Foods that Contain Magnesium

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About Magnesium

Magnesium is a crucial mineral needed by the heart, kidneys and every other organ in the body. Magnesium also activates enzymes; helps regulate the levels of calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, copper and other nutrients; and aids in energy production. Foods that contain magnesium are one source of adding this important nutrient to the daily diet. Another source is to take magnesium supplements.

Research has shown links between a deficiency of magnesium in the diet and certain medical conditions including fibromyalgia, the development of asthma and diabetes. Magnesium has been used to help treat patients with arrhythmia, high blood pressure and migraines.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, magnesium is needed in the following daily amounts:

  • Males (age 11 and up): 270 to 400 mg
  • Females (age 11 and up): 280 to 300 mg
  • Females (pregnant): 320 mg
  • Females (breastfeeding): 335 to 340 mg

Children should not be given magnesium supplements unless recommended and supervised by a physician. The amounts typically used are based on age:

  • Up to 3 years of age: 40 to 80 mg
  • 4 to 6 years of age: 120 mg
  • 7 to 10 years of age: 170 mg

The following is a list of foods that are rich in magnesium. Be careful not to overcook foods, as some of the magnesium content can be lost.

Pumpkin Seeds

One serving (one quarter cup) of raw pumpkin seeds contains 186.7 calories and 184.58 mg of magnesium. This comprises 46.1 percent of the recommended daily value for magnesium.


Spinach has 41.4 calories in a one-cup serving. In this serving is 156.50 mg of magnesium, which makes up 39.1 percent of the recommended daily value for it. Spinach is nutrient-rich, with its top nutrients consisting of vitamins K, A, C, B2, B6 and E, as well as manganese, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, tryptophan, dietary fiber and copper.

Swiss Chard

One cup of boiled Swiss chard contains37.6 percent of the recommended daily value for magnesium. This comes from the 150.50 mg in it. That one cup of Swiss chard also has 35 calories. Swiss chard is loaded with nutrients and is a rich source of vitamins K, A, C and E, as well as manganese, potassium, iron, dietary fiber, calcium and copper.

Sunflower Seeds

A one cup serving of raw sunflower seeds has 127.44 milligrams of magnesium and 205.20 calories. The amount of magnesium found in this serving of sunflower seeds accounts for 31.9 percent of the recommended daily value for the nutrient.

Sunflower seeds are also high in vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamin), manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), folate and tryptophan.

Sesame Seeds

One quarter cup of raw sesame seeds contains 206.28 calories and 31.6 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium (126.36 mg). Sesame seeds are also a rich source of copper, manganese, tryptophan, calcium and iron.

Garnering their name from being a staple of the U.S. Navy, navy beans are another great source of magnesium. One cup of cooked navy beans provides 26.8 percent (107.38 mg) of the recommended daily value for the nutrient. This one cup serving also contains 258.44 calories and is rich in folate, tryptophan, manganese, dietary fiber, protein, copper and phosphorus.


A one quarter cup serving of dry-roasted almonds contains 205.96 calories and 98.67 mg or 24.7 percent of the recommended daily value of the nutrient. A great snack food, almonds are also loaded with manganese, vitamin E, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

Flax Seeds

Ultra-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds are also another of the foods that contain magnesium in high amounts. One two-tablespoon serving of flax seeds has 17.5 percent (70.14 mg) of the recommended daily value for magnesium. Flax seeds are also high in manganese and dietary fiber. There are a number of gluten-free recipes that utilize flax seeds in them.


Magnesium. The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Magnesium. University of Maryland Medical Center.