Magnesium is an important micronutrient that is essential for many bodily functions. This nutrient is necessary for healthy bones, calcium absorption, food metabolism, synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, as well as nerve function. Magnesium deficiency occurs in many ways that can be easily overlooked. Muscle cramps, fatigue, arrhythmia, dizziness, nausea, numbness, insomnia, brain fog and anxiety are just some of the symptoms magnesium counteracts. Causes of a deficiency can include eating the wrong foods, excessive alcohol consumption, some prescription drugs, high-sugar diets, overuse of antacids and leaky gut syndrome. All of these things can contribute to insufficient magnesium in the body, which is why it is important to include magnesium-rich foods in your diet.
According to research, magnesium is responsible for 300 biochemical processes in the body. One way to prevent magnesium deficiency is to make sure you are getting enough magnesium-rich foods! Below is a list of 10 common foods that you can include in your diet throughout the day, not just for magnesium, but for all the other nutrients that magnesium interacts with to be utilized and properly absorbed by the body.
Foods rich in magnesium
Cashew nuts, Brazil nuts and almonds are very rich in magnesium. Cashews contribute 82 mg in a one-ounce serving or 20% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). They are also a great source of selenium, fiber and monounsaturated fats, all of which help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Nuts are anti-inflammatory and may help improve heart health. In the evening, they are a great snack to prevent glucose levels from falling too low and interrupting sleep. However, be careful not to eat too many nuts, as they are high in fat. A recommended serving is 2 oz of nuts 1-2 times a day.
Legumes such as lentils, black beans, chickpeas, peas and soybeans are known to be a great source of protein. However, they also contain a lot of magnesium. One cup of black beans provides 120 mg of magnesium or meets 30% of the RDI in your diet. Other micronutrients they contain are potassium and iron, as well as an essential source of protein and fiber for plant-based diets. Legumes are a great fighter against one of the biggest global problems, heart disease.
3. Fatty fish
Wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and halibut are all high-magnesium fish. 180 grams of salmon provides 13% of the RDI for magnesium. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important components of salmon that help fight heart disease. In 180 grams of salmon is 39 grams of protein, B vitamins, selenium and potassium that supplement magnesium for a healthy heart and brain.
4. Organic Tofu
Tofu is high in protein and magnesium. It is made from soy milk that is pressed into small white curds. Selecting organic tofu is important in soybean crops as it is the longest growing crop and therefore heavily treated with pesticides. Soy is a great source of protein and magnesium, especially for the plant-based diet. A 3.5-ounce serving has 13% DV or 53 mg of magnesium. Other micronutrients in tofu include calcium, iron, selenium and manganese.
Craving dark chocolate? Magnesium may be one of the things that can help. A small bar of dark chocolate provides 226 mg of magnesium per 100 grams. It also contains nutrients such as iron, antioxidants, manganese, copper and prebiotic fiber. However, moderation is key. Due to the high sugar content in store-bought chocolates, it is only good to consume little each day. Small portions of dark chocolate can be good for heart and gut health. It is best to consume dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cocoa.
Chia, pumpkin, and flax are some of the fortified foods with magnesium. Pumpkin seeds contain 150 mg of magnesium in an ounce serving, which is 40-50% DV. A tablespoon of flaxseeds or chia seeds contains about 40 mg of magnesium or 15% RDA with also iron, antioxidants, fiber and monounsaturated fats. These seeds are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids that promote a healthy brain and heart. If you want to improve cognitive function, add some ground flax to your oatmeal, smoothies, salads, soups and sauces. You can also make a trail mix with seeds, nuts, your favorite dry berries, and granola, which can be a perfect snack to chew.
Avocados can be used in your diet in several ways. Whether you’re adding slices to a salad, blending them into a smoothie, or making guacamole, you can expect 58 mg or 15% RDA of magnesium from this fruit. Vitamin K, B, potassium, monounsaturated fats and fiber work together in this fruit to make it one of the most powerful elements in the nutritional world. Avocados also help improve cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and increase feelings of fullness, promoting weight loss!
This fruit is one of the most common fruits in a household. Although bananas are known for their high potassium content, they also contain about 37 mg of magnesium. Other nutrients it contains are fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It is recommended to consume bananas that are slightly less ripe than the ripened alternatives. The starch of the younger bananas remains intact when consumed. It goes to the large intestine where it is broken down by the gut bacteria. Interestingly, this also makes for a wonderful prebiotic to help improve gut health. In addition, ripe bananas are also higher in carbohydrates and sugar.
9. Organic Leafy Vegetables
Another crop that is imperative for organic shopping is the dark green family. Things in nature like to eat these vegetables as much as we do. These crops, if not grown organically, are heavily treated with chemicals to prevent this. This is especially true for root vegetables, which take several seasons of treatment from the soil. Leafy greens are a popular manganese-rich food, packed with other great vitamins like A, C and K. One cup of cooked spinach contains about 40% of the RDI of magnesium. Mustard greens, kale, turnip greens, and many more from this family all help oxidize and detoxify cells, promoting cancer prevention. Adding a handful of spinach to a fruit smoothie can be a fun trick when you’re trying to sneak those veggies into your kids’ diet!
Oysters provide 37 mg of magnesium or 9% DV in just 3 oz. Magnesium yes, but oysters are more famous for their amazing zinc and copper content of over 188% DV zinc and 114% DV copper! Like fish, they also provide omega-3 fatty acids, protein and vitamin D. These micronutrients provide building blocks for key processes in the body, such as DNA synthesis, bone and tissue repair, cognitive functions, and anti-inflammatory drugs for disease prevention.
It comes down to
All in all, magnesium is a huge building block that the body needs to function properly. Since magnesium contributes to 300 biochemical processes in the body, it is essential to include these magnesium-rich foods in your daily routine. If you want to improve your brain function, sleep and daily energy, alternate these foods at every meal and enjoy some variety while improving your overall health and well-being.
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