20 Best Foods Rich in Magnesium: A Complete Guide

Shweta kumari

November 10, 2023

Magnesium is an essential nutrient since it is a critical component of hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. For the organs to operate as efficiently as possible, magnesium must be a part of the diet. It aids in the synthesis of DNA, protein, and bone and controls the activity of muscles, nerves, and other cells. However, almost 90% of people worldwide are magnesium deficient. 

A deficiency of magnesium leads to a number of health issues. It alters the metabolic pathways that raise the risk of chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the body’s magnesium levels must remain at a healthy level. Including magnesium-rich foods in the diet plan can help satisfy the daily magnesium requirements. This article explores all the food items rich in magnesium, the recommended intakes, and the risks of overdosage.

Recommended Intakes of Magnesium

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the current recommended dietary allowance for magnesium is as follows:

Age Male Female
14-18 years410 mg360 mg (pregnancy- 400mg & lactation- 360mg)
19-30 years400 mg310 mg (pregnancy- 350 mg & lactation- 310 mg)
31-50 years420 mg320 mg  (pregnancy- 360 mg & lactation- 320 mg)
51+ years420 mg320 mg

20 Foods Rich in Magnesium


Spinach is one of the popular leafy greens that is rich in magnesium. The USDA states that 79 mg of magnesium is present in 100 g of spinach. In addition, spinach is a good source of potassium, iron, and vitamins C and E. It can aid with digestion, boost immunity, and possibly even have anticancer effects when consumed as part of a balanced diet. One can include spinach in the diet in various ways, such as by adding it to salad, soup, or omelette or just by blending it in a smoothie. 

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds have 550 mg of magnesium per 100 g, according to the USDA. One can eat up to 30 g of pumpkin seeds per day.  The high magnesium level of pumpkin seeds lowers the risk of diabetes by assisting in blood sugar regulation. The anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkin seeds can support the preservation of healthy liver, bladder, gastrointestinal tract, and joint function. 


Avocados have 29 mg of magnesium per 100 g. It has various other nutrients that make it an excellent addition to the daily diet. You can add them to scrambled eggs, on toast, guacamole, in smoothies, as toppings or fries, etc.

Like almonds and olive oil in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, avocados may also protect the heart. Research indicates that consuming avocado for breakfast lowers blood sugar and fat levels. About one-third of a medium avocado is the perfect amount of avocado to eat. 

Dark Chocolate

Most people are unaware of the benefits dark chocolate holds. 100 g of 70-80% dark chocolate contains 228 mg of magnesium. Consuming dark chocolate with a high cocoa content in moderation can help prevent heart disease by supplying antioxidants and minerals. Although dark chocolate includes antioxidants and minerals, it is also high in sugar and fat, making it a high-calorie snack.


One hundred grams of kale contains 32.7 mg of magnesium. For the maximum nutritional benefit, some study suggests consuming raw kale rather than cooked. Although cooking kale may reduce its vitamin C and antioxidant levels, cooked kale is still nutritious.


According to USDA, 100 g of cashew provides 292 mg of magnesium. Being a rich source of magnesium, it is an excellent mid-meal snack choice for individuals who are magnesium deficient. In addition to being high in plant protein, heart-healthy fats, and fibre, cashews are low in sugar. 

Pinto Bean

Pinto beans contain 176 mg of magnesium per 100 g serving. It is a chief ingredient in several popular dishes in India. Rich in fibre, protein, and many other necessary nutrients, pinto beans can lower blood sugar, encourage regular bowel movements, and reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.


Almonds provide 270 mg of magnesium per 100 g serving.  Almonds can be an essential part of a balanced diet since they provide 6g of plant-based protein, 4g of fibre, 13g of “healthy fats,” and a high concentration of vitamin E. Almonds contain calcium, potassium, and vitamin E, all of which may help decrease blood pressure and prevent heart disease.


Tofu is among the best vegan sources of magnesium. 100 g of tofu contains 350 mg of magnesium. Moreover, tofu is a complete source of protein and rich in other vital nutrients. One can consume 255-400 grams of tofu per day. The majority of tofu brands blend the protein and oil in the soymilk together using calcium sulphate. It provides you with an additional calcium boost in addition to the natural calcium content of tofu. 

Brown Rice

Brown rice contains 39 mg of magnesium per 100 g. When compared to white rice, brown rice has more nutrients. Brown rice may, therefore, support efforts to manage weight and lower blood sugar levels.


