10 Foods High In Magnesium You Should be Eating Now

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Magnesium is one of the most critical minerals in the human body yet it is the second most common nutrient deficiency in developed countries. [1] Early signs of magnesium deficiency include appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. [2] Low serum magnesium levels may increase blood pressure.

Adequate magnesium consumption may decrease asthma systems in those with respiratory issues and decrease blood glucose in those with elevated blood glucose levels, such as diabetics. [1] The average adult human body stores the majority of its 25 grams of magnesium in the bones, but uses the mineral for over 300 enzyme systems ranging from protein synthesis, to energy production, to RNA and DNA synthesis. [2]

Magnesium is an electrolyte, along with sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, potassium, and phosphorus, because it carries an electrical charge. [3] The human body expels a significant amount of electrolytes via sweat during physical activity. The kidneys also excrete magnesium through urine daily, but decrease the excretion amount during times of deficiency. Without proper hydration and replenishment of electrolytes, dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance may quickly develop.

These conditions can lead to cramping, significantly decreased athletic performance, and in serious cases, hospitalization. The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium is at least 400mg for males and at least 310mg for females 18 years and older. [2] Pregnant women require more magnesium to support the normal growth and development of their children.

This article provides a list and brief write-up of 10 magnesium-rich food sources. You may already be eating some of these foods but if you’re looking to diversify your diet and increase your magnesium intake, then hopefully this article provides some new food items to add to your shopping list.

Swiss Chard

10 Foods High in Magnesium

#1 – Swiss Chard – 150mg per 1 cup (175g)

Swiss chard is one of the most calorie-efficient sources of magnesium for those eating a low calorie diet. One cup (175g) cooked, boiled, and drained Swiss chard contains 150mg of magnesium but only 35 calories. It also contains 100mg (10% of RDA) of calcium, 3.7 grams of fiber, 3.3 grams of protein, and 961mg of potassium per serving. [4] Swiss chard is rich in vitamin K, A, C, copper, and manganese. [5]

This leafy green vegetables comes from the same family as kale, mustard greens, and collard greens, but doesn’t nearly receive the attention it deserves. Replace spinach with Swiss chard next time you want a steamed or sautéed leafy green vegetable but be warned it will not wilt as much.

#2 – Molasses – 48mg per 1 tablespoon (20g)

Molasses is a thick, viscous, dark brown, syrupy by-product produced during the refining of raw sugarcane and sugar beets. This all-natural sweetener providing 58 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates, and 48mg of magnesium per one tablespoon (20g) serving. [6] It is rich in vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, copper, potassium, iron, and calcium. [7]

Although molasses is most commonly used in baking, you can also add it to a pot of baked beans, use it as a glaze for carrots or sweet potatoes, or incorporate it in to your barbecue marinades, salad dressings, and dipping sauces. Due to its lack of refining molasses is only about two-thirds as sweet as regular sugar but offers significantly more vitamins and minerals.

Those on low-calorie diets should use molasses with caution because it’s calorically dense and high in carbohydrates.

#3 – Rice Bran – 461mg per ½ cup (59g)

Rice BranRice bran is the outer layer surrounding the brown rice endosperm that comprises only about 8% of a rice kernel’s total weight but accounts for 60% of the rice kernel’s nutrients. [8] Rice bran contains a whopping 461mg of magnesium, 12.4 grams of fiber, 7.9 grams of protein, and only 186 calories per ½ cup (59g) serving. [9] It is also rich in vitamin B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B6, iron, phosphorus, and manganese. [10]

Although you could eat rice bran by itself, most users prefer to mix it in to smoothies, yogurt, cereal, muffins, breads, cakes, and casseroles. Check online retailers like Amazon, premium grocers like Whole Foods Market, and your local specialty health foods store for bulk rice bran.

#4 – Pumpkin Seeds – 166mg per 1 ounce (28g)

Although it may not be fall, you can still enjoy the magnesium-rich, low-carbohydrate seeds produced by this iconic orange squash. One ounce (28g) of dried pumpkin seeds contain 166mg of magnesium, 13.7 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of net carbohydrates, 8.5 grams of protein, and 157 calories. [11] This portable handheld snack is a complete protein source packed with vitamin K, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese. [12]

Plain dried pumpkin seeds have a very mild flavor so they’re most commonly dusted with spices like salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper powder, and/cumin and then baked in the oven. If you have some fat calories to spare you can toss them in olive oil for a more savory snack. Toss with honey and/or cinnamon sugar for a treat to satisfy that sweet tooth.

#5 – Brazil Nuts – 105mg per 1 ounce (28g)

The Brazil nut comes from one of the largest trees native to the Amazon Region in South America. Luckily they are sold online and in specialty food stores across the globe.

This calorie-dense food has a light, smooth, and creamy flavor but packs 105mg of magnesium, 18.8 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 1.2 grams of net carbohydrates, and 185 calories per one ounce (28g) serving. [13] Brazil nuts are one of, if not the richest source of selenium by weight. One ounce contains over 750% of the RDA of selenium as well as notable amounts of phosphorus, copper, and manganese. [14] Selenium is a trace mineral that supports reproductive health, normal thyroid function, synthesis of DNA, and oxidative stress protection. [15]

If you’re tired of almonds, walnuts and cashews then incorporate Brazil nuts in to your diet for a great-tasting snack packed with health fats, magnesium, and selenium.

#6 – Cocoa Powder – 140mg per 1 ounce (28g)

Chocolate is one of the most widely consumed indulgences in the world and with good reason, it’s delicious. Chocolate bars have varying amounts of health-promoting cocoa but often contain additional fats and sugars which quickly jack-up the caloric content and encourage overeating. Instead of reaching for that chocolate bar consider adding raw unsweetened cocoa powder to your oatmeal, smoothie, yogurt, or protein shake.

Cocoa powder has a somewhat bitter and very intense flavor but it is packed with nutrients. One ounce (28g) of cocoa powder contains 140mg of magnesium, 10.4 grams of fiber, and 5.5 grams of protein with just 64 calories and 3.8 grams of fat. [16] Cocoa powder contains substantial amounts of the minerals iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. [17]

Stimulant-sensitive individuals should avoid cocoa powder before bed as it contains caffeine and theobromine.

Mung Beans

#7 – Mung Beans – 196mg per ½ cup (104g)

Mung beans are not widely consumed in most Western diets but they should be. These small green legumes are often sold sprouted and come from the same family as peas and lentils. ½ cup (104g) of these beans provide 196mg of magnesium, 16.9 grams of fiber, 24.7 grams of protein, 64.8 grams of carbohydrates, and 360 calories. [18] These beans are also a great source of folate, thiamin (vitamin B1), iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. [19]

Toss this low-fat beans in to soups and stews, incorporate them in to bean burgers, or serve them in a stir-fry. Those preferring the sprouted variety can add mung beans to their salads for a nutrient-packed mix-in.

#8 – Almonds – 75mg per 1 ounce (28g)

The fitness community classifies almonds as a superfood because of their healthy fat, low carbohydrate, high fiber, moderate protein, and nutrient content. One ounce (28g) of these nuts contain 75mg of magnesium, 6 grams of protein, 14.7 grams of fat, 2.4 grams of net carbohydrates, and 165 calories. [20] Almonds are also high in vitamin E, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and manganese. [21]

To bump up your magnesium intake consider using almond meal in your baked goods, chopped or silver almonds in your salads, ground almonds as a breading for your chicken, or whole almonds as a portable on-the-go snack. Almonds are calorie-dense like other nuts so be sure to portion your intake appropriately, especially if you’re on a low-calories diet.

#9 – Buckwheat – 196mg per ½ cup (85g)

Buckwheat has grain-like triangular seeds with a rounded bottom and has been cultivated for over 4,000 years to provide high-quality carbohydrates, essential vitamins, and minerals. [22] Although the name of this plant has the word “wheat” it is actually wheat free and gluten free. ½ cup (85g) of buckwheat contains 196mg of magnesium, 11.3 grams of protein, 8.5 grams of fiber, 60.8 grams of carbohydrates, 2.9 grams of fat, and 292 calories. [23] Buckwheat is a complete protein source high in copper, phosphorus, manganese, and niacin (vitamin B3). [24]

Buckwheat flour is an excellent substitute for wheat flour in muffins, waffles, and cookies. You can replace rice with buckwheat in many recipes, toss it in to your salad, yogurt, or granola, and eat it as a stand-alone instead of oatmeal.

#10 – Quinoa – 167mg per ½ cup (85g)

Quinoa skyrocketed in popularity in both the fitness and mainstream communities over the past decade due to its complete amino acid profile and slow-burning complex carbohydrates. ½ cup (85g) of uncooked quinoa contains 167mg of magnesium, 12 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, and 313 calories. [25]

Quinoa’s complex carbohydrates have a low glycemic load which means they won’t spike your blood sugar and cause an energy crash. This ancient grain is a very good source of folate, phosphorus, and manganese. [26] Quinoa is most commonly prepared by adding one cup of uncooked quinoa to two cups of liquid and simmering for about 20 minutes. You can use quinoa in place of recipes calling for rice, as a post-workout smoothie ingredient, or as a mix-in for your salad.

Click here for an extensive list of magnesium-rich foods. If you still find yourself struggling to consume adequate quantities of this vital mineral then consider using a high quality magnesium supplement sold by a reputable retailer. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle Tiger Fitness knows “It’s Not a Game!”

References

1) Frank, Kurtis, et al. “Magnesium.” Examine.com. N.p., 2016. Web. Mar. 2016.
2) “Magnesium — Health Professional Fact Sheet.” Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). National Institutes of Health, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. Mar. 2016.
3) Dugdale, David C. “Electrolytes.” MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. National Institutes of Health, 3 Aug. 2013. Web. Mar. 2016.
4) “Basic Report: 11148, Chard, swiss, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
5) Mateljan, George, et al. “Swiss Chard.” The World’s Healthiest Foods. N.p., 2016. Web. Mar. 2016.
6) “Basic Report: 19304, Molasses.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
7) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Molasses.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
8) “Rice Bran.” Bod’s Red Mill. N.p., 2016. Web. Mar. 2016.
9) “Basic Report: 20060, Rice bran, crude.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
10) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Rice Bran, Crude.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
11) “Basic Report: 12014, Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
12) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried [pepitas].” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
13) “Basic Report: 12078, Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
14) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
15) “Selenium — Health Professional Fact Sheet.” Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). National Institutes of Health, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. Mar. 2016.
16) “Basic Report: 19165, Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
17) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
18) “Basic Report: 16080, Mung beans, mature seeds, raw.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
19) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Mung beans, mature seeds, raw.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
20) “Basic Report: 12062, Nuts, almonds, blanched.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
21) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Nuts, almonds.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
22) “Buckwheat – December Grain of the Month.” The Whole Grains Council. N.p., 2013. Web. Mar. 2016.
23) “Basic Report: 20008, Buckwheat.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
24) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Buckwheat.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.
25) “Basic Report: 20035, Quinoa, uncooked.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Mar. 2016.
26) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Quinoa, uncooked.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.

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Name: Nick Ludlow

Bio: When it comes to fitness I enjoy reading about historic weight lifters, non-conventional weightlifting approaches, nutritional protocols, and the science behind supplements.