Magnesium-Rich Foods and Why You Need Them

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You may have a low level of magnesium in your diet that is preventing you from reaping important health benefits

Magnesium (Mg) is considered a healthy mineral essential to your body, but it is estimated that 75% of Americans and people around the world are well below the recommended daily intake of Mg.[i] Luckily, there is an easy fix, since magnesium is bountiful in many foods. 

Bright leafy greens/veggies (magnesium gives them that rich green color) top the magnesium-dense list including spinach, chard, broccoli and kale, followed closely by legumes such as lima beans, black beans, peas and edamame (soybean).[ii] When it comes to snacks, seeds[iii] (pumpkin and flax), nuts[iv] (almonds, cashews, peanut butter) and dark chocolate[v] pack a high magnesium punch.

Healthy omega-3 fats and magnesium are also abundant in salmon, tuna and avocado.[vi] Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, buckwheat and even wild rice (technically a grass) are filled with magnesium.[vii] For a list of the top 25 magnesium-rich foods, see Table 1.

Table 1

25 Foods Rich in Magnesium


Magnesium (100% Daily Value = 420 mg)


1 cup cooked

157 mg (37%)


1 cup

157 mg (37%)

Seeds (Pumpkin and Squash)

1 ounce

156 mg (37%)

Lima Beans

1 cup cooked

126 mg (30%)

Black Beans

1 cup cooked

120 mg (29%)


1 cup

118 mg (28%)


6 oz fillet (high in mercury)

109 mg (26%)


¼ cup

105 mg (25%)


¼ cup

90 mg (21%)

Brown Rice

1 cup

86 mg (20%)


1 cup or 1 ounce dry

65 mg (15%)

Dark Chocolate

1 ounce square (70% cocoa)

64 mg (15%)


1 cup

60 mg (14%)



58 mg (14%)


½ fillet (178 grams)

53 mg (13%)

Wild Rice

1 cup

52 mg (12%)

Edamame (Soybean)

½ cup

50 mg (12%)


½ cup (don't overcook)

50 mg (12%)


½ cup

50 mg (12%)


1 cup cooked

50 mg (12%)

Peanut Butter

2 Tablespoons

49 mg (12%)


1 cup

47 mg (11%)

Flaxseed Oil or Flaxseed

1 Tablespoon or ½ Tablespoon

42 mg (10%)


1 cup sliced

41 mg (10%)


1 cup (raw)

37 mg (8%)

Benefits of Eating Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium in your diet helps to prevent diseases and lessen the harshness of some diseases if you get them. Magnesium has neuroprotective, cardio-protective, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and hypoglycemic properties.

A magnesium deficiency or low level of magnesium in your food creates an out of balance condition in your body linked to many diseases from diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome to depression and neurological disorders.


Magnesium has many protective properties, such as glucose or blood sugar moderating and insulin regulating, lowering risk for Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and improving outcomes for Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Magnesium intake significantly improved glucose parameters in people with diabetes and also improved insulin-sensitivity parameters in those at high risk of diabetes in a review of 18 randomized clinical trials, including a total of 670 diabetic and 453 at risk for diabetes patients.[viii]

In another meta-analysis of 637,922 individuals, the risk of T2D was reduced by 17% across all the studies; 19% in women and 16% in men when magnesium was increased in their diet.[ix]

A magnesium deficiency is seen as a contributing factor in insulin resistance for T2D patients.[x] In a 2017 study of 71 children with T1D, magnesium supplementation improved glycemic control and lipid profiles while decreasing complications such as hypomagnesaemia (clinical magnesium deficiency).[xi] For the 52,684 without known diabetes, dietary magnesium was found to lower fasting glucose and insulin, two risk factors for diabetes.[xii]

Heart Disease

Because of chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium contents, and higher availability of refined and processed foods, the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency (often undiagnosed) and magnesium dietary supplementation is an easy and low cost way to lower the risks for a variety of heart diseases.[xiii]

