Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetes dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) renowned for combining her knowledge of diabetes and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles!

Magnesium: what it does, how much you need, and what foods have it

 Magnesium: what it does, how much you need, and what foods have it

Have you ever wondered what foods have magnesium and how it affects your body? 

Magnesium has been in the news a lot recently and seems to be high on the list of “trendy” supplements these days. But, before you spend your money on another supplement, let’s look at what magnesium does, how much magnesium you need, and what foods are high in magnesium.

Amounts of magnesium needed 

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (or RDA) for magnesium is dependent on age and sex, but ranges from 310 mg/day to 420 mg/day for healthy adults.

Good sources of magnesium 

High fiber foods are usually also high in magnesium. Some foods high in magnesium include: beans, legumes, whole grains, broccoli, squash, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, almonds, dairy products, meats, chocolate, and coffee. “Hard” water is also considered a decent source of magnesium.

Leafy green vegetables 

  • 1 cup cooked spinach has 157mg

Nuts and seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds (1 oz.) has 168mg
  • Chia seeds (1 oz.) has 111mg
  • Almonds (1 oz.) has 80mg
  • Cashews (1 oz.) has 74mg
  • Peanuts (1/4 cup) has 63mg

Fruits and vegetables 

  • 1 banana has 32mg 
  • 1 cup avocado has 44mg
  • 3.5 oz potato has 43mg 
  • 1 apple has 9mg

More foods that have magnesium 

  • 1 cup of black beans has 120 mg
  • 1 cup soy milk has 61mg
  • 1oz. dark chocolate 60-69% cocoa has 50mg
  • 8 oz plain yogurt has 42mg 
  • 1 cup of milk has 24mg
  • 3 oz salmon has 26mg 
  • 3 oz chicken breast has 22mg
 Magnesium: what it does, how much you need, and what foods have it

Who is at risk of magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium intake can be low for some people, especially women, and about 50% of people don’t consume enough magnesium. In the U.S., magnesium deficiency is more common among African Americans and the elderly. 

Magnesium deficiency results from low intake and/or impaired absorption of magnesium in the GI tract. Magnesium deficiency is associated with several health conditions: hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, and stroke.

Healthy adults can take a magnesium supplement safely when used appropriately at levels below 350mg/day. Doses above this amount can cause GI distress such as loose stools and diarrhea. 

Note: Always consult with your physician before starting a dietary supplement. Magnesium supplements can interact with several medications.

What does magnesium do in our bodies and how can supplementing or adding foods high in magnesium help? 

Magnesium plays a role in over 300 different chemical reactions in our bodies. 

Bone health 

Magnesium supports healthy bones. In fact, about 60% of the magnesium found in our bodies is found in our bones. Research has shown that low levels of serum magnesium can be associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. 

Heart health 

Magnesium levels can affect blood pressure levels. Research has shown magnesium supplementation may help lower blood pressure in people with existing high blood pressure.

Magnesium can help keep your heart healthy 

The heart muscle depends on magnesium to help generate and maintain a healthy heartbeat. Magnesium may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that increasing dietary magnesium may reduce the risk of stroke and heart failure. 

Additional health benefits from magnesium foods and supplementation

  • Magnesium helps your body move sugar from your blood stream into your muscle cells, and thus may help improve exercise performance. The research is mixed on this though, so more studies are needed.
  • Since magnesium plays a role in blood sugar metabolism, it makes sense that research has shown that people deficient in magnesium are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Frequent migraines could be linked to low magnesium levels for some people. Studies have shown symptom relief and lower rates of migraines after magnesium supplementation and adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet.
 Magnesium: what it does, how much you need, and what foods have it

Recipes with nuts and seeds for more magnesium

Interested in increasing your magnesium intake? Check out some of these recipes! 

Microwavable Chia Seed Almond Milk Oatmeal 

Homemade Popcorn Trail Mix with Blueberries, Walnuts, Seeds & Chocolate 

More to explore...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses cookies to help improve your user experience. You acknowledge your acceptance by clicking Accept. Read our Privacy Policy here.