Magnesium & Diet 2 - Magnesium-Rich Foods


Magnesium Basics

Not All Magnesium Foods Are Created Equal

Okay so you want to increase the amount of magnesium that you get from your diet. That's great; you're in the right place.  let's get straight to the point. Below is a chart of a wide variety of foods that contain magnesium. Let's study this chart briefly and then move on to a quick description of various food groups that contain magnesium. What will learn is that not all magnesium-rich foods are created equal. Eating too many of certain magnesium rich foods can cause problems due to the other aspects of these foods that are unrelated to the magnesium itself. This is what we'll try to cover in order to give you a more clear picture of how the modern food supply relates to magnesium content.

A chart of a wide variety of foods that contain magnesium.

Not So Great Magnesium Foods

Wheat, grains and cereals

Grains, cereals and wheat products are amongst the most popular magnesium-rich foods consumed in the western world. Unfortunately, most of these foods are heavily processed and treated with irradiation to give them a longer shelf life. While this process does preserve their nutritional value for a longer period of time, it has been linked to adverse health effects. A study conducted in 1975 showed that children who ate irradiated food experienced abnormal cell formation and polyphoid lymph, both of which can negatively impact several bodily functions such as immune strength, kidney functionality, growth and reproductive capabilities. 

Additionally, many of these same grains have become genetically modified crops that utilize pesticides which can also be harmful when consumed in high doses over an extended period of time. Altogether, eating grains and cereals that have been highly processed asa your main source of magnesium is not ideal. A bowl of cereal here and there won’t cause great harm, but making it a daily thing is not something that many health experts advise. If you are going to consider eating healthy grains and cereals, consider more natural options without additives, such as Earth Notion’s natural quinoa flakes from South America!

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are widely viewed as healthy snacks, but in reality, consuming them in the amounts required to meet your daily magnesium requirements can be problematic. This is due to their high content of phytic acid, lectin, inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids, and potentially hazardous mold spores. Phytic acid acts as an anti-nutrient which reduces the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients from other foods. Lectins are proteins that can cause digestive upset and inflammation. Omega 6 fatty acids can contribute to inflammation throughout the body. Finally, certain molds on nuts and seeds produce mycotoxins which can disrupt normal metabolic processes. As such, while nuts and seeds may be tasty additions to your diet, they may cause problems if you use them as a primary source to cover your daily magnesium requirements. 

Again, everything in moderation. A portion of nuts occasionally from a trusted source with no mold can be a great way to satisfy a savoury crunchy craving, but eating nuts and seeds in large quantities consistently is not ideal for human health.

What about Beans?

Beans are a popular dietary staple, but their high content of phytic acid, lectins, and trypsin inhibitors can make them less than ideal for magnesium absorption. We already learned about the problematic issues with lectins and phytic acid. But what about trypsin inhibitors? These substances can further hinder our ability to properly digest protein, vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. Furthermore, soybeans contain phytoestrogens that are linked to infertility, menstrual issues, breast cancer and thyroid problems. While cooking or sprouting beans before consumption may reduce some of their detrimental properties, it is best not to rely on beans to satisfy all your magnesium intake as this may cause various issues. 

Great Magnesium Foods

Organic Cacao

Raw cacao powder is an amazing food with a wealth of nutritional benefits. Did you know that it is the single most magnesium-rich and antioxidant-rich food in the world? No wonder it’s called the food of the gods! Just one tablespoon of raw cacao powder contains 27mg of magnesium, making it a great option if you need to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). 

Raw cacao powder has numerous health benefits. It not only has a high concentration of magnesium, but also a variety of other essential minerals such as natural iron (rather than iron filings that are used to fortify grain based foods in North America) , zinc and copper. It is also incredibly high in antioxidants which help protect cells from free radical damage. It has even been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, thus having a calming effect on both body and mind. If you recall earlier blog posts, you know that the human stress response uses magnesium, so by reducing your stress, you can preserve more of your magnesium for more life-giving bodily processes. All in all, raw cacao powder is an excellent source of nutrients for anyone looking to increase their intake of Magnesium!

Fruits and vegetables

Spinach and Swiss Chard are both nutrient-rich vegetables that provide a great source of magnesium when consumed in their organic form. An average cooked cup of either vegetable contains an impressive 83 mg of magnesium, making them a great choice for people looking to get more of this important mineral into their diet. Okra is another vegetable that can be eaten cooked, and it provides 50 mg of magnesium per 125 ml serving. If you're looking for a fruit high in magnesium, then the prickly pear is your best option - providing up to 88 mg of magnesium per pear! And last but not least, potatoes can also be included in your list of foods high in magnesium as they contain between 47-52 mg per medium cooked potato with skin. Potatoes also contain hugh amounts of vitamin C, as well as substances called keto acids which the body can use for its daily regeneration!

Wild-caught seafood

Cooked halibut is one of the best sources of magnesium from sea food, as it provides a generous 80mg of the mineral in a 75 gram serving. Not far behind is cooked Atlantic mackerel, which contains 73mg of magnesium per a 75 gram serving. Another good option for increasing your dietary intake of magnesium is cooked Atlantic pollock, with 64mg available per a 75 gram serving. Finally, cooked Atlantic crab offers 47mg of magnesium in each 75 gram serving. When choosing which sea food to include in your diet for the purpose of increasing your magnesium intake, it's important to opt for fish with low levels of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. This will ensure that you are getting the maximum amount of the nutrient and not sacrificing any nutritional value due to inflammation. All choices listed above provide great sources of magnesium while still being relatively lean and low on fat content.

Organic Turmeric

Although the strong taste of turmeric may not be for everyone, there are various health benefits to consuming this amazing root. One hundred grams of raw turmeric root contains an incredible 193 mg of magnesium - making it the second most magnesium-rich food on the planet after cacao! 

Organic Ginger

Ginger is a great addition to any meal due to its ability to aid digestion and help with absorption of magnesium. It contains 43 mg of magnesium for every 100 grams, which is not as high as ingredients like cacao, but it does contain the enzyme xingybain which helps break down proteins and increases stomach acid levels. This can be very beneficial in preventing bacterial overgrowth, which can otherwise interfere with magnesium absorption. 

Hopefully this provides a more clear picture of the dietary options available to you to satisfy your daily magnesium requirements!

Posted By

Janelle Van Driesen

Janelle is one of our passionate writers that loves helping people understand health and nutrition.