A 100 g serving of peanuts contains 168 mg of magnesium. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are suitable for the heart, are abundant in peanuts. They can assist in lowering the risk of heart disease and manage cholesterol levels. Additionally beneficial to heart health are peanuts’ high antioxidant content and resveratrol content.


Quinoa contains 197 mg of magnesium in 100 grams. Not only does quinoa help with blood sugar regulation and weight loss, it is also free of gluten. Quinoa can be a suitable substitute for other grains like rice or wheat if you are looking to increase the amount of nutrients in your diet.


Salmon contains 29 mg of magnesium per 100 grams. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. It has several health benefits, such as improving brain functioning, heart health, immune system, etc. 

Vitamin D, which promotes calcium absorption and immunological health, and vitamin A, which is necessary for immune system function, reproduction, and vision, are both present in salmon.

Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt is a good source of magnesium. It contains 11 mg of magnesium per 100 grams. It is typically better than regular yoghurt as it has more protein and less fat content. One can consume 1 to 2 cups of Greek yoghurt per day.  

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds have 325 mg of magnesium in 100 g serving. Sunflower seeds are low in sodium and saturated fats and high in oleic and linoleic acid. They support lowering serum cholesterol and blood pressure. Eating them also lessens the chance of arrhythmias occurring.


Basil consists of 64 mg of magnesium in 100 grams, according to USDA. Basil contains eugenol, which inhibits calcium channels and reduces blood pressure. Its essential oils can lower triglycerides and cholesterol. 


The numerous health benefits of oats are no secret. 138 mg of magnesium is present in 100 grams of oats. In comparison to other cereal grains, oats are rich in antioxidants called avenanthramides. By lowering inflammation and relaxing arteries, these antioxidants enhance heart health. Some oats’ soluble fibre helps prevent blood sugar spikes following meals.


Banana is everyone’s all-time favourite fruit. It is delicious and healthy and is an excellent addition to healthy desserts. One can also make a delightful breakfast with a banana. The magnesium content of bananas is 27 mg per 100 g, as stated by the USDA. A healthy digestive system depends on soluble and insoluble fibres, which are abundant in bananas.


Tuna fish has 50 mg of magnesium in 100 grams. Vitamin B12, a type of B vitamin that aids in new red blood cell formation in the body, is abundant in tuna. Remember to take fresh tuna and avoid canned tuna. Canned tuna is high in sodium content. 


Chickpeas contain 48 mg of magnesium in 100 grams. One may incorporate it in a variety of dishes, such as soups, salads, dips, spreads, sandwiches, and more. Chickpeas have a low GI and are rich in protein, fibre, and good fats. Chickpeas may aid with weight management, blood sugar regulation, and the maintenance of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. 


There are a number of food items rich in magnesium. They include spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocados, dark chocolate, kale, cashews, pinto beans, almonds, tofu, brown rice, peanut, quinoa, salmon, greek yoghurt, sunflower seeds, basil, oats, banana, tuna and chickpeas. Some of them offer additional health benefits. For example, Low GI, high fibre, and high protein content of pinto beans help control blood sugar levels. In addition to having all the vital amino acids your body requires, tofu—a vegan source of magnesium—is also high in vitamins, minerals, and calcium. Some of these food items have heart-protecting properties too. For example, peanuts’ high antioxidant content, which includes resveratrol, may potentially benefit cardiovascular health.

Risks of Magnesium Overdose 

There are hardly any side effects, and hypermagnesemia is very rare. Moreover, foods can never really cause hypermagnesemia. However, unfavourable symptoms in individuals with poor kidney function may occur. Magnesium supplements overdose may cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, lethargy, vomiting, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, cardiac arrest, urine retention, and respiratory distress. 


Hypermagnesemia is very uncommon. However, those with poor kidney functions may have undesirable effects. Overdosing can result in symptoms like diarrhoea, lethargy, vomiting, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, cardiac arrest, urine retention, or respiratory distress. 

HealthifyMe Suggestion

When it comes to improving your overall well-being, the first step is to incorporate more nutrients into your daily diet. Because bananas, spinach, strawberries, and almonds are all high in magnesium, this smoothie is an excellent way to start your day with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Take 1/4 cup strawberries or any berries, 1 cup of spinach, 1 small banana, 4 almonds, and half a cup of milk of your choice. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Enjoy the nutritious drink.