In a meta-analysis of 532,979 participants from 19 studies, the greatest risk reduction for cardiovascular disease (CVD) occurred when magnesium intake increased from 150 to 400 milligrams (mg) per day.[xiv] In a meta-analysis of 48 genetic studies with a total of 60,801 coronary artery disease (CAD) cases and 123,504 non-cases, researchers found that serum magnesium levels are inversely associated with risk of heart disease.[xv]

Magnesium supplementation is also seen as a successful preventative mechanism (by improving lipid profiles, fasting glucose and blood pressure)[xvi] to heart disease complications (a leading cause of death from T2 diabetes).[xvii],[xviii]

Metabolic Syndrome

Generally, the triad of obesity, high blood pressure and impaired glucose tolerance, as in T2D (insulin resistance), is referred to as metabolic syndrome.[xix] In a meta-analysis of six studies, including a total of 24,473 individuals and 6,311 cases of metabolic syndrome, a higher dietary magnesium level lowered the risk of metabolic syndrome by 17%.[xx]

Magnesium supplementation has also been shown to lower blood pressure measures significantly in those with high blood pressure taking anti-hypertensive medication (135 subjects); systolic blood pressure decreased by 18.7 points and diastolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 10.9 points. 

In a 2018 study of obesity and diabetes of over 1,500 Mexican subjects, increased dietary magnesium reduced body mass index, waist circumference and serum glucose levels, and is likely to prevent co-morbidities.[xxi] High blood pressure is associated with vascular failure and can increase arterial stiffness.[xxii] In a 2016 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, a daily dose (350 mg) of magnesium decreased arterial stiffness in 52 obese and overweight subjects.[xxiii]

Obesity, inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance are thought to be the common pathways to the overlap in high blood pressure and diabetes.[xxiv] Increasing magnesium intake has been shown to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which indicate the amount of inflammation in the body,[xxv] among individuals with low-grade chronic systemic inflammation in a meta-analysis of 17 studies. Overall, a lower level of magnesium is seen in those having metabolic syndrome.[xxvi]

Neurological Disorders

Magnesium is often called the "mind mineral," as it is abundant in the central nervous system and contributes to a balanced brain, influencing serotonin, dopamine and neuro-transmissions.[xxvii] Recent research has linked magnesium deficiency and low magnesium levels with many neurological disorders, such as cerebral vasospasm, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression,[xxviii] stroke and migraine.[xxix] Daily consumption of 500 mg magnesium oxide tablets for over eight weeks by 30 depressed patients suffering from magnesium deficiency in 2017 led to significant improvements in depression status compared to the placebo group.[xxx]

A lower level of magnesium has been statistically associated with Alzheimer's disease.[xxxi],[xxxii] Higher magnesium intake showed neuroprotection and lower risk for Parkinson's disease in a study of 49 Japanese patients.[xxxiii] There is also strong evidence that magnesium deficiency is much more prevalent in migraine sufferers than in healthy controls[xxxiv] and oral magnesium could help to alleviate migraine symptoms.[xxxv]

Magnesium-Rich Diet Tied to Improved Health

Don't miss out on the health benefits of magnesium-rich foods (i.e., dark chocolate, nuts/seeds, leafy greens, legumes, fatty fish and whole grains) in your diet. Recent research has confirmed links between magnesium and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and neuro-related diseases, both as a preventative and a moderator for disease severity. You can find further scientific evidence at under magnesium and magnesium deficiency

Magnesium's Esoteric Role in Biotransforming Light into Matter! 

Also, if you are interested in going deeper down the rabbit hole into the topic, read Chapter 3 of Sayer Ji, founder of Greenmedinfo's new book REGENERATE, which discusses the role of magnesium-ATP chelate in producing a nano-particle accelerator type effect that has profound new implications for nutrition, biology, and medicine: The New Biophysics: A Deep Dive into the Quantum Rabbit Hole of Esoteric Physiology


[i] Guerrera MP, Volpe SL, Mao JJ. Therapeutic uses of magnesiumAm Fam Physician. 2009;80(2):157‐162. PMID: 19621856

[iii] Simply Health. Today. 21 Foods High In Magnesium.

