Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for the human body. It is essential for biochemical reactions related to the functioning of nerves, protein synthesis, blood sugar control and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is also very important for our bones - it helps to maintain their structure and is vital for the synthesis of the genetic material (DNA and RNA).
According to Harvard University, USA, the food that contains the most concentrated amount of magnesium is bulgur, a cereal produced from wheat that is widely used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking.
Per cup of dry bulgur, it contains 230mg of magnesium. The second most magnesium dense food is barley, with 158mg per cup, closely followed by cooked spinach, which contains 157mg per cup. Other foods with high levels of magnesium include: pumpkin seeds, cornmeal, beans, green beets, halibut, roasted almonds and brown rice.
Magnesium rich foods
Whole wheat flour: Most whole grains offer a good source of magnesium, but whole wheat flour provides the body with a particularly substantial 160mg per cup.
Spinach: Dark green leaves are rich in nutrients, and spinach is no exception - as we mentioned above. Just to emphasise the importance of including spinach in your diet, we’ll remind you that one cup of boiled spinach provides the body with 157mg of magnesium.
Quinoa: Quinoa is prepared and eaten in a similar way to rice. It is known for its many health benefits, including a high protein and high mineral content. One cup of cooked quinoa has 118mg of magnesium.
Almonds, cashew nuts and peanuts
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains 64mg of magnesium per 28g serving serving, meaning dark is an excellent option to help maintain a healthy heart. However, it is important, in the case of chocolate, that you choose one that is at least 70% pure cocoa to reap the benefits of this superfood.
Edamame beans: Edamame beans are literally baby soybeans that have harvested while they are still young (‘immature’), soft and green. They are usually steamed or boiled and can be eaten alone or as an accompaniment to a dish. Half a cup of edamame beans contains 50mg of magnesium.
Avocado: An avocado contains 58mg of magnesium, which is around 16% of the recommended daily intake. Avocados also contain healthy fats (which are good for heart and brain health). They are rich in B vitamins and vitamin K, and have more potassium than bananas.
Tofu: Tofu is an excellent meat substitute. Whether you're vegetarian or just feel like mixing up your diet a little, tofu is a great product to consider consuming. Half a cup of tofu contains 37mg of magnesium.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the following daily intake of magnesium:
Children 1-3 years: 80mg
Children from 4 to 8 years: 130mg
Children from 9 to 13 years: 240mg
Adolescents from 14 to 18 years: boys 410mg and girls 360mg
Adults 19-30 years:
Adults 31 years and over:
Magnesium is found naturally in many different foods. Although magnesium deficiency is rare, many people do not consume as much magnesium as they should. Evidence suggests that the average adult only gets around 66% of the recommended daily magnesium intake from their normal diet. This is highly likely due to the quantity of processed products available for consumption.