If you’re deficient in the ever important nutrient magnesium, you may be wondering how to restore your magnesium levels.
I always love focusing on FOOD since this can be the easiest way for the body to assimilate vitamins and minerals and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to become toxic by consuming too much magnesium-rich foods.
What is the RDA for magnesium?
The RDA for magnesium is 310-320mg, although many believe this is too low. A good target is 400-600mg, especially if you have deficiency symptoms or don’t include magnesium-rich foods in your diet regularly.
Best food sources of magnesium
Getting a variety of magnesium rich foods into your diet is a great first step to correcting a deficiency.
Spinach actually is the highest in magnesium levels but I avoid too much spinach since it’s so unbelievably high in oxalates. Oxalates, found in some vegetables, fruits, nuts, and cocoa, can cause kidney stones when eaten in large amounts. It’s best to think of spinach as an herb and use in small doses. It’s also important to eat a variety of leafy greens to get a variety of nutrition without overdoing it on potential toxins, like oxalic acid.
Spinach – 70 mg/ 3 cups
Add baby spinach to your tossed salad or smoothie.
Kale – 66 mg/ 3 cups
Try kale chips for a different spin on greens.
Chard – 75 mg/ half cup, cooked
Sautéed with butter, chard is great as a side dish.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are another way to get magnesium into your diet. Nuts and seeds also contain phytic acid which makes many of the nutrients not bioavailable. Sprouting or soaking them will make those nutrients available to your body and increase their nutrition.
Hemp seeds – 210 mg/ounce
Look for raw, shelled hemp seeds and add them to yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies. They make a great substitute for pine nuts and make a delicious homemade pesto. You can also roll banana slices in hemp seeds for a yummy snack.
Watermelon seeds -145mg of magnesium/ounce
Yummy! These are delicious and high in magnesium. I love these from Go Raw, although they are pricey. You can of course make your own watermelon seeds from the fruit itself.
Pumpkin & squash seeds – 150 mg/ounce
An excellent source of magnesium! A ¼ cup provides almost half of your daily magnesium. You can buy these or make them yourself.
Brazil nuts – 50 mg/half ounce
Brazil nuts are an excellent source of magnesium; however, they are incredibly high in selenium, which in excess can cause toxicity. To stay within tolerable levels of selenium, stick with a ½ ounce of Brazil nuts per day.
Almonds – 75 mg/ounce
A great addition to a magnesium rich diet, almonds also contain healthy fats and vitamins A, D & E.
Cashews – 80 mg/ounce
Cashews, also high in healthy fats, are a great source of necessary minerals beyond magnesium, including copper, manganese, and phosphorous. Try them chopped up and added to a salad or curry.
Legumes also contain phytic acid so they are best soaked before eating.
Black beans – 60mg / half cup
Packed with protein, black beans are a great addition to a healthy diet. Try them in vegetarian tacos or chili.
Navy beans – 52 mg/ half cup
Navy beans are also a great source of folate and fiber. Try them in a soup to up your magnesium intake.
Mung Beans – 95mg/ half cup
These beans are simply packed with magnesium. Add them to falafels, curry, or just on top of your salad.
Grains are a great way to get more magnesium in your diet if you eat them. Soaking these also increases their nutritional value.
Brown rice – 88 mg/ cup
Brown rice is a good source of magnesium and also an excellent source of manganese which helps your body metabolize food. Rice is easy to add to your diet. Make it as a side dish for your meat meals. Cook it in homemade bone broth for added health and taste.
Buckwheat – 85 mg/ cup
Buckwheat is thought to be good for the heart (possibly because of the magnesium it contains!). Buckwheat cereal is an easy way to add buckwheat to your diet.
Millet – 77 mg/ cup
Also rich in B vitamins, Millet can be a great grain source of magnesium. Use it like porridge or as breading on fish sticks, yum!
Incorporating seafood into your diet is not only good for your magnesium levels but can improve your omega 3 to 6 ratio, a win-win!
Salmon – 26mg/3 ounces
Add grilled or baked salmon to a salad or make salmon cakes with canned (wild caught).
Mackeral – 83mg/3 ounces
Mackeral can have a strong fishy taste but is an excellent replacement for salmon, as it’s less expensive.
Halibut – 91mg/3 ounces
With a mild flavor and texture halibut is a great fish for people who don’t love fish. Just keep your consumption to once a week to avoid too much mercury.
What a great excuse to eat some chocolate, right? We already know that chocolate has health benefits and this just adds another reason to eat it (in moderation of course).
Dark chocolate, above 70% cacao – 64 mg/ounce
Is food enough?
Though a better diet is a great place to start, often times, food isn’t enough, especially if you’ve tested and your numbers are low. That’s when we need to look at magnesium supplementation.
But what is the best magnesium supplement? We tackle that issue here.
How about you?
Are you getting enough magnesium in your diet?
- What you need to know about magnesium: http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-you-need-to-know-about-magnesium.aspx