11 Magnesium-Packed Foods for a Healthier You

Most people think of magnesium as a calming mineral – and, in fact, it has calming effects which may counter stress, support sleep, and boost mood. But this hard-working mineral does so much more.

Critical to more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, magnesium is needed to make protein, ensure healthy muscle and nerve function, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and regulate blood pressure.

We need magnesium for the development and structure of our bones, DNA and RNA synthesis, and the production of the important antioxidant glutathione.

This important mineral plays a key role in nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and ensuring a healthy heart rhythm. Magnesium is needed for the brain to process information and plays a vital role in memory, learning, and mental alertness.

And that’s just the highlights…there’s more!

It isn’t an overstatement to say that ensuring ample magnesium is essential to health and longevity.

Low Magnesium Among Americans

Nutritional surveys clearly show that about half of all Americans are low in this important mineral. The standard American diet – low in nutrient-dense whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables and high in unhealthy fats, sugars, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates – is a major factor in magnesium deficiency.

Here’s the good news: it’s an easy fix. For most people (unless you have a medical condition that disrupts magnesium absorption), consuming a diet filled with magnesium-rich foods can help solve the problem.

Even better, if you aim to consume foods high in magnesium every day, you’ll be doing a lot for your overall health too as these foods typically have loads of other nutrients. It’s truly a win-win proposition.

11 of the Best Foods High in Magnesium

Foods High in Magnesium 2 Here’s a list of some of the foods most abundant in magnesium to get you started.

  1. Hemp Seeds

You get a lot of magnesium bang for your buck with hulled hemp seeds. Just a handful (1 ounce) delivers almost 200 mg of magnesium – that’s about half your daily requirement of the mineral. In fact, most seeds are good sources of magnesium – especially pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds. Add them to salads, in a smoothie, or sprinkle them on avocado toast.

  1. Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat are great sources of magnesium – and they provide a measure of nutrient-rich, satiating, slow-burning (lots of fiber), nutty flavor to any meal.

On the higher end, a half-cup of cooked amaranth or quinoa delivers about 60 mg of magnesium; on the lower end, a half-cup of brown rice provides about 43 mg and cooked oats about 32 mg.

  1. Dark Leafy Greens

Incorporate greens like spinach and Swiss chard – the most magnesium-rich green leafy vegetables – into your meals to boost your magnesium intake. Steam or sauté a cup of spinach or Swiss chard, or add it to a favorite soup, and you’ll be giving your body a boost of about 150 mg of magnesium!

  1. Chocolate

Here’s a fun one. Enjoy just a 1-ounce piece of dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa, preferably sweetened with stevia or another natural sugar alternative) and you’ll not only get the sweet satisfaction of the chocolate, but about 65 mg of magnesium too.

  1. Beans, Lentils, and Peas (Legumes)

Where there’s fiber, there’s often magnesium, and such is the case for beans, lentils, and peas. Enjoy a cup of soybeans (edamame), and you’ll have met over one-third of your daily magnesium needs.

Navy, white, and black beans also are rich sources of magnesium with 120 mg per cup. They make a delicious, three-bean chili! Don’t forget lentils and peas. They’re good sources of magnesium too.

  1. Non-Fat Plain Yogurt

One cup of non-fat yogurt will supply your body with more than 40 mg of magnesium, as well as beneficial bacteria to support your gut health. Add some magnesium-rich fruit, unsweetened cocoa (or your own healthy sweetener), or whole oats for an added boost!

  1. Coconut Milk

Surprisingly, one cup of unsweetened coconut milk provides roughly 90 mg of magnesium. There are a number of inventive recipes using unsweetened coconut milk. It’s wonderful in curries, soups, and smoothies. Use it instead of whole milk in warm beverages like hot cocoa or try a coconut milk ice cream.

  1. Nuts

If you want to boost your magnesium intake, go nuts for nuts! A handful of Brazil nuts will give you a quarter of your daily magnesium requirement. Other nuts high in magnesium include cashews, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, and pecans.

  1. Fruit

Loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, it’s no surprise that fruit makes the list of foods rich in magnesium. Dried figs are by far the richest with about 100 mg of magnesium per cup. Other high magnesium fruits include avocado, bananas, guava, kiwi fruit, and papaya.

  1. Mackerel

Holy mackerel! Six ounces of cooked Atlantic mackerel will give you nearly 40% of your daily magnesium requirements. Other seafood loaded with this mineral include oysters, tuna, Alaskan king crab, sardines, and Atlantic cod. An added bonus, these foods provide your body with brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids!

  1. Veggies

You really can’t go wrong with eating plenty of vegetables in your quest to add more magnesium to your diet. Artichoke, squash (acorn, butternut), broccoli, and potatoes will all give you a good dose of magnesium. Plus, they’re filled with many other phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Try these high-magnesium foods today and let us know (below) if you notice a difference.


At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.

Kim Henderson