The 10 Foods Highest in Magnesium
By Health Aliciousness
In Light Times April 2013
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones. Magnesium is also involved in at least 300 biochemical reactions in the body. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to muscle spasms, cardiovascular disease.
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones. Magnesium is also involved in at least 300 biochemical reactions in the body. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to muscle spasms, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, and cerebral infarction. Conversely, consuming too much magnesium typically causes diarrhea as the body attempts to excrete the excess. The current DV for magnesium is 400mg. Below is a list of high magnesium foods, for more, see the extended list of magnesium rich foods.
1. Bran (Rice, Wheat, and Oat) ~ Rice, Wheat, and Oat bran are great additions to breads and breakfast cereals like oats, rye, and buckwheat. One cup of crude rice bran contains 922mg of magnesium (230% DV) which is 781mg (195% DV) per 100 gram serving. Crude wheat bran contains 354mg of magnesium (89% DV) per cup, or 611mg (153% DV) per 100 gram serving. Crude oat bran contains 220mg of magnesium (55% DV) per cup, or 235mg magnesium (59% DV) per 100 gram serving.
2. Dried Herbs ~ Dried herbs are packed with vitamins and a healthy addition to almost any meal. Dried Coriander provides the most magnesium with 694mg (174% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 14mg (3% DV) per tablespoon. It is followed by Chives (160% DV), Spearmint (151% DV), Dill (112% DV), Sage (107% DV), Basil (106% DV), and Savory (95% DV).
3. Squash, Pumpkin, and Watermelon Seeds (Dried or Roasted) ~ Great as a snack or in a salad, pumpkin, squash, and watermelon seeds are packed with magnesium. Squash and pumpkin seeds provide 535mg of magnesium (134% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 738mg (185% DV) per cup. Watermelon seeds provide 515mg (129% DV) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 556mg (139% DV) per cup.
4. Cocoa Powder (Dark Chocolate) ~ Dark chocolate is becoming more popular and with good reason, long regarded as junk food, dark chocolate is packed with vitamins and conferred health benefits. Cocoa powder provides 499mg of magnesium (125% DV) per 100 gram serving or 429mg (107% DV) per cup. Dark baking chocolate provides 327mg per 100 gram serving (82% DV), or 95mg (24% DV) per square, and a typical chocolate candy bar provides 63mg of magnesium (16% DV) per 100 gram serving or 28mg (7% DV) per bar.
5. Flax, Sesame Seeds, and Sesame Butter (Tahini) ~ Flax and Sesame seeds are a great source of heart healthy oils and also provide a good source of magnesium. Flax seeds provide 392mg (92% DV) per 100 gram serving or 39mg (10% DV) per tablespoon. Sesame seeds provide 351mg (88% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 32mg (8% DV) per tablespoon. Sesame butter (tahini) provides 362mg of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 58mg (14% DV) per tablespoon.
6. Brazil Nuts ~ Possibly the largest of all nuts, brazil nuts, are a great source of magnesium. Brazil nuts provide 376mg (94% DV) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, 500mg (125% DV) per cup, and 19mg (5% DV) in a single kernel or nut. Brazil nuts are also very high in selenium, so should be eaten moderately.
7. Sunflower Seeds ~ Sunflower seeds are the number one source of vitamin E, and a good source of thiamin. Sunflower seeds provide 325mg (81% DV) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 455mg (114% DV) per cup.
8. Almonds and Cashews (Mixed nuts, Pine Nuts) ~ Nuts are great as a snack or as an addition to salads and soups. Almonds provide 286mg (72% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 395mg (99% DV) per cup. Cashews provide 273mg (68% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 352mg (88% DV) per cup. Pine nuts provide 251mg (63% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 339mg (85% DV) per cup. Mixed nuts in general provide 251 mg (63% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 361mg (90% DV) per cup.
9. Molasses ~ A good substitute for refined sugar in cakes and breads, molasses is also a great source of magnesium. Molasses provides 242mg (61% DV) per 100 gram serving, 816mg (204% DV) per cup, and 48mg (12% DV) per tablespoon.
