Foods High In Magnesium: Which Are Best?

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.

Leafy greens

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.

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.

Whole Grains

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?




About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


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  1. I just want to say that you Mama Natural saved my life. When I saw you come on The Mom’s View I found what is my Passion and is your too. Organic is Heaven more so is God. Thank You for changing my life.

  2. What about hijiki? Does that have a lot of magnesium?

  3. Thanks for sharing, great list of food rich in magnesium. I need to add some of them to my diet, already i am usting magnesium spray and i am really satisfied

  4. I use a topical magnesium spray (ancient minerals). Thanks for the list – would love for you to revive your food haul vlogs! xo

  5. What about carob? I’m on the fence about chocolate because it’s a stimulant, but it’s so good in other ways! Can you help, Genevieve?

    • Carob is a nice alternative. The caffeine in chocolate is much less than coffee too 🙂

  6. Oh good, most of these are some of my favorites, before I went full blown automimmune protocol. I can still eat plenty of leafy greens however! (put a pound of spinach in my veggie soup) I just got blood work done today as well, so I’ll see what my levels are next week.

  7. Hmmm…I just take magnesium citrate capsules everyday. Works a miracle!

  8. I love Natural Calm by Natural Vitality for my magnesium supplement! As a healthcare provider, I recommend this supplement to many of my patients and have seen the benefit firsthand! Natural Calm and magnesium supplementation helps lower stress and anxiety, helps increase sleep and energy levels, helps to regulate bowels, reduce muscle tension/weakness/cramps and so much more. It’s an easy addition to your diet and tastes great! I highly recommend this product!

      • Yikes, I didn’t know about the arsenic in my magnesium supplements (both mine were in the D range in that report). Maybe I’ll start adding it to my water before it goes through my purifier (I have arsenic filters). I love Natural Calm packets for travel though, and I’m not sure that I’ll give them up.

        One thing report doesn’t list is the composition of the arsenic they found (the CA Prop 65 is for inorganic arsenic). How much was organic (bound to carbon) vs. inorganic arsenic? The Labdoor study only reports the total arsenic. Many food we consume, like vegetables and rice, have arsenic in them. The inorganic form is unquestionably toxic, but the consumption of organic arsenic (again, bound to carbon, not USDA organic 😉 hasn’t been fully studied.

    • I used to take that one too until I learned that mag citrate lowers ceruloplasmin, an important protein for iron and copper regulation. My next post will be about magnesium supplementation 🙂

      • I take effervescent magnesium/potassium powder Alka Calm a teaspoon mixed water every night!

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