Looking for a good way to boost your immune system? Want to have stronger bones and more energy? If so, you may need to level up your magnesium intake!
To help you out with this, I am sharing my 10 favorite magnesium rich foods that you can easily include in your daily diet.
The Role of Magnesium in the Human Body
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in numerous biochemical reactions in the body. Just to name a few, magnesium helps to regulate your blood sugar, metabolism, energy levels, blood pressure and enzyme activity.
A diet rich in magnesium can improve your workout performance, increase immunity and enhance memory and mental function.
Magnesium intake is associated with greater bone density and improved bone crystal formation. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Magnesium supports calcium absorption and helps to activate vitamin D which is essential for good bone health.
Calcium and magnesium function together, which is why you often see supplements that combine both of these minerals in one product.
Statistics have shown that more than half of the American population does not consume the recommended daily requirement for magnesium.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re at risk of serious health issues, but magnesium deficiency does have an impact on your mental and physical health.
Magnesium deficiency may lead to a variety of symptoms, from fatigue and mood swings to poor memory and confusion. In severe cases, it can lead to numbness and tingling in the limbs, hallucinations and even delirium.
A deficiency in magnesium can also affect your workout performance and energy levels. You may experience slow recovery from training, muscle cramps, recurring infections and overall fatigue and weakness.
The best way to prevent health issues associated with magnesium deficiency is to simply increase your magnesium intake. You can do this by taking supplements, or by eating more magnesium rich foods such as nuts, seeds, seaweed, blackberries and dark leafy greens.
While magnesium supplements can certainly help, they are never a true substitute for real food.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
How much magnesium you need depends on your age and gender.
Children need between 80mg and 240mg of magnesium per day, women need up to 360 milligrams per day, while men should have 400 to 420 milligrams of magnesium daily.
Let’s have a look at my 10 favorite magnesium rich foods that you can easily add to your diet:
1. Brazil Nuts
One small cup of Brazil nuts (100 grams) contains 376 milligrams of magnesium, which is 95% of the daily recommended intake. Brazil nuts are also rich in selenium, calcium, iron, and vitamin B6.
Due to their high content of ellagic acid, they fight inflammation and help protect against illness. Just like almonds, I love eating Brazil nuts as a healthy snack between meals. you can also add crunched Brazil nuts to puddings and homemade desserts for extra flavor and nutrition.
Most nuts and seeds are rich in magnesium so if you want to boost your magnesium intake by eating more nuts, simply pick your personal favorite.
It takes just one tablespoon of tahini to add an extra 14 milligrams of magnesium to your diet. This delicious and healthy treat is also loaded with thiamin, lecithin, potassium, iron and vitamin E.
Methionine, an amino acid and a key nutrient in tahini, supports liver detoxification. Tahini also happens to be one of my favorite vegan sources of protein.
Rich in calcium, tahini can also help with increasing bone density and preventing osteoporosis. What’s even better is that tahini has just a few calories per serving.
3. Whole Wheat Bread
Not everyone loves bread as much I do, but one slice of whole wheat bread provides about 23 milligrams of magnesium. Packed with fiber and slow-digesting carbs, whole wheat bread gives you steady energy and prevents blood sugar spikes.
Serve one or two slices of whole wheat bread with tahini for breakfast to further boost your magnesium intake and stay full until lunchtime!
Seaweed is a staple of the Asian cuisine. It boasts a whopping 120 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams, or 12mg per 2 tablespoons. Most seaweed varieties are also rich in calcium, vitamin C and iron.
This nutrient-dense sea vegetable has just 20 calories per serving, so it can easily fit in any diet. It goes well with tuna, salmon, poultry, miso and all sorts of different salads.
If you have an irresistible sweet tooth, snack on blackberries! These antioxidant-rich fruits contain 28 milligrams of magnesium per cup. They also boast one of the highest anti-oxidant values of all foods.
When consumed as part of a balanced diet, blackberries (and other berries) help lower cholesterol levels, maintain healthy bones and teeth and decrease your risk of diabetes and other diseases.
6. Passion Fruit
I absolutely love passion fruit and often add it on top of my cup of yogurt. Passion fruit packs more than 5 milligrams of magnesium per serving (or 29mg per 100g) and has only 17 calories.
It’s also a great source of potassium, iron, copper, vitamin A and flavonoids.
With its naturally sweet flavor, it’s ideal for homemade desserts, such as passion fruit mousse, cakes and jellies.
The edible green seed pods of okra provide almost 60 milligrams of magnesium per cup (100g). High in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and iron, it boosts your immune system and fights oxidative damage.
Studies have indicated that okra helps to regulate blood sugar levels, improve diabetes symptoms and relieve stress. Due to its high fiber content, it also supports with digestive health. I use it in stews and salads, and it tastes delicious!
8. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses are a great alternative to processed sugar. This natural sweetener is more nutritious than table sugar and contains 48 milligrams of magnesium per tablespoon. It is also rich in B-complex vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium and selenium.
Blackstrap molasses can be safely consumed by diabetics and helps prevent anemia, insulin spikes, osteoporosis and constipation.
It may sound very obvious, but to get more magnesium in your diet, eat more veggies! One cup of spinach (30g) gives you 24 milligrams of magnesium, as well as good amounts of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and zinc.
It’s also rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants to help slow down the aging process and to fight off free radicals in your body.
Salads with raw spinach are perfect on warm summer days when you want a quick refreshing meal and they are very easy to prepare.
One average avocado contains around 60 milligrams of magnesium, as well as large doses of vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium and iron. Avocado is low in carbs and rich in heart-healthy fats, making it ideal for dieters.
When consumed regularly, avocado will help to improve cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation.
Personally, I use it as a replacement for butter and mayonnaise in salad dressings, sauces and spreads. It also goes very well in green smoothies and cream soups.
And don’t throw away the seed because an avocado seed is a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants!
Final Thoughts on Magnesium Rich Foods
As mentioned above, magnesium deficiency is actually quite a common thing, so it’s important to check whether you are getting enough magnesium in with your current diet.
Magnesium supplements can certainly help but I always prefer to try and maintain a healthy and balanced diet that gives me sufficient amounts of most nutrients.