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Magnesium-Rich Foods

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Magnesium-Rich Foods

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Magnesium is a mineral that is needed for various functions in our body. Read the article to learn about magnesium deficiency, sources of magnesium, and more.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At May 21, 2020
Reviewed AtMay 3, 2024

What Are Magnesium-Rich Foods?

Magnesium is an essential mineral for various functions in the body. It is present in bone and the third most abundant mineral in teeth, with dentin containing more magnesium than enamel. Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining the homeostasis of calcium and helps prevent skeletal abnormalities.

It also participates in various enzymatic reactions and maintains muscle integrity. The daily requirement of magnesium is 0.009 ounces per day for a nine-year-old and 0.01 ounces per day for men.

Magnesium can also lead to various hypo- and hyper-states. Though getting excess magnesium from daily food is difficult, this can happen to people taking supplements.

What Are the Symptoms Seen During Magnesium Deficiency?

Although magnesium deficiency is a rare condition, it is important to know the symptoms that occur when magnesium levels are decreased.

The following symptoms can be experienced during a magnesium deficiency:

  • Nausea or vomiting.

  • Fatigue.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Heart rhythms can become abnormal.

  • Numbness or tingling sensation.

  • Contraction of muscles or muscular cramps.

  • Weakness.

What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?

As mentioned, it is rare to happen; certain health conditions can contribute to decreased magnesium levels in the body, which are as follows:

  • Certain diseases or conditions of the gastrointestinal tract include Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease), celiac disease Immune reaction to a gluten-rich diet), and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Diabetes (high blood sugar levels).

  • Viral infections of the stomach cause diarrhea and vomiting.

  • Diseases or disorders of the kidney.

Also, certain habits or personal lifestyles, like regularly consuming increased alcohol, can alter magnesium levels in the body.

Can Excess Intake Cause Any Side-Effects?

Yes, taking or consuming high levels of magnesium can also cause some serious side effects. Studies have shown that magnesium toxicity can lead to failure of kidney or renal function. This can also lead to diarrhea, nausea, and cramps in the abdomen, and finally, a very high increase in magnesium levels can lead to cardiac arrest.

Usually, a high dose of magnesium can be utilized as a laxative, like milk of magnesia.

What Are the Sources of Magnesium?

Magnesium is seen or obtained naturally in various foods, and some of the best sources of magnesium are mentioned below.

  • Dark Chocolate - Food that makes a person happy, along with being delicious. It has phenylethylamine, which is responsible for endorphin release. It is also known as a neurotransmitter that makes a person feel good. The amount of magnesium in dark chocolate is 0.009 ounces per 0.005 ounces.

  • White Beans - These have folate along with magnesium and are also fibrous. The amount of magnesium is 0.005 ounces of white beans is 0.007 ounces.

  • Black Beans - It is a vegetarian staple with high protein levels and less fat and cholesterol. Also, it has high levels of magnesium. For example, 0.005 ounces of black beans contain 0.006 ounces of magnesium.

  • Pumpkin and Squash Seeds - They are a very good source of nutritious snacks. They contain high levels of magnesium. One ounce, approximately equivalent to 142 seeds, consists of 0.006 ounces of magnesium.

  • Spinach - Cooked spinach is known to be a good source of magnesium. The amount of magnesium present in spinach is 0.003 ounces per 0.005 ounces of spinach.

  • Almonds - It is a dry fruit with low calories. Also, they are beneficial in the building of bone as it contains calcium and magnesium. For example, one ounce of almonds has 0.003 ounces of magnesium.

  • Cashews - Another nut or dry fruit is known to be rich in magnesium. But they are also high in carbohydrates and are equally nutritious. Also, they are known to be a good source of certain vitamins like vitamins E, K, and B6, along with potassium and iron. One ounce of cashews equates to 0.003 ounces of magnesium.

  • Avocados - It is nutritious as well as delicious and have magnesium content in them along with potassium, vitamin B, and K. A medium-sized avocado contains 0.003 ounces of magnesium.

  • Legumes - They belong to a group of plants that have high amounts of nutrients, like beans, and chickpeas. They are also known to be a rich source of magnesium. Along with this, they are also a good source of potassium and iron. They account for an important source of proteins for vegetarians.

  • Whole Grains - Grains involve certain cereals, wheat, and barley. One ounce of dry buckwheat can provide almost 16 percent of the daily required magnesium level.

  • Fish - Certain fish, like fatty fish, are very good sources of magnesium. Studies have also shown that increased intake of fatty fish is related to a decrease in the risk of many chronic diseases or conditions, especially heart disease.

  • Fruits - Certain fruits, like bananas, are also good sources of magnesium and potassium. One large banana can contain 37 mg of magnesium, which is almost nine percent of the required quantity.

  • Green Leafy Vegetables - In addition to spinach, certain other green leafy vegetables are good sources of magnesium. These include turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, etc. In addition to magnesium, they are also a good source of iron, manganese, and certain vitamins, such as vitamins A, C, and K.