[vi], 10 Foods High in Magnesium.

[viii] N Veronese, S F Watutantrige, C Luchini, M Solmi, G Sartore, G Sergi, E Manzato, M Barbagallo, S Maggi, B Stubbs. Effect of magnesium supplementation on glucose metabolism in people with or at risk of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of double-blind randomized controlled trials. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Aug 17. Epub 2016 Aug 17. PMID: 27530471

[ix] Xin Fang, Hedong Han, Mei Li, Chun Liang, Zhongjie Fan, Jan Aaseth, Jia He, Scott Montgomery, Yang Cao. Correction of hypomagnesemia in type 1 diabetic children with oral magnesium supplements is associated with optimization of glycemic control. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 19 ;8(11). Epub 2016 Aug 19. PMID: 27869762

[xi] Doaaa Shahbah, Tamer Hassan, Saeed Morsy, Hosam El Saadany, Manar Fathy, Ashgan Al-Ghobashy, Nahla Elsamad, Ahmed Emam, Ahmed Elhewala, Boshra Ibrahim, Sherief El Gebaly, Hany El Sayed, Hanan Ahmed. Correction of hypomagnesemia in type 1 diabetic children with oral magnesium supplements is associated with optimization of glycemic control. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Mar ;96(11):e6352. PMID: 28296769

[xii] Adela Hruby, Julius S Ngwa, Frida Renström, Mary K Wojczynski, Andrea Ganna, Göran Hallmans, Denise K Houston, Paul F Jacques, Stavroula Kanoni, Terho Lehtimäki, et al., Higher magnesium intake is associated with lower fasting glucose and insulin, with no evidence of interaction with select genetic loci, in a meta-analysis of 15 CHARGE Consortium Studies. J Nutr. 2013 Mar ;143(3):345-53. Epub 2013 Jan 23. PMID: 23343670

[xiii] James J DiNicolantonio, James H O'Keefe, William Wilson. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart2018 ;5(1):e000668. Epub 2018 Jan 13. PMID: 29387426

[xiv] Xinhua Qu, Fangchun Jin, Yongqiang Hao, Huiwu Li, Tingting Tang, Hao Wang, Weili Yan, Kerong Dai. Dietary magnesium intake and serum magnesium concentrations are inversely associated with the risk of total CVD events. PLoS One. 2013 ;8(3):e57720. Epub 2013 Mar 8. PMID: 23520480

[xv] Susanna C Larsson, Stephen Burgess, Karl Michaëlsson. Serum magnesium levels are inversely associated with risk of coronary artery disease. BMC Med. 2018 May 17 ;16(1):68. Epub 2018 May 17. PMID: 29769070

[xvii] Liana C Del Gobbo, Fumiaki Imamura, Jason H Y Wu, Marcia C de Oliveira Otto, Stephanie E Chiuve, Dariush Mozaffarian. Circulating and dietary magnesium and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul ;98(1):160-73. Epub 2013 May 29. PMID: 23719551

[xviii] Christina M Gant, Sabita S Soedamah-Muthu, S Heleen Binnenmars, Stephan J L Bakker, Gerjan Navis, Gozewijn D Laverman. Higher Dietary Magnesium Intake and Higher Magnesium Status Are Associated with Lower Prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 5 ;10(3). Epub 2018 Mar 5. PMID: 29510564

[xix] Helmut Geiger, Christoph Wanner, Magnesium in disease, Clinical Kidney Journal, Volume 5, Issue Suppl_1, 1 February 2012, Pages i25-i38,

[xx] D T Dibaba, P Xun, A D Fly, K Yokota, K He. The present meta-analysis suggests that dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Diabet Med. 2014 Nov ;31(11):1301-9. PMID: 24975384

[xxi] Analí Castellanos-Gutiérrez, Tania G Sánchez-Pimienta, Alicia Carriquiry, Teresa H M da Costa, Ana Carolina Ariza. Higher dietary magnesium intake is associated with lower body mass index, waist circumference and serum glucose in Mexican adults. Nutr J. 2018 12 5 ;17(1):114. Epub 2018 Dec 5. PMID: 30518394

[xxii] Maruhashi, T., Kinoshita, Y., Kajikawa, M. et al. Relationship between home blood pressure and vascular function in patients receiving antihypertensive drug treatment. Hypertens Res 42, 1175-1185 (2019).