10. Dry Roasted Soybeans (Edamame) ~ Great as a snack or as an addition to salads, dry roasted soybeans are also a great source of magnesium. Dry roasted soybeans provide 228mg (57% DV) of magnesium per 100 gram serving, or 392mg (98% DV) per cup. When boiled, edamame provides 64mg (16% DV) of magnesium per 100g serving, or 99mg (25% DV) per cup.
Health Benefits of Magnesium
Regulation of Blood Pressure ~ Diets high in fruits and vegetables provide both magnesium and potassium which are consistently associated with reduced blood pressure.
Reduced Risk of Type II Diabetes ~ Magnesium is involved in carbohydrate metabolism and the bodies use of insulin. 6 Studies show that individuals with type II diabetes have low levels of magnesium in their blood. Correcting this lack of magnesium may help increase sensitivity to insulin and prevent type II diabetes.
Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and other Cardiovascular Diseases ~ Because magnesium is associated with regulation of blood pressure and lower risk of diabetes, it follows that it also reduces risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of magnesium in the blood has been associated with reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.
Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis ~ Magnesium plays a role in calcium metabolism and hormones which regulate calcium and may help to protect against osteoporosis. Several studies support that increased magnesium intake increases bone health.
Reduced Frequency of Migraine Headaches (Controversial) ~ Studies show that individuals who have frequent migraine headaches have lower levels of magnesium than other individuals. There is conflicting evidence as to whether increased intake of magnesium will reduce the frequency of migraines.
Alleviation of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) ~ Studies suggest that consuming higher amounts of magnesium, perhaps in conjunction with vitamin B6, helps to alleviate bloating, insomnia, leg swelling, weight gain, breast tenderness, and other symptoms associated with PMS.
High Risk Groups for a Magnesium Deficiency
People with Gastrointestinal Disorders ~ Most magnesium is absorbed through the colon so people with gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease are at high risk for a magnesium deficiency.
People with Poor Functioning Kidneys ~ The kidneys should be able to regulate magnesium in the blood, excreting less when stores are low, however, excessive loss of magnesium through urine can occur to people on specific medications, poorly managed diabetes, and alcoholics.
The Elderly ~ As we age, the amount of magnesium we absorb decreases as the amount we excrete increases.
People Consuming high amounts of Fiber ~ Eating large amounts of fiber has been shown to interfere with the bodies ability to use magnesium. However, more research needs to be done to confirm how much fiber affects magnesium.
People on a low protein diet (Controversial) ~ Eating less than 30 grams of protein a day may adversely affect magnesium utilization.
People taking Certain Medications
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Prescription PPIs include Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Zegerid (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole sodium), AcipHex (rabeprazole sodium), Vimovo, Prilosec OTC (omeprazole), Zegerid OTC (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate), and Prevacid 24HR (lansoprazole)
Diuretics. Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin, and hydrochlorothiazide
Antibiotics. Gentamicin, and Amphotericin
Anti-neoplastic (Cancer) medication. Cisplatin
Other Magnesium Rich Foods
Halibut, Soybeans, Oatmeal, Dates, Dry Roasted Peanuts, Peanut Butter, Blackeyed Peas, Low Fat Yogurt, Vegetarian Baked Beans, Brown Rice, Lentils (Dahl), Avocados, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Bananas, Whole Wheat Bread, Whole Milk, Seedless Raisins, Buckwheat (Dry roasted), Seaweed (Spirulina), Quinoa, Walnuts, Bulgar, Wild Rice, Cod (cooked dry heat), Pecans, Corn (white or yellow), Scott Kale, Spinach (cooked).
Nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and molasses are high calorie foods and should be eaten in moderate amounts by people with a high body mass index. Dark chocolate, spinach, and almonds are high in oxalates which may inhibit some magnesium absorption. These foods however, are still good sources of magnesium.
Brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Excess selenium can lead to diarrhea, bad breath, and even hair loss.