What Are the Risks and Benefits of Magnesium?

Risks: In a healthy person, excessive magnesium from food is usually filtered out through the kidneys. If one is taking magnesium supplements, one must take them only after consulting the doctor, as magnesium in excess amounts can cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Also, high doses of magnesium can cause heart attacks or irregular heartbeats.

Therefore, one must not take magnesium supplements if one suffers from the following conditions:

  • Kidney failure.

  • Heart block.

  • Myasthenia gravis (a condition causing muscle weakness and fatigue).

  • Bowel obstruction.


  • Magnesium helps relax muscles, thus relaxing asthmatic muscles and preventing asthma attacks.

  • Also, magnesium from a food diet has shown a drop in blood pressure by up to two to three points in diastolic blood pressure and three to four points in systolic blood pressure.

  • People suffering from migraines usually have low levels of magnesium. However, the effectiveness of magnesium in preventing migraines is still under research.

  • According to some clinical studies, magnesium is also known to lessen the risk of type 2 diabetes (abnormal blood glucose levels), stroke (brain damage caused by blood supply interruption to the brain), and heart disease.

  • Some studies also suggest that bone mineral density can increase by incorporating magnesium into diet through food and supplements in post-menopausal women.


Magnesium is an essential nutrient in the diet and must be taken adequately to maintain proper body functioning. Everyone should be aware of the symptoms associated with decreased and increased magnesium intake. In addition, individuals can use online platforms to seek information regarding magnesium's sources.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Complications Do Low Magnesium Levels Cause?

Magnesium deficiency can, over time, cause adverse health effects such as,
- High blood pressure.
- Osteoporosis.
- Heart diseases.
- Type 2 diabetes.


What Signs Do Low Magnesium Levels Cause in Our Body?

Low magnesium levels in the body can exhibit the following signs and symptoms,
- Fatigue.
- Weakness.
- Muscle cramps.
- Numbness and tingling sensations.
- Low calcium and potassium levels.
- Seizures.
- Altered moods.
- Abnormal heart rhythms.


How to Achieve Apt Magnesium Levels Quickly?

- Take magnesium supplements.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and beverages, and carbonated drinks.
- Eliminate refined sugar from your diet.


What Are the Natural Sources of Magnesium?

Natural sources of magnesium include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish, dark chocolate, and tofu.


Which Are Magnesium-Rich Vegetables?

- Spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
- Edamame beans (a type of soybean).
- Potatoes.
- Broccoli.
- Carrot.
- Okra.
- Tamarind.


What Food Is Packed With Magnesium and Potassium?

The following food items are rich in both magnesium and potassium:
- Fish.
- Bananas.
- Spinach (cooked).
- Potatoes.
- Broccoli.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Beans.
- Legumes.
- Nuts.
- Whole grains.


What Are Some Magnesium-Rich Drinks?

Juices of orange, pineapple, grapes, prunes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and banana are rich in magnesium.


Which Is a Magnesium-Rich Nut?

Nuts are rich sources of magnesium. Almonds, cashew, and peanuts are packed with magnesium.


Are Eggs Rich in Potassium and Magnesium?

Though eggs contain both magnesium and potassium, they are not rich sources of both. Eggs are considered to be low-potassium foods.


Can Coffee Deplete Magnesium Stores in Our Bodies?

Caffeinated beverages and drinks can deplete the body’s magnesium levels. Hence drinking coffee on a regular basis or in excessive amounts can lower magnesium levels.


Is It Fine to Supplement Magnesium Every Day?

In case of magnesium deficiency, it is fine to take magnesium supplements after a physician’s advice. But too much magnesium levels (above 350 mg) due to supplements can also cause adverse effects like abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.


Which Magnesium Supplement Can Pregnant Women Take?

Magnesium citrate or glycinate supplements are recommended for pregnant women. However, your gynecologist will choose the best one for you.


Can Magnesium Cause Any Complications to the Fetus?

Prolonged use of magnesium sulfate injections in pregnant women can affect the fetus’ calcium levels and bones. It can lead to a condition called osteopenia (low bone mass) that makes the baby’s bones prone to fracture.


Can Magnesium Cause Abortion in Pregnant Women?

Magnesium deficiency in pregnant women can lead to varied health conditions like preterm labor, restricted baby growth within the womb, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes.


Which Magnesium Can Best Treat Migraines and Anxiety?

Magnesium glycinate treats anxiety and migraines well due to its easier absorbability. Magnesium citrate and oxide also treat these conditions well.


How Much Magnesium Is Needed for Migraine Treatment?

Some studies have achieved better results in treating migraines in people with 500 mg of magnesium supplementation. Though the National Headache Foundation recommends 400 to 600 mg of daily magnesium supplement to treat migraines, it exceeds the recommended per day magnesium levels. Hence, it is ideal to discuss with your physician for an optimal dose.
Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra



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