[xxiii] Peter J Joris, Jogchum Plat, Stephan Jl Bakker, Ronald P Mensink. Daily magnesium supplement of 350 mg for 24 wk in overweight and obese adults reduces arterial stiffness. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 May ;103(5):1260-6. Epub 2016 Apr 6. PMID: 27053384

[xxiv] Bernard M. Y. Cheung and Chao Li. Diabetes and Hypertension: Is There a Common Metabolic Pathway? Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2012 Apr; 14(2): 160-166. Published online 2012 Jan 27. doi: 10.1007/s11883-012-0227-2, PMCID: PMC3314178, PMID: 22281657

[xxvi] Iwona Rotter, Danuta Kosik-Bogacka, Barbara Dołęgowska, Krzysztof Safranow, Beata Karakiewicz, Maria Laszczyńska. Lower serum Mg level may be conducive to the development of total testosterone deficiency, arterial hypertension, diabetes, and therefore metabolic syndrome. Magnes Res. 2015 Aug 1 ;28(3):99-107. PMID: 26507751

[xxvii] James Greenblatt. Magnesium: The Missing Link In Mental Health? November 17, 2016 , Mental Health, Cal + Mag Resources, DBH Resources.

[xxviii] Cheungpasitporn W, Thongprayoon C, Mao MA, et al. Hypomagnesaemia linked to depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Intern Med J. 2015;45(4):436‐440. PMID: 25827510 doi:10.1111/imj.12682

[xxix] Wenwen Xue, Jing You, Yingchao Su, Qinglu Wang. Magnesium has effects on neurological disorders. Iran J Public Health. 2019 Mar ;48(3):379-387. PMID: 31223564

[xxx] Afsaneh Rajizadeh, Hassan Mozaffari-Khosravi, Mojtaba Yassini-Ardakani, Ali Dehghani. Effect of magnesium supplementation on depression status in depressed patients with magnesium deficiency: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition. 2017 Mar ;35:56-60. Epub 2016 Nov 9. PMID: 28241991

[xxxi] Barbagallo M, Belvedere M, Di Bella G, Dominguez LJ. Altered ionized magnesium levels in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. Magnes Res. 2011;24:S115-21 PMID: 21951617

[xxxii] Nicola Veronese, Anna Zurlo, Marco Solmi, Claudio Luchini, Caterina Trevisan, Giulia Bano, Enzo Manzato, Giuseppe Sergi, Ragnar Rylander. Magnesium Status in Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2015 Sep 7. Epub 2015 Sep 7. PMID: 26351088

[xxxiii] Miyake Y, Tanaka K, Fukushima W, Sasaki S, Kiyohara C, Tsuboi Y, Yamada T, Oeda T, Miki T, Kawamura N, Sakae N, Fukuyama H, Hirota Y, Nagai M; Fukuoka Kinki. Dietary Intake of Metals and Risk of Parkinson's Disease: A Case-Control Study in Japan. J Neurol Sci. 2011 Jul 15;306(1-2):98-102. Epub 2011 Apr 16. PMID: 21497832, DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2011.03.035

[xxxiv] Afshin Samaie, Nabiollah Asghari, Raheb Ghorbani, Jafar Arda. Blood Magnesium levels in migraineurs within and between the headache attacks: a case control study. Pan Afr Med J2012 ;11:46. Epub 2012 Mar 15. PMID: 22593782

[xxxv] Alexander Mauskop, Jasmine Varughese. Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. J Neural Transm. 2012 May ;119(5):575-9. Epub 2012 Mar 18. PMID: 22426836

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