vegetables in the black/purple color group. Remember…eat the colors of the rainbow? One cup of blackberries contains about 7% of your daily required amount of magnesium. So start munching on them or add them to your smoothies!
Similar to nuts, seeds like pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are also great food sources of magnesium. Sesame seeds are usually used in Asian cuisine but they can be easily added to your smoothies as well. Likewise, for pumpkin seeds, add them to your smoothies or sprinkle them on your salads for a quick twist and added texture. 1/8 of a cup of pumpkin seeds already boast more than 90 mg of magnesium.
7. Lima Beans
Also known as butter beans, lima beans are broad and flat looking beans that are super delicious. There are two common varieties that are available in the market – (1) a white/yellowish variety and (2) green and smaller variety. Lima beans are commonly used in soups and stews due to their ability to withstand long cooking without losing its texture. One cup of lima beans provides a whopping 20% of your daily required amount of magnesium.
Green peas are probably one of the very first vegetables that you were introduced to growing up. They are so easy to find and so easy to store (because they come frozen!) and best of all, so easy to add to just about any dish you make in the kitchen. One cup of green peas provides about 10% of your daily required amount of magnesium. So go ahead and start adding some to your soups, salads, stews and even egg scramble in the morning.
Lentils are probably one of my favorite legumes. There are so many varieties that it is almost impossible to get bored eating them every day. There are yellow ones, red ones, green ones, brown ones, and black ones. The different types of lentils offer opportunities for different culinary applications because their consistencies are different and their tolerance for long cooking times differ. And one cup of cooked lentils provides almost 20% of your daily required amount of magnesium. That makes it even better!
10. Black-Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas may make a Southern New Year’s Day dish to represent good luck for the coming year. But it is time to rethink about eating black-eyed peas just for the New Year. Half a cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides a whopping 45 mg of magnesium. So maybe it is time to start enjoying them all year round. Use them like you would other types of beans such as black beans and kidney beans. Add them to chili to make it vegetarian, add them to soups and salads for a nice hearty texture. Let them be on your dinner table all year round!
Oatmeal is such a popular breakfast choice item for good reason. One cup of oatmeal provides a wide array of nutrients that your body needs to get your day started right, including a healthy amount of magnesium. So keep chowing down that hearty bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every day or start giving it a try today if you have never had it before.
12. Brussels Sprouts
Do you not like Brussels sprouts like Elmo from Sesame Street? Here might be another reason to consider giving Brussels sprouts another try. One cup of Brussels sprouts can provide you with up to 5% of your daily required amount of magnesium. And you already know the importance of consuming enough magnesium. So roast up some of these amazing mini cabbages in your oven today.
13. Beet Greens
Ever bought a bundle of beets with their leaves still attached but not sure what to do with it? Cook it like you would spinach and other leafy greens. They are tasty and are good for you. Beet greens do not taste bitter like some varieties of dark leafy greens like kale. One cup of cooked beet greens provides your body with more than 20% of your daily required amount of magnesium. Now that’s a reason to not toss those beautiful green leaves above your sweet beetroot.
Are you a fan of pumpernickel bread? If not, now you might just have the right reason to give it a try and fall in love with it. One thin slice of pumpernickel bread can provide your morning with a little more than 2% of your daily magnesium needs. Pumpernickel bread is usually a heavier bread and can provide you with more satiety in the morning.
15. Leafy Greens – Spinach, chard and collards
Leafy greens are so nutritious that you should already be including them in your diet. Leafy greens are available all year round and you can easily find spinach, collard greens, and swiss chards at your local supermarkets. They are very rich in magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach can provide you with as much as 155mg of magnesium. So add them to your stir-fries or soups or just enjoy them crisp in your salad.
The turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates. One medium turnip is capable of providing about 3% of your daily magnesium needs. Prepare and enjoy this wonderful root vegetable like you would other root vegetables such as celery root, potatoes, carrots, and sunchokes. Try adding this to your mash potatoes today to give it that special element.
Dates are these bite-sized and sweet red fruits that can be eaten out-of-hand or pitted and stuffed with yummy fillings such as nuts, candied orange, lemon peel, tahini, marzipan or even cream cheese. You will be surprised how versatile dates are in the kitchen. They provide natural sweetness to any dish yet still provide a wide array of nutrients to your body, including magnesium. One cup of chopped red dates can provide you with almost 15% of your daily magnesium needs.
Fresh peaches are especially delightful when they are in season during summer. When they are not, I sometimes get the frozen ones to make smoothies. Peaches are very nutritious fruits and are very sweet when they are in season. One medium peach boasts about 3% of your daily required amount of magnesium.
Now this one should be easy to add to your diet if you are not already enjoying creamy buttery avocado. One medium avocado can provide your body with more than 50 mg magnesium, which represents about 15% of your daily requirement of magnesium.
20. Coconut meat
In Asia and other more tropical areas, fresh coconuts are readily available and all year round. However, in other parts of the world where winter happens, fresh coconuts are almost impossible to find. the meat from one medium fresh coconut contains a whopping 30% of your daily required amount of magnesium.
Okra…think gumbo. This deliciously vegetable is what gives gumbo the gooey texture. One cup of okra provides almost 15% of daily-required magnesium amount. Okra can also be sliced and simply stir-fried. They can also be lightly breaded and deep fried for an extra crunch. However you decide to prepare your okra, this is one delicious mouthful of magnesium that I promise you will like.
Are you looking for another healthy sweet snack? How about some good old raisins? Raisins are simply dried grapes and used mainly as a sweet component in baked goods. Sometimes you can also find them in savory dishes such as rice dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine. One cup of raisins has about 13% of your daily required amount of magnesium. So snack on!
Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent yet appealing flavor as a seasoning component or condiment. But did you know that garlic is also a great food source of magnesium? 100 grams of garlic can provide up to 25mg of magnesium for your body. So why not amp up your use of garlic today and try making some garlic soup?
Prunes are not just great for relieving constipation. One cup of pitted raisins can provide you with almost 20% of your daily required amount of magnesium. Snack on them as is or stuff them with yummy nut fillings for a more elegant complete snack.
Even though banana is only a mediocre food source of magnesium compared to the rest of the magnesium-rich foods on this list, it is very accessible and palatable to a lot of people, making it a sustainable food source of magnesium for a lot of people. One medium banana contains about 32 mg of magnesium.
Magnesium-Rich Food Recipes
Here are some delish recipes high in magnesium:
- Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs
- Rainbow Salad Recipe
- Raw Kale Salad
- Tomato Avocado Salad
- Chocolate Coconut Pudding
With this wonderful list of easily available food sources of magnesium, you should feel confident about getting your magnesium levels back in check! And most important, surprisingly these foods are readily accessible in your local supermarket or health food store. With this knowledge, there is no reason to short change yourself and your body on this important nutrient!.
Read more about the amazing benefits of magnesium in my article the Many Health Benefits of Magnesium.
Need more help putting your daily dose of magnesium together. CONTACT ME and we’ll get you started on a meal plan that includes this important mineral and more.
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