Magnesium is an essential mineral that is needed for bone formation, regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure, muscle function, protein synthesis, and energy production. A magnesium deficiency can lead to a variety of health problems such as fatigue, cramps, nervousness, constipation, and heart arrhythmias.
You can find magnesium-rich foods in descending order in the table above. Below, we will provide more detailed information about some of them and give you tips on how to incorporate them into your diet.
Who Has A Higher Need For Magnesium-Rich Foods?
If you regularly engage in sports or physical activity, your body may have a higher need for magnesium. Magnesium can support muscle and nerve functions, which are important for physical performance. Consuming foods rich in magnesium can promote recovery after exercise, as magnesium reduces inflammation and muscle damage. However, during exercise, the body loses magnesium through sweating. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, exhaustion, and impaired physical performance during sports (especially endurance sports) or fitness training.
There are other groups of people who have a higher daily magnesium requirement than others. The list includes, among others:
- Pregnant women require additional magnesium to support fetal growth and development.
- Breastfeeding women need more magnesium because the baby requires additional amounts of magnesium to promote its growth and development.
- In old age, various factors such as reduced food intake, impaired intestinal function, or certain medications can make it difficult for older people to absorb magnesium from food.
- Diabetes can increase the excretion of magnesium, leading to a higher magnesium requirement for affected individuals.
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis can also contribute to an increased magnesium requirement, as affected individuals may have difficulty absorbing magnesium from food.
- Kidney diseases can lower the magnesium levels in the body, which also increases the requirement.
Typically, the magnesium requirement can be met through a balanced diet that includes a variety of magnesium-rich foods.
Excessive magnesium can lead to magnesium overdose or hypermagnesemia. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, decreased reflexes, confusion, and drowsiness may be early symptoms. If you want to reduce your magnesium levels, use the table of low-magnesium foods.
Fortunately, there are many magnesium-rich foods that can be incorporated into a healthy diet. Here are some of the best magnesium-rich foods:
- Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and other dark green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of magnesium. For example, one cup of spinach contains about 160 mg of magnesium. You can access the table of magnesium-rich vegetables here.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are rich in magnesium according to the table. For instance, a handful of almonds contains about 85 mg of magnesium. This table reveals which seeds, kernels, and nuts contain magnesium.
- Whole grains: Whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, and pseudo-grains like quinoa and amaranth have a higher content of magnesium. For example, one cup of oats contains about 70 mg of magnesium. You can find the table of magnesium-rich grains here.
- Legumes: Red lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, and peanuts contain higher amounts of magnesium according to the table. For example, one cup of cooked lentils contains about 70 mg of magnesium. This table shows which legumes also contain magnesium.
- Fruits: Bananas, figs, avocados, raspberries, blackberries, and apricots can contribute to meeting your magnesium needs, although they contain relatively less magnesium. For instance, an avocado contains about 60 mg, and a medium-sized banana contains about 30 mg of magnesium. You can find out which fruits are high in magnesium through the table.
- Herbs and spices: Coriander, dill, basil, parsley, marjoram, and thyme are magnesium-rich. However, the amount of magnesium in herbs and spices is not sufficient to meet the daily requirement. This table also shows herbs and spices with high magnesium content.
- Beverages: Juices like cherry juice, pineapple juice, and carrot juice can contribute a small portion to meet your magnesium needs. Almond milk, coconut milk, chai tea, as well as green and herbal teas also contain magnesium. You can find magnesium-rich beverages here.
A vegan diet can be rich in magnesium as long as it is balanced and varied.
Getting More Magnesium From Foods
There are several steps you can take to improve magnesium absorption in the body.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that supports magnesium absorption in the body. You can incorporate vitamin D-rich foods such as mushrooms and some fortified plant-based drinks with Vitamin D into your diet.
A healthy gut flora can also improve magnesium absorption. Therefore, avoid excessive consumption of sugar and processed foods. ⇒ Sugary foods
Phytic acid is a compound found in foods such as whole grains, nuts, and legumes. It can interfere with the absorption of magnesium in the body. By soaking, sprouting, or fermenting, you can reduce the phytic acid content.
Calcium and magnesium compete for the same absorption pathway in the body. Consuming calcium-rich foods such as calcium-fortified plant-based drinks at the same time as magnesium-rich foods should be avoided if you want to increase your magnesium levels.
Alcohol and caffeine can reduce the absorption of magnesium in the body. If you want to maximize your magnesium intake, try to reduce the consumption of such beverages.
Integrating Magnesium-Rich Foods Into Your Diet
Here are some tips and tricks on how to incorporate more magnesium-rich foods into your vegan diet:
- Include more dark green leafy vegetables in your diet. Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or arugula can be eaten raw in salads. You can also blend them into smoothies, serve them blanched as a side dish, or use them in soups.
- Nuts and seeds make a perfect snack (even on the go). Add a handful of almonds, cashews, or pumpkin seeds to your cereal or salad, or enjoy them as a snack in between meals.
- Incorporate whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or oats into your diet. They are an excellent source of magnesium and are also rich in fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestion.
- Legumes are not only excellent plant-based sources of protein, but they are also of great importance in a magnesium-rich diet. For example, you can prepare a vegan chili sin carne using kidney beans and lentils, or make homemade hummus from chickpeas.
- Bananas, figs, or avocados are also perfect as snacks or as ingredients for smoothies and fruit salads. Avocado with a sprinkle of Kala Namak (black salt) on whole grain bread, for instance, is a healthy alternative to traditional egg salad spreads.
- There are many herb and spice blends that contain a significant amount of magnesium. Ras el Hanout, Za'atar, curry powder, Herbes de Provence, and Indian spice Garam Masala are magnesium-rich. These blends can be added to a variety of dishes to provide an additional dose of magnesium.