Micronutrients are essential for metabolism and maintenance of tissue function. Magnesium deficiency can cause undesirable cardiac, neurological or neuromuscular diseases, which can result in several long-term health problems. The twenty foods listed above are high in magnesium and can make a great fit to your regular diet.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What are the best food sources of magnesium?

A. Some of the best food sources that are rich in magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocados, dark chocolate, kale, cashew, pinto beans, almond, tofu, brown rice, peanut, quinoa, salmon, greek yoghurt, sunflower seeds, basil, oats, banana, tuna and chickpeas.  

Q. Can magnesium-rich foods help with muscle and nerve function?

A. Yes! Various studies have claimed that magnesium has potential benefits for nerve and muscle function. It plays a vital role in nerve transmission, neuromuscular conduction and other cellular functions. 

Q. How does magnesium contribute to bone health and strength?

A. Magnesium plays a crucial role in improving bone health and strength. It is a cofactor for vitamin D. It significantly assists in healthy bones and their development. A deficiency of magnesium might result in osteoporosis. 

Q. Are there specific foods exceptionally high in magnesium content?

A. Foods such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolates, kale, pinto beans, cashews, almonds, tofu, quinoa, sunflower seeds, and oats have an exceptionally high magnesium content. 

Q. Can magnesium aid in regulating blood pressure and heart health?

A. Yes, magnesium aids in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Studies have shown various heart problems can be treated by increased magnesium intake. Reducing intracellular sodium and calcium and increasing potassium and magnesium improves blood pressure response. 

Q. What is the role of magnesium in energy production and metabolism?

A. Magnesium plays a vital role in energy production and metabolism. Research claims it is essential for energy production, phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It is also crucial for RNA and DNA synthesis. 

Q. Can magnesium be beneficial for stress and anxiety management?

A. Certainly, magnesium manages your cortisol levels and your stress response system. Medical research claims magnesium significantly reduces anxiety. Health experts claim that a deficiency of magnesium can result in depression, mood swings and sugar cravings.  

Q. How does cooking and food preparation affect magnesium levels in foods?

A. Cooking can affect the magnesium present in foods. During boiling, magnesium can leach into water and reduce the food’s magnesium content. 

Q. Is there a recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults?

A. The recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults ranges from 400 to 420 mg in males and 320 to 360 mg in females. During pregnancy or lactation, the magnesium levels range from 360 to 400 mg. 

Q. Are there potential side effects or risks associated with magnesium consumption?

A. There are hardly any potential side effects or risks associated with magnesium consumption. However, unfavourable symptoms might occur in individuals with poor kidney function. Magnesium overdose with supplementations may cause unwanted symptoms such as diarrhoea, lethargy, vomiting, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, etc. 

Q. Can magnesium-rich foods be part of a diet for diabetes management?

A. Absolutely. Numerous researches have shown magnesium is beneficial for diabetes management. It helps to improve insulin sensitivity and lowers blood glucose levels. However, before making significant changes in your diet, you must consult with a health expert since every individual is unique. 

Q. What are the effects of magnesium on sleep and relaxation?

A. Magnesium supports quality sleep. It aids in calming your nerves and muscles and alleviates stress. Moreover, by relaxing the nervous system, it improves the circadian rhythm. 

Q. How do magnesium-rich foods compare to supplements in terms of absorption?

A. Health experts prefer magnesium-rich foods over supplements. The reason for this is that food never has adverse effects or causes overdose, whereas supplements may cause overdose, which may result in cramps, nausea, diarrhoea, and other side effects. 

Q. What are some common myths or misconceptions about magnesium in nutrition?

A. Some common myths about magnesium in nutrition include that you can only have magnesium supplements or magnesium-rich foods at night. Magnesium leads to constipation. There is only one type of magnesium. The only function of magnesium is to relax muscles. All these are false claims, myths and misconceptions. 

Research Sources

Data by the US department of agriculture on Spinach

Pumpkin seeds, NFS

Avocado, raw

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on dark chocolate

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on kale

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on cashew nuts

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on pinto beans

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on almond

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on tofu

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on brown rice

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on peanuts

Data by the US department of agriculture on Quinoa

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on salmon

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on Greek yoghurt

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on sunflower seeds

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on basil

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on oats

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on banana

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on tuna

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on chickpeas

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The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease

An update on magnesium and bone health

Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited

Magnesium and type 2 diabetes

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