There are over 3751 magnesium binding sites in your body — so many because your body requires magnesium for more than 300 biochemical functions, including cellular health and regeneration. Adequate magnesium in your body can also help you control blood sugar levels, improve nerve function and energy metabolism, regulate blood pressure, produce antioxidants, and control protein synthesis.
You probably didn’t know that magnesium was so important to your diet, right? Well, most Americans don’t, and that’s because most Americans have a magnesium deficiency. And when you don’t have enough magnesium in your system, you’re at risk of fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, hormone imbalances, heart attack, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety, type II diabetes, and many other issues.
In order to ameliorate this problem, all you need to do is know what the most magnesium-rich foods are and eat more of them! So without further ado, here they are:
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are essential to your diet because they add tons of magnesium, but also because they’re healthy and provide a lot of nutrients and vitamins for other aspects of your wellbeing. Baby spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, and other dark leafy greens are essential to a healthy diet.
2. Kefir and Greek Yogurt
Kefir and Greek yogurt pack a lot of magnesium as well as numerous essential Probiotics for your good health. They’re also pretty tasty, especially if you mix them in a smoothie or eat them with your favorite nuts and fruits. Aim for Kefir and yogurt that doesn’t have a lot of added sugar, but don’t shy away from the full-fat versions — that’s where the good stuff is.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds aren’t just snacks for Halloween. Eat them year-round! You can get almost all of your daily magnesium requirement from just half of a cup of roasted pumpkin seeds. If you don’t like to eat them plain, try them with a bit of sea salt, or put them in your favorite salad or mix them together with other nuts, raisins, and bits of dark chocolate for a great trail mix.
4. Dark Chocolate
Speaking of dark chocolate, this will probably be your favorite food on this list. Dark chocolate is extremely high in magnesium, and it’s actually one of the best sweets you can eat. With just one square of dark chocolate, you can get nearly a quarter of the magnesium you need for each day. If you want to extend the life of your dark chocolate, try sprinkling it on your daily cereal, or drizzle it melted over strawberries.
One ounce of almonds contains 80 mg of magnesium, which is great for your overall health. These nuts are also rich in antioxidants, which will help you keep disease and illness away, and they pack a lot of vitamin D for healthy bones and joints and smooth skin and hair. Vitamin D and the other important vitamins in almonds can also improve your cardiovascular system.
Always a good choice for a breakfast or dessert, bananas are excellent as a source of magnesium too. In one banana, you’ll get 32 mg of magnesium, and you’ll also get an adequate amount of potassium, which is definitely necessary for optimal health. Like dark chocolate, bananas can be eaten as a delicious and healthy dessert. Put a banana together with a bit of organic peanut butter and almonds or with some walnuts and Greek yogurt … and you’ve got a delicious and magnesium-filled dessert.
7. Soybeans (and Other Beans)
Soybeans contain high amounts of magnesium, plus lots of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. There are numerous ways to eat soybeans. You can try half a cup of dry roasted beans per day or you can try edamame (shelled soybeans). In fact, other beans can also be helpful because they have high amounts of magnesium. These other beans include lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, white beans, black beans, and black-eyed peas.
Avocados are on numerous lists like these because they pack a lot of vital nutrients (and they’re tasty). Avocados are especially helpful for your heart health and, because they have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, they can help improve your eyesight and brain health in addition to improving the magnesium-fueled systems. By eating just one avocado sliced on a sandwich or in your salad at lunchtime, you can get about 15% of the magnesium you need each day plus a lot of other excellent nutrients.
You’ll find that adding fish to your regular diet gives you a lot of magnesium, and there are a number of other nutrients that you’ll find helpful as well. Naturally, fish of all kinds has lots of essential omega-3 fatty acids, and you’ll also get more vitamin D, which most people are in desperate need of. The best types of fish to consume for their high levels of magnesium are salmon, halibut, and mackerel.
Tofu is made of soybeans, which we already know to be filled with magnesium. But if you don’t want to eat raw soybeans or edamame, you can also eat soy as tofu. If you’re vegetarian, tofu is an essential meat replacement because it packs a lot of protein as well. In a half cup of tofu, you’ll get 37 mg of magnesium. You’ll also get iron, which helps your body produce necessary hemoglobin and a number of other nutrients.
Looking for another magnesium-filled breakfast food? Oatmeal is an excellent option. In one cup of cooked oatmeal, you’ll get 57.6 mg of magnesium. Oatmeal also has optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, potassium, and fiber.
Broccoli is often cited as one of the healthiest vegetables on the market. And just one serving of broccoli has lots of essential magnesium for your body’s systems — 31 mg to be exact. If it’s not your favorite food, however, we get it. But to still get broccoli’s disease-fighting, health-promoting powers, try incorporating it into other recipes that will hide its strong flavor. Put it into a stir fry, break it up onto salads, or add it to a cheesy dish like macaroni and cheese or casserole.
13. Bok Choy
Looking for some tasty veggies to add to your stir fry? Bok choy is always a great choice. Like other cabbage-related vegetables, it packs a lot of magnesium, and it also incorporates the benefits of dark leafy greens. If you’ve seen bok choy, it’s generally white in the stalk, but at the ends, the leaves are a deep, dark green color, which signifies concentrated minerals and nutrients for improved health.
In just one cup of peas, you’ll get 48 mg of magnesium — now that’s a win. Peas are also great at providing lots of vitamin C. Just one cup will give you as much vitamin C as you need in a day. Peas even contain essential vitamin A, potassium, and protein (especially great for vegetarians and vegans).
15. Numerous Spices and Herbs
Finally, if you’d like to sprinkle even more magnesium onto the foods that you eat, try using more spices and herbs. Not only do many spices and herbs like mustard seed, cumin, fennel, and parsley have a lot of essential magnesium in them, they’re a great flavor additive for your food. Many people turn directly to salt for flavor in their food, but this can be detrimental to your hydration levels, blood pressure, and overall health. So why not turn to spices and herbs? You’ll get extra magnesium and flavor.
Magnesium is probably not number one on your list of nutrients to get more of, but as you can see, it should be. The next time you’re hungry, think of the power of magnesium and why your body needs it, then reach for one of the 15 magnesium-filled foods above. Your body will thank you.