Magnesium is a vital nutrient, playing a role in more than 300 diverse biochemical reactions1 in the body that control everything from blood sugar and blood pressure regulation to energy production, sleep, and more.* It's important to consume enough magnesium to make sure you're not deficient, yet between 50 and 90%2 of people are not getting enough from their diet. A high-quality supplement can help, along with piling your plate full of foods rich in the essential mineral.
Which foods are highest in magnesium?
Magnesium-rich foods are healthy, easily available, and most importantly—delicious. As Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D., integrative medicine doctor and mindbodygreen Collective member, explains, "There are many great food sources of magnesium. To start, I recommend a diet high in legumes, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, almonds, and pumpkin and sesame seeds." Here, the richest dietary sources of magnesium and how to incorporate them into your daily routine:
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the food that comes in with the highest magnesium content is bulgur, a grain made from the cracked groats of several different wheat species. In its dry form, it contains about 230 mg in a single cup.
Not sure where to start with bulgur? This Superfood Tabouli Salad is a delicious introduction.
Leafy greens are arguably the healthiest food on the planet. They're rich in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and detox- and hormone-supporting compounds. One cup of cooked spinach contains 157 mg of magnesium, which is more than 50% of your RDA if you're a woman.
Looking to eat more greens? Check out these 15 Super-Simple Recipes To Help You Eat More Greens, or try a veggie-packed greens powder.
One medium avocado contains about 58 mg of magnesium, which gives you about 15% of your RDA. Smear that on some sourdough toast, sprinkle with some hemp and pumpkin seeds, and you have yourself a high-magnesium breakfast of champions.
If you're eating a plant-based diet, chances are nuts are already a staple. They're high in protein and healthy fats and the perfect snack to bring on the go. They're also high in magnesium; 1 ounce of cashews contains 74 milligrams of magnesium, and while they're *technically* not a nut, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contains 50 mg of magnesium.
This might be my favorite food on the list. Nuts get a lot of attention for their health benefits and convenience factor, but seeds shouldn't be left out of the spotlight! My favorite seeds are pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds, which just happen to be very high in magnesium. In fact, 1 ounce of hemp seeds contains about 179 mg. Pumpkin seeds are a close second at 156 mg.
Sprinkle seeds on your salads and yogurt, or try making homemade pumpkin or hemp seed milk instead.
Foods like black beans and lentils are healthy not just for their magnesium content—which for the record come in at around 120 and 71 mg per cup, respectively—they're packed with other nutrients as well. As Leah Silberman, R.D., told us, "Beans boast a magnificent nutrient profile. They are packed with micronutrients like folic acid, copper, potassium, iron, zinc, and various B vitamins, and contain phytochemicals like lignans and polyphenols."
This hearty One-Pot Lentil Soup is the perfect healthy comfort food to fill you up.
Last but not least—dark chocolate is also on the list of high-magnesium foods. One ounce of dark chocolate contains 64 mg of magnesium—about 15% of the RDA—so it won't get you your full daily dose, but it will get you part of the way there.
Elevate your chocolate-snacking with one of our 6 Favorite Chocolate Bars.
The bottom line
Magnesium is an essential nutrient. A supplement will help boost your levels and there are foods of all types to also support your magnesium intake, from grains and nuts to deep leafy greens.
Gretchen Lidicker has a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University. She's the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. A Kripalu Center for Yoga and Ayurveda-trained yoga instructor, expert bread baker, and farmers market fanatic, she believes that no day is complete without a good